Pre-Opera Talks

presented by Joy and Ronald Mankoff

Want to learn more about the opera you are seeing? Want to beat the traffic and enjoy a beverage while you learn? Join TDO for the Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talks one hour before each TDO performance.

Pre-Opera Talks are informative and interactive 30-minute lectures featuring opera experts from all over DFW. Pre-Opera Talks are FREE with a ticket to a TDO performance and are guaranteed to increase your knowledge and enjoyment of opera.

Things to know about Pre-Opera Talks before you go:

  • Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talks are held in Hamon Hall (located in eastern corner of the lobby) beginning one hour before each TDO performance in the Winspear Opera House (6:30 PM for evening performances; 1:00 PM on Sunday Matinees).
  • Seating is first-come, first-served and Hamon Hall can accommodate approximately 200 attendees.
  • Attendees are free to bring in food or drink purchased at the Winspear Opera House.

2014-2015 Season Speakers

The Marrige of Figaro

October 26, 29, November 1, 7, 9, 2014
(Note that there is no Pre-Opera Talk on opening night.)

Stephen Dubberly

(October 26, 29, November 9)

Dr. Stephen Dubberly is associate professor in the College of Music at the University of North Texas, where he serves as opera music director and teaches courses in opera conducting and opera literature. At UNT, he has conducted productions of The Marriage of Figaro, Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, Lucia di Lammermoor, La traviata, Falstaff, I pagliacci, La bohème, Cendrillon, Madama Butterfly, The Merry Widow, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, Albert Herring, Dialogues of the Carmelites, The Crucible, A Little Night Music, and the world premiere of Hans Schaeuble’s Dorian Gray. He has an ongoing relationship with Amarillo Opera, where he has conducted productions of Don Giovanni, The Barber of Seville, Rigoletto, The Pirates of Penzance, Falstaff, La bohème, I pagliacci, Gianni Schicchi, The Wage of Sin, Don Pasquale, and Carmen. Dr. Dubberly has also conducted for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Des Moines Metro Opera, American Bel Canto Opera, the Knoxville Opera Company, San Antonio Opera, Cartersville Opera, Athens (Georgia) Opera, the Teatro Accademico in Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, and, most recently, the Festival Galuppi at the Teatro Goldoni in Venice, Italy. He began his music studies in Montevideo, Uruguay, and received master’s and doctoral degrees in music from Yale University.

Mary Dibbern

(November 1, 7)

Mary Dibbern is a specialist in the field of vocal coaching and accompaniment. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she resided in Paris, working at the Opéra National de Paris and at all of the major French operas, as well as throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. She was Head of Music at the Minnesota Opera from 2009 to 2012. Ms. Dibbern has worked with the world’s finest conductors including Lorin Maazel, Georges Pretre, Jeffrey Tate, Dennis Russell Davies, Sir Alexander Gibson, Kent Nagano, and Michel Plasson. She accompanies recitals in the USA, Europe and Japan and records for Harmonia Mundi, Maguelone, Claves, and Toccata Classics. Mary Dibbern is published by Pendragon Press. She is the author of five Performance Guides for French mélodie and opera.


October 30, November 2, 5, 8, 2014

Christopher Anderson

Associate Professor of Sacred Music at the Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Christopher Anderson is an organist and scholar with particular interests in early musical modernism, modern German history and philosophy, the organ’s position in Western culture, and the composer Max Reger. He has written extensively on Reger and his music in two monographs (Max Reger and Karl Straube: Perspectives on an Organ Performing Tradition, Ashgate 2003; and Selected Writings of Max Reger, Routledge 2006) and many essays in international journals. Recently, he has translated into English the second volume of Jon Laukvik’s Historical Performance Practice in Organ Playing (Carus, 2010) and edited the first complete survey of organ music in the twentieth century (Twentieth-Century Organ Music, Routledge 2011). He serves on the Governing Board for Research and Publications of the Organ Historical Society.

Dr. Anderson is active as an organ recitalist, with emphases in nineteenth- and twentieth-century repertoires. He is Associate Professor of Sacred Music at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, where he teaches organ and courses in history and analysis in the Perkins School of Theology and the Meadows School of the Arts. He holds the PhD in Musicology and Performance Practice from Duke University.

La Wally / Everest

January 30, February 2, 4, 7, 2015

Gregory Sullivan Isaacs

Senior Classical Music Critic, Theater Jones.

Gregory Sullivan Isaacs is a writer, music critic, conductor, composer, orchestrator, and voice teacher. He also writes for other publications such as the The Dallas Voice, and Art+Culture Dallas magazine and is the Music Director and conductor for the Elan International Music Festival in Dallas. He is also a pianist, organist, and singer and has held numerous musical directorships with, symphonies, choral organizations and opera companies throughout the country.

He is a Pulitzer Prize nominated composer and a winner of a Peabody award for performance as well as an ASCAP award for his commitment to American Music. His three act opera for tenor and piano – “Henry Faust -- has been highly acclaimed by critics and audiences alike.

Mr. Sullivan Isaacs is a member of the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Arrangers, and Publishers) and the Music Critics Association of North America.

La Bohème

March 13, 15, 18, 21, 27, 29, 2015

Hank Hammett

Director of Opera at the Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University

American lyric baritone Hank Hammett is an artist teacher, award-winning director and acting coach who has trained singing actors in the organic fields of music, voice, theatre arts, acting technique, opera, musical theatre and strategic performance skills for over two decades.

Hammett has worked on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in television and film, and at the world’s most prestigious opera houses and festivals, including The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Le Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie (Brussels), Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona), De Nederlandse Opera (Amsterdam), Opéra de Montréal, Bilbao Opera, Concert Royal, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Glimmerglass Opera, The Dallas Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Portland Opera, Connecticut Opera and Boston Lyric Opera.

The recipient of numerous international awards, grants and prizes for singing, Hammett’s honors include First Prize in the Liederkranz Competition in New York and the Grand Prix in the Concours International d’Oratorio et de Lied in France. He made his professional operatic debut as Mercutio in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette with the San Antonio Festival and his professional recital debut at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, partnered by Dale Dietert at the piano.

A native of Dallas, Hammett is currently Director of Opera at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and is the author/composer/director of Opera in a Box: Follow Your Dream. He frequently gives master classes at prominent universities and training programs and has worked with the Young Artists of The Houston Grand Opera Studio and The Dallas Opera.

Hammett is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, where he was awarded B.M. and M.M. degrees. He received further musical study at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies (Aldeburgh, England) and the Music Academy of the West (Santa Barbara, California), and he studied acting at T. Schreiber Studio and MTB Studio in New York. His principal teachers include Dale Dietert, Gérard Souzay, Martial Singher, Mignon Dunn, Elizabeth Mannion and Mary Boyer.


April 10, 12, 15, 18, 2015

Alexander Rom

Choral Master, The Dallas Opera

Alexander Rom marks his 22nd season as chorus master for The Dallas Opera. As Russian Opera Coach at the Metropolitan Opera since 1985, Mr. Rom has prepared that company’s productions of Eugene Onegin, Boris Godunov, and Khovanshchina

Mr. Rom has also served as a visiting Russian Opera Coach for the Houston Grand Opera, where he has prepared several productions of Boris Godunov. Mr. Rom served as principal coach for the international Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland, where he functioned as an opera coach and both staged and coached a production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.

He teaches opera/voice and is an honorary visiting professor at both the Sibelius Academy and the Conservatory of Music in Helsinki, Finland. A native of Kharkov, Ukraine, Mr. Rom graduated from the Leningrad Conservatory of Music with a degree in choral conducting. He is a founder of Grace Choral Society in New York.

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Opera 101
Frequently Asked

Upcoming Mainstage Performances

A Pre-Opera Talk will be held one hour before each of these performances in Hamon Hall at the Winspear Opera House.