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.

2013-2014 Season Speakers


October 25, 27, 30, November 2, 8, 10, 2013
(Note that there is no Pre-Opera Talk on opening night.)

Stephen Dubberly

(October 27, 30, November 10)

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 2, 8)

The American pianist Mary Dibbern joined the Music Staff of The Dallas Opera as Music Director for Education and Family Programs in June 2012. She is an internationally known specialist in the field of vocal coaching, recital accompaniment, recordings, University level master classes, Young Artists Program teaching, television and radio appearances in Europe, the United States and Asia. Dibbern was graduated summa cum laude from SMU with a Master of Music in accompaniment under the direction of Maestro Paul Vellucci. She then moved to Paris to work with the great French musicians Nadia Boulanger and Pierre Bernac. She resided in France from 1978 to 2009, where she was guest coach for the Opéra National de Paris (Bastille), and the operas of Nice, Bordeaux, Lyons, Toulouse, Dijon, Châtelet, the Opéra-Comique, the Festival de Radio France-Montpellier and in Europe at the Théâtre Municipal de Lausanne, the Círculo Portuense de Opera, the Lithuanian National Opera (Vilnius), the Latvian National Opera (Riga) and at the Shanghai Opera House where she was in charge of musical and language preparation for the first French-language productions. In the US, she was guest coach at Seattle Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera Memphis and Hawai’i Opera Theatre. She was Head of Music at Minnesota Opera for three seasons, where she collaborated closely with composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell on their world premiere Silent Night which subsequently won the Pulitzer Price for Music 2012. Mary Dibbern is the author of seven books on French music published by Pendragon Press and is the Editorial Consultant for Musik Fabrik’s publications of works by French composer Jacques Leguerney. She is a recording artist for Harmonia Mundi France, Claves and Maguelone.

Death and the Powers

February 12, 14, 15, 16, 2014

Tod Machover

Composer, Death and the Powers

Tod Machover, called “America’s most wired composer” by The Los Angeles Times, is recognized as one of the most innovative composers of his generation, and is also celebrated for inventing new technologies for music. Machover studied with Elliott Carter and Roger Sessions at The Juilliard School and was the first Director of Musical Research at Pierre Boulez’s IRCAM in Paris. He is the Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media at the MIT Media Lab (Cambridge USA) and is Director of the its Opera of the Future Group. Since 2006, Machover has also been Visiting Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Tod Machover’s compositions have been commissioned and performed by many of the world’s most prestigious ensembles and soloists, including Opera America, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Ensemble InterContemporain, Ensemble Modern, BBC Scottish Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Pops, Houston Grand Opera, Bunkamura (Tokyo), Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Ars Electronica, Casa da Musica (Porto), American Composers Orchestra, Tokyo String Quartet, Kronos Quartet, Ying Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Kim Kashkahian, Matt Haimovitz, and many more. His work has been awarded numerous prizes and honors, among others from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Fromm and Koussevitzky Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, the German Culture Ministry, and the French Culture Ministry, which named him a Chevalier de l’Order des Arts et des Lettres. In 2010 he received the Arts Prize from the World Technology Network (CNN/Time Inc.), and was Finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music. He was the first recipient of the Arts Advocacy Award from the National Committee of the Performing Arts in September 2013.

Tod Machover is also recognized for designing new technologies for music performance and creation, such as Hyperinstruments, “smart” performance systems that extend expression for virtuosi, from Yo-Yo Ma to Prince, as well as for the general public. The popular videogames Guitar Hero and Rock Band grew out of Machover’s Lab. His Hyperscore software—which allows anyone to compose original music using lines and colors—has enabled children around the world to have their music performed by major orchestras, chamber music ensembles, and rock bands.

Machover is especially known for his visionary operas, including VALIS (based on Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi classic and commissioned by the Centre Pompidou in Paris); Brain Opera (which invites the audience to collaborate live and online); Skellig (based on David Almond’s award-winning novel and premiered at the Sage Gateshead in 2008); and the “robotic” Death and the Powers which premiered in Monaco (at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo under the patronage of Prince Albert II), Boston and Chicago during the 2010/2011 season. Powers will be presented by The Dallas Opera in February 2014, when it will also be streamed live—with interactive enhancements—to selected venues worldwide.

Tod Machover is currently working on a series of “collaborative symphonies” based on a model launched with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in March 2013, and further developed for Festival City at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2013. Upcoming sites include the cities of Perth, Cape Town, and Venice, as well as the countries of Brazil and Switzerland.

Die tote Stadt

March 21, 23, 26, 29, April 6, 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.

The Barber of Seville

March 28, 30, April 2, 5, 11, 13, 2014

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.

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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.