Participants Selected for 2016 Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors

by Suzanne Calvin

IWC ImageFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Monday, June 20, 2016

Contact: Suzanne Calvin 214.443.1014                            Or Celeste Hart 214.443.1071

suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org                                    celeste.hart@dallasopera.org

                                                               

Participants Named for Second Annual

Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for

Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera

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Nov. 26 – Dec. 11, 2016 in Dallas, Texas

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Six Selected for Elite Opera Program from

156 Applicants Representing 31 Countries

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Distinguished Faculty include Marin Alsop, Nicole Paiement, Carlo Montanaro and Alec Treuhaft

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Initial Support from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation Additional Support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,

Baker Botts LLP, Susan and Mark Geyer, Holly and Tom Mayer, Martha and Max Wells, and the TACA Bowden & Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund

 

DALLAS, JUNE 20, 2016 – The Dallas Opera is proud to announce the names of the six distinguished professionals selected to participate in the second annual session of the Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera taking place November 26 -- December 11, 2016 in Dallas, Texas:

  • Elizabeth Askren (USA)
  • Mihaela Cesa-Goje (Romania)
  • Alexandra Cravero (France)
  • Tianyi Lu (New Zealand)
  • Chaowen Ting (USA/Taiwan)
  • Zoe Zeniodi (Greece)

Working to address a long-standing career issue in the opera world, The Dallas Opera in 2015 launched a unique, new residential program—one of only three in the world—designed to provide training and career support for distinctively talented women conductors.  Female conductors, as well as accomplished women singers, opera coaches, accompanists, and instrumentalists with established careers seeking to develop new skills at the podium, were encouraged to apply.

A total of 156 women conductors and professional musicians heeded the call and applied by the April 22nd deadline.  Of that number, approximately one-third of the IWC applicants (59) came from the United States. 

Other nations represented in this year’s applicant pool were from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Lithuania, and Mexico; as well as New Zealand, Poland, Finland, Russia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Applicants from these 31 countries included music directors, principal and assistant conductors, concertmasters and music staff from top-ranked symphonies, opera companies, and conservatories.

 

As is the case each year, four U.S. observers were chosen to “audit” the 2016 Institute: Ching-Chun Lai, Michelle Rofrano, Carolyn Watson and Parisa Zaeri.

 

The institute had key, foundational support from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation.  Naming support came through the generosity of Linda and Mitch Hart.  Additional vital support comes from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Baker Botts LLP, Susan and Mark Geyer, Holly and Tom Mayer, Martha and Max Wells, and the TACA Bowden & Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund.

The 2016 Linda and Mitch Hart Institute will consist of hands-on master classes with Marin Alsop (Music Director, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, and the only conductor ever to receive the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship); The Dallas Opera’s Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement and Carlo Montanaro, a renowned Italian conductor. 

The institute will include career advancement seminars with experienced professionals like Alec Treuhaft, former senior vice-president of IMG Artists; industry discussions; intensive one-on-ones and networking opportunities; as well as the chance to conduct The Dallas Opera Orchestra in two public concerts on the evenings of December 4th and December 10th (additional details to be announced at a later time).

As part of TDO’s 5-year commitment to each institute “class” of conductors, alumnae will be invited to summer reunions for additional masterclasses with piano and singers, and a series of introductory seminars about the business of music: General Management, Marketing and Communications, Development and Finance.  In our inaugural program last December and the first round of follow-up discussions this spring, the 2015 class of conductors reiterated their interest in this type of training on multiple occasions. 

 

Keith Cerny, The Dallas Opera’s Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO notes: “The Dallas Opera has demonstrated, in multiple ways, its commitment to reshaping the opera field through the use of innovative public outreach, by exploring new technologies, commissioning new works to expand the operatic repertoire, and programming with passion and imagination.”

“This much-needed program,” Mr. Cerny added, “will enable more women conductors to add their talents and perspectives to our collective understanding of this art form, while encouraging conversation about the necessity of women in leadership roles.”

 

The Dallas Opera’s Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor, Nicole Paiement, who also serves as the Artistic Director and Conductor for San Francisco’s renowned contemporary opera company, Opera Parallèle, commented, “In tandem with my work as a professional conductor, I have spent many years striving to develop and support exceptional young talent, both onstage and in the orchestra pit.  I am tremendously pleased to be able to continue this aspect of my career in a leadership role here in Dallas and I sincerely hope my work with the women in this institute can serve as a source of both valuable insights and inspiration.”

Nicole Paiement’s residency for the institute is supported by the TACA Bowden & Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund.

Marc A. Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America, earlier remarked: “The Dallas Opera continues to expand its influence and stature among American opera companies, as shown by this exciting new initiative.  The company is to be applauded for taking a significant step to remedy the existing gender imbalance on the podium.  This effort complements OPERA America’s support of the work of female opera composers and promises to enrich the art form by encouraging more gifted artists to express themselves through opera.”

2016 IWC FELLOWS:

 

 

ELIZABETH ASKREN (USA)

Elizabeth Askren has worked as Assistant Music Director in leading European venues (Théâtre des Champs Elysées, The Concertgebouw, etc.) and has guest conducted orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  Débuts for the 2015-16 season include concerts with the Romanian National Opera in Cluj and the Opera Orchestra of Toulon.  Ms. Askren is a laureate of France’s ADAMI, and has received fellowships from the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Royaumont Foundation, and the Aldeburgh Festival.  A finalist candidate for the Mahler Competition, she was invited by Lorin Maazel as “Apprentice Conductor” for the inaugural season of the Castleton Festival in Virginia. She is the subject of several radio and press interviews, and is currently a Young Leader of the French American Foundation.  Ms. Askren holds diplomas in piano and conducting from the Juilliard School, Oberlin Conservatory, and the Conducting Institute of Bard in the United States, and the Schola Cantorum and the Ecole Normale de Musique in France. 

 

MIHAELA CESA-GOJE (ROMANIA)

Mihaela Cesa-Goje gained widespread attention in 2009 as the winner of the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship founded by Marin Alsop and in 2010, a Conducting Grant from the League of American Orchestras.  In 2011, she was awarded the Dudamel Fellowship from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and later that same year, was selected from a field of 160 candidates for a masterclass with Bernard Haitink and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.  Earlier in her career, Ms. Cesa-Goje received the “Sandor Vegh Prize” from the Romanian Mozart Society for an outstanding performance of Mozart’s “Der Schauspiele Direktor” at the Cluj National Opera, Romania.  In 2005, she completed her Conducting Diploma at the Royal Academy of Music in London and was awarded the Irene Burcher Prize.  In 2013, she earned a graduate degree in conducting from Gh Dima Music Academy in Cluj, Romania, where she studied with Florentin Mihaescu. She also studied with Harold Farberman, Gustav Meier, Patrick Russill and Roland Börger.  Ms. Cesa-Goje is regularly invited to Cluj National Opera. In her first season (2014) she conducted eight different titles.

 

ALEXANDRA CRAVERO (FRANCE)

As a musician of many talents with a charismatic personality and artistic sensibility, Alexandra Cravero has quickly earned the reputation of being one of this generation’s conductors to watch.  With a National Diploma and Masters in viola and conducting from the National French Conservatory, Alexandra was also finalist at the Besancon, Pedrotti, and Cadaques competitions.  She has assisted Pierre Boulez, Kurt Masur, Tito Ceccherini, Patrick Davin and directed the BBC, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic, the Sofia Radio, the Theatre de La Monnaie and the Opera National du Rhin Orchestras.  On the operatic stage, she has directed, among others, Annick Massis, Michael Spyres, Magdalena Kožená, and Etienne Dupuis.  Her vast operatic repertoire spans many centuries: Carmen, The Pearl Fishers, Norma, Faust, Porgy and Bess, The Cunning Little Vixen, Reigen, and Doctor Atomic, to name a few.  Upcoming engagements will see Alexandra Cravero direct The Tales of Hoffmann, Tosca, La traviata, and the Orchestre National de Lille at the Paris Philharmonic Hall.

TIANYI LU (NEW ZEALAND)

Now based in the United Kingdom, Tianyi Lu is the Junior Fellow in Conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Music Director Designate of the Bristol Metropolitan Orchestra. She has been assistant conductor to Thomas Søndergård with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Sir Mark Elder with the Hallé, Alice Farnham with the Welsh National Youth Opera and Carlo Rizzi at the RWMCD.  She is regularly engaged by orchestras throughout Wales and New Zealand and was Music Director of The Magic Flute with Opera Otago.  Ms. Lu has studied with David Jones, John Hopkins and Uwe Grodd and has attended masterclasses with Bernard Haitink, Neemi Järvi, Sian Edwards, Alexander Polynichko, Marin Alsop and Kenneth Kiesler.  She was voted as a finalist at the twelfth ‘Interaktion’ conducting workshop by players of the Berlin Philharmonic and professional players in Germany.

 

CHAOWEN TING (USA)

Winner of the 2009 International Conductors’ Workshop and Competition, Chaowen Ting currently serves as Conductor of the Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra. A protégé of Bernard Haitink, Ting studied with the maestro at Lucerne Festival and was later invited by Haitink to observe his work with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  Outside of the U.S., she has conducted the Lucerne Festival Strings (Switzerland), Mihail Jora Bac?u Philharmonic (Romania), Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra (Croatia), St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic (Russia), and Orquesta Filarmónica de Honduras (Honduras).  She won the 2013 Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship and was a Conducting Fellow at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.  In addition to her symphonic repertoire, opera productions she directed received honors from National Opera Association’s Opera Production Competitions for two consecutive years.

 

ZOE ZENIODI (GREECE)

Zoe Zeniodi has conducted productions at the Florida Grand Opera, Greek National Opera, the Onassis Cultural Center and guest conducted all the major Greek orchestras as well as Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonic, Palm Beach Symphony, New Florida Philhamornic, and JONDE, among others.  She is currently the Music Director of Broward Symphony Orchestra, Momentum Athens Chamber Orchestra and the Associate Music Director of the Festival of the Aegean.  Previous positions include: Chief Conductor of MOYSA, Assistant/Cover Conductor for Florida Grand Opera, Music Director of Alhambra Orchestra and Associate Conductor of Frost Symphony Orchestra. She has released five CD recordings of contemporary music.  Ms. Zeniodi holds a DMA in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Miami and also studied at the Royal College of Music and the Mozarteum, Salzburg.

 

(Headshots of this year’s class are available.  Contact suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org)

 

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2016 IWC OBSERVERS:

 

CHING-CHUN LAI (USA)

Ching-Chun Lai, Director of Orchestras at the Crane School of Music, SUNY-Potsdam, has worked on opera productions of Pelléas et Mélisande, Don Pasquale, L’elisir d’amore, Maria Stuarda, Alcina, Thaïs, and The Turn of the Screw. Her performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion were described in Isthmus as “consistently excellent.”  During her tenure, the Crane Symphony Orchestra has performed in Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Recent engagements include the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and its youth orchestra.  Dr. Lai studied conducting with Gunther Schuller and James Smith. Additional studies include Gstaad Menuhin Festival and Academy, Gustav Meier, and JoAnn Falletta.  She received her DMA degree from UW-Madison, where she received the Church Memorial Conducting Award, and earned her Master’s degree with Distinguish Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music.

 

MICHELLE ROFRANO (USA)

Michelle Rofrano recently completed her master’s degree in conducting at the Peabody Conservatory, where she studied with Marin Alsop, Gustav Meier, and Markand Thakar. She will serve as assistant conductor for the upcoming Oberlin in Italy 2016 summer festival.  Ms. Rofrano recently led a production of Così fan tutte with D.C. Public opera, and she was the assistant conductor for Baltimore-based new music ensemble Symphony Number One during its 2015-16 Season. Previous engagements include serving as cover conductor for productions with Lyric Opera Baltimore and Opera Birmingham, performances with the Opera Project of New Jersey and Rutgers Symphony Orchestra, and masterclasses with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Rofrano holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Rutgers University.

 

CAROLYN WATSON (USA)

Conductor Carolyn Watson is Director of Orchestral Studies at Texas State University. From 2013-2015 she held the position of Conductor of the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra.  A Fellow of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, Ms. Watson was a major prizewinner at the 2012 Emmerich Kálmán International Operetta Conducting Competition in Budapest.  She has participated in master classes with Peter Eötvös, Yoel Levi and Alex Polishchuk and conducted musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic in Interaktion.  Ms. Watson is the recipient of the Brian Stacey Award for Emerging Australian Conductors, the Charles Mackerras Conducting Prize and Opera Foundation Australia’s Bayreuth Opera Award. She holds a PhD in Performance (Conducting) from the University of Sydney where her doctoral thesis was Gesture as Communication: The Art of Carlos Kleiberwww.carolyn-watson.com.

 

PARISA ZAERI (USA)

A native of Dallas, Texas, Parisa Zaeri maintains an active career as a conductor, collaborative pianist, and vocal coach.  Her recent musical engagements include serving as Music Director for Boulder Opera’s upcoming production of Carmen (Fall 2016), as Cover Conductor for the American premiere of Philip Glass’s Witches of Venice at Opera Saratoga (Summer 2016), and as Assistant Conductor for the recent Southern Methodist University production of  Die Zauberflöte (Spring 2016).  Notable mentors include Paul Phillips and Grant Wenaus.  Ms. Zaeri graduated with her Master’s degree in Piano Performance -- Collaborative Piano from New York University in May 2015 and currently resides in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and two dogs.

 

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EVENTS, GUESTS AND ARTISTS SUBJECT TO CHANGE

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE DALLAS OPERA

IS AVAILABLE ONLINE, 24/7.  VISIT WWW.DALLASOPERA.ORG

 

FOR HIGH-RESOLUTION PHOTOGRAPHS

Contact Suzanne Calvin, Director of Media and PR at suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org

Or Celeste Hart, Communications Manager at celeste.hart@dallasopera.org

~~~~

The Dallas Opera Family Performances are generously supported by

Texas Instruments and the Betty and Steve Suellentrop

Educational Outreach Fund.

~~~~

TDO Family Performances are a part of the

Perot Foundation Education and Community Outreach Programs

 

Ticket Information for the 2016-2017 Dallas Opera Season

All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise indicated.  Single Tickets range from $19 to $275.  Full Subscriptions start at $95, Flex Subscriptions (three-performances of your choice) begin at $75.  Family performance tickets are just $5.  For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at www.dallasopera.org.

 

 

THE DALLAS OPERA 2016-2017 FALL SEASON INFORMATION The Dallas Opera celebrates its Sixtieth Year in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 p.m. unless otherwise stated.  English language translations will be projected above the stage at every performance and assistance is available for the hearing impaired.  The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talk will begin one hour prior to curtain at most performances, excluding FIRST NIGHT of the season.

 

EUGENE ONEGIN by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

October 28, 30(m), November 2, 5, 2016

A tumultuous and lush romantic opera!

Libretto by K.S. Shilovsky, after Pushkin

Time: Late Nineteenth Century

Place: Czarist Russia

Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume

Stage Director: Jean-Claude Auvray*

Costume Designer: Maria Chiara Donato

Lighting Designer: Laurent Castaingt

Choreographer: Cooky Chiapalone

Wig & Make-up Designer:

Chorus Master: Alexander Rom

Starring: Andrei Bondarenko (Eugene Onegin), Svetlana Aksenova* (Tatyana), Stephen Costello (Lensky), Kai Rüütel** (Olga), Mikhail Kazakov (Prince Gremin), Elizabeth Batton (Larina), Meredith Arwady (Filipievna), Greg Fedderly (Triquet), Musa Ngqungwana* (Zaretski)

A classic, period production originally created for the Israeli Opera Tel-Aviv-Jaffa!

 

MOBY-DICK by Jake Heggie

November 4, 6(m), 9, 12, 18, & 20(m), 2016

Back by Popular Demand!

Libretto by Gene Scheer

Time: Nineteenth Century

Place: Whaling Ship on the High Seas

Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume

Stage Director: Leonard Foglia

Set Designer: Robert Brill

Costume Designer: Jane Greenwood

Lighting Designer: Gavan Swift

Projections Designer: Elaine J. McCarthy

Wig and Make-up Designer:

Chorus Master: Alexander Rom

Starring: Jay Hunter Morris (Captain Ahab), Stephen Costello (Greenhorn), Morgan Smith (Starbuck), Musa Ngqungwana* (Queequeg), David Cangelosi (Flask), Jacqueline Echols* (Pip), Peter McGillivray* (Stubb)

Our internationally acclaimed production!

 

* Dallas Opera Debut

** American Debut

_____________________________________________________________________________________

The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from:  Texas Instruments Foundation, TACA, City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera.  Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera.  Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News.  A special thanks to the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for its continuing support.

 

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Joyce DiDonato Honored with 2016 Maria Callas Award

by Suzanne Calvin
Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as Arden Scott in The Dallas Opera's 2015 world premiere production of "Great Scott" by Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as opera star Arden Scott in The Dallas Opera’s October 2015 world premiere production of “Great Scott” by Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally. Photo by Karen Almond for The Dallas Opera

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Contact: Suzanne Calvin 214.443.1014 Or Celeste Hart at 214.443.1071
suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org celeste.hart@dallasopera.org

THE DALLAS OPERA IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE
MEZZO-SOPRANO
JOYCE DIDONATO

HONORED AS THE 2016
“MARIA CALLAS DEBUT ARTIST OF THE YEAR”
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SUPERSTAR ENCHANTED NORTH TEXAS AUDIENCES
IN THE 2015 WORLD PREMIERE PRODUCTION OF
JAKE HEGGIE AND TERRENCE MCNALLY’S GREAT SCOTT

DALLAS, JUNE 16, 2016 – The Dallas Opera is delighted to announce the winner of the 2016 “Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year” Award: transcendent American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato.
This prestigious award, named after one of the most renowned opera artists of the 20th century, is given to a single performer each season in recognition of a particularly memorable and outstanding company debut. The winner was announced earlier this evening at the annual Dallas Opera Board and Trustee Appreciation Dinner held in the Crescent Ballroom of the Rosewood Crescent Hotel.
One of the world’s reigning mezzo-sopranos, Ms. DiDonato has traveled far from her native Prairie Village, Kansas, to becoming a Grammy Award-winning international artist treasured for her incandescent stage presence and acting skills, as well as her one-of-a-kind lyric coloratura described as “perfect for bel canto” (renowned musicologist Philip Gossett, quoted in The New Yorker, October, 2013).
The role of American opera singer Arden Scott, the central character in Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Great Scott which premiered in Dallas in October of 2015, was created by Joyce DiDonato. The critics responded with unrestrained enthusiasm:
“DiDonato was a wonder,” wrote Jason Victor Serinus for Classical Voice North America. “With every technical effect perfectly executed, she proved herself once again a star.”
Dallas Morning News critic Scott Cantrell noted that “DiDonato, displaying her renowned virtuosity in coloratura excerpts, is deeply engaging” while Ian MacKenzie of Opera Today praised the mezzo for singing “like an angel.”
Senior critic Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of Theater Jones had particular praise for Ms. DiDonato’s approach to her character: “She plays her with a very un-diva-like simplicity; the local girl who made good, who feels the pressure of impending time and voracious young replacements.”

“It’s a tremendous thrill to learn that our patrons have decided to honor Joyce for her starring role in one of the most important North American premieres of the 2015-16 Season,” notes Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny. “Great Scott was designed to showcase her extraordinary artistry—and indeed it does—yet audiences were just as touched by Joyce’s incredible humanity. She imbued her character Arden Scott with life, breath, and a true and generous heart. When Arden ultimately found the courage to accept new professional challenges and a second chance at love, audiences wanted to stand up and cheer!
“We are deeply indebted to Joyce for her brilliant work throughout the world premiere production of Great Scott. Nothing would please me more than to have the opportunity to bring her back to the Winspear for more extraordinary performances.”

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The voting for the Callas Award was conducted entirely online by electronic ballot and was open to season subscribers only. The results were verified by the independent accounting firm of Travis, Wolff & Company, L.L.P.
The winner will receive a beautiful etched-crystal plaque created by award-winning designers from Tiffany & Co. for The Dallas Opera. The plaque bears the likeness of The Dallas Opera’s unofficial Godmother, Greek soprano Maria Callas. “La Divina” launched The Dallas Opera with a 1957 recital at the Music Hall in Fair Park and continued to grace TDO’s stage in those early years with a series of now-legendary performances.

The 2016 recipient responded to the news, by email, with a statement read to the dinner guests this evening by The Dallas Opera’s Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO Keith Cerny:

“I am sincerely and deeply honored to receive the Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year Award from The Dallas Opera, for my role as Arden Scott in Jake Heggie’s world premiere, GREAT SCOTT.
Of course it is the dream of any singer to be mentioned in the same breath as Maria Callas, so I will very proudly carry this mantle associated with so many of my dear colleagues from years past! But perhaps the most sublime part of this, is that the award comes from this incredible journey of a world premiere, which The Dallas Opera championed so beautifully, and one that celebrates our art form so victoriously.
We created a glorious “GREAT SCOTT Family” within the beautiful “Dallas Opera Family,” and for this, I feel so very grateful. I’d like to imagine that Maria is smiling down on us all, proud for carrying on her philosophy of singing from a place of truth—for without any doubt, we all know how much she continues to matter!
A million thanks for this most special award!”
Joyce DiDonato
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“I am overjoyed that The Dallas Opera has decided to honor my dear friend and colleague Joyce DiDonato with the Maria Callas Award,” writes composer Jake Heggie. “Joyce is not only one of the world’s great opera stars with a talent that dazzles, inspires, moves and changes people forever—she is one of the brightest lights on the planet: a humanitarian driven by generosity, social justice, and an innate passion to connect. Like Callas, Joyce is definitive in every role she sings—allowing us to hear old and new works with fresh ears. She combines a flawless technique and sparkling vocal beauty with intelligence, integrity, authenticity, beauty and truth.
“What an honor it was to create Great Scott for her at The Dallas Opera,” Heggie adds, “and, oh, how I look forward to how she will continue to awaken our hearts, minds and ears in the years to come as she blazes forward with bold choices and relentless curiosity.
“Brava, dear Joyce!”

There were twenty-two additional 2015-2016 Season nominees for the Callas Award (artists making outstanding company debuts in a principal role)—listed below in alphabetical order:

ADDITIONAL NOMINEES FOR 2016 MARIA CALLAS AWARD

Audrey Babcock – “Rosette” – Manon
Jonathan Blalock – “Prince Claus” – Becoming Santa Claus
Matt Boehler – “Donkey/Messenger” – Becoming Santa Claus
Alyson Cambridge – “Julie LaVerne” – Show Boat
Andriana Chuchman – “Magnolia Hawks” – Show Boat
Troy Cook – “De Bretigny” – Manon
Anthony Roth Costanzo – “Roane Heckle” – Great Scott
Edwin Crossley-Mercer – “Lescaut” – Manon
Jeffry Denman – “Frank” – Show Boat
Mary-Pat Green – “Parthy Ann Hawks” – Show Boat
Kathryn Leemhuis – “Javotte” – Manon
Kate Loprest – “Ellie Mae Chipley” – Show Boat
Michael Mayes – “Wendell Swann” – Great Scott
Giancarlo Monsalve – “Mario Cavaradossi” – Tosca
David Pittsinger – “Count Des Grieux” – Manon
Hila Plitmann – “Yan” – Becoming Santa Claus
Jennifer Rivera – “Queen Sophine” – Becoming Santa Claus
Rodell Rosel – “Anthony Candolino” – Great Scott
Lara Teeter – “Cap’n Andy Hawks” – Show Boat
Dale Travis – “Sacristan” – Tosca
Lucy Schaufer – “Ib” – Becoming Santa Claus
Katherine Whyte – “Pousette” – Manon

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The “Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year Award” was launched during the 1991-1992 Dallas Opera Season.
The first recipient was Sharon Sweet for her impressive performance in the title role of Aida. The list of subsequent winners reads like an opera’s “Who’s Who” from Susan Graham, Cecilia Bartoli, Mary Dunleavy, Elizabeth Futral, Hei-Kyung Hong, Denyce Graves, Indira Mahajan, Mary Mills, Patricia Racette, Latonia Moore, Christopher Ventris, Catherine Naglestad, James Valenti, and Ben Heppner, to Laura Claycomb, Myrtò Papatanasiu (Violetta in Verdi’s La traviata), mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard (Rosina in The Barber of Seville) and last year’s winner, Russian soprano Ekaterina Scherbachenko for the title role in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta.

~~~~

EVENTS, GUESTS AND ARTISTS SUBJECT TO CHANGE
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE DALLAS OPERA
IS AVAILABLE ONLINE, 24/7. VISIT WWW.DALLASOPERA.ORG

FOR HIGH-RESOLUTION PHOTOGRAPHS
Contact Suzanne Calvin, Director of Media and PR at suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org
Or Celeste Hart, Communications Manager at celeste.hart@dallasopera.org

~~~~
The Dallas Opera Family Performances are generously supported by
Texas Instruments and the Betty and Steve Suellentrop
Educational Outreach Fund.

TDO Family Performances are a part of the
Perot Foundation Education and Community Outreach Programs

Ticket Information for the 2016-2017 Dallas Opera Season
All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise indicated. Single Tickets range from $19 to $275. Full Subscriptions start at $95, Flex Subscriptions (three-performances of your choice) begin at $75. Family performance tickets are just $5. For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at www.dallasopera.org.

THE DALLAS OPERA 2016-2017 FALL SEASON INFORMATION
The Dallas Opera celebrates its Sixtieth Year in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 p.m. unless otherwise stated. English language translations will be projected above the stage at every performance and assistance is available for the hearing impaired. The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talk will begin one hour prior to curtain at most performances, excluding FIRST NIGHT of the season.

EUGENE ONEGIN by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
October 28, 30(m), November 2, 5, 2016
A tumultuous and lush romantic opera!
Libretto by K.S. Shilovsky, after Pushkin
Time: Late Nineteenth Century
Place: Czarist Russia
Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume
Stage Director: Jean-Claude Auvray*
Costume Designer: Maria Chiara Donato
Lighting Designer: Laurent Castaingt
Choreographer: Cooky Chiapalone
Wig & Make-up Designer:
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Andrei Bondarenko (Eugene Onegin), Svetlana Aksenova* (Tatyana) Stephen Costello (Lensky), Kai Rüütel** (Olga), Mikhail Kazakov (Prince Gremin), Elizabeth Batton (Larina), Meredith Arwady (Filipievna), Greg Fedderly (Triquet), Musa Ngqungwana* (Zaretski)
A classic, period production originally created for the Israeli Opera Tel-Aviv-Jaffa!

MOBY-DICK by Jake Heggie
November 4, 6(m), 9, 12, 18, & 20(m), 2016
Back by Popular Demand!
Libretto by Gene Scheer
Time: Nineteenth Century
Place: Whaling Ship on the High Seas
Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume
Stage Director: Leonard Foglia
Set Designer: Robert Brill
Costume Designer: Jane Greenwood
Lighting Designer: Gavan Swift
Projections Designer: Elaine J. McCarthy
Wig and Make-up Designer:
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Jay Hunter Morris (Captain Ahab), Stephen Costello (Greenhorn), Morgan Smith (Starbuck), Musa Ngqungwana* (Queequeg), David Cangelosi (Flask), Jacqueline Echols* (Pip), Peter McGillivray* (Stubb)
Our internationally acclaimed production!

* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut
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The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: Texas Instruments Foundation, TACA, City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera. Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera. Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News. A special thanks to the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for its continuing support.

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New Co-Commission Announced! Girls of the Golden West

by Celeste Hart
Adams and Sellars - Photo by Terrence McCarthy SFO

Adams and Sellars -- Photo by Terrence McCarthy SFO

The Dallas Opera is co-producing a new opera by composer John Adams and librettist/director Peter Sellars called Girls of the Golden West. The companies that are co-commissioning the work are San Francisco Opera, Dutch National Opera (Amsterdam) and Teatro La Fenice (Venice). The opera will premiere first in San Francisco in November 2017 as part of its 2017-2018 season. The Dallas Opera plans to present the opera in its 2020-2021 season.

Please click for the full story from Opera News

 

Dallas Association of Fundraising Professionals Honors Holly Mayer!

by Celeste Hart
Holly Mayer - Podium

Holly Mayer -- Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser

Congratulations to Board Chair-Elect Holly Mayer on winning the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals “Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser” Honor for its 2016 National Philanthropy Day!

According to Gae Whitener, Director of Development for The Dallas Opera, the company and our community is extremely privileged to have her support and dedication. “I have the good fortune of working closely with Holly Mayer and am delighted with this recognition for her tireless work to make Dallas a better place to live. Whether it’s quality education, the wonder of nature, or the transformational power of music, Holly pursues her passions with boundless energy and enthusiasm. I can’t think of a more deserving recipient for this award,” she said. 

All the 2016 honorees will be recognized at the annual luncheon on Friday, November 18, 2016 presented by the Dallas Chapter. Please visit its website www.afpdallas.org, call 972-233-9107 ext. 204 or email afpchapteroffice@afpdallas.org for updates on this wonderful event! 

Congratulations Holly and thank you!!!

One of Our Favorite Sopranos on National TV!

by Celeste Hart

Ailyn Pérez, who recently starred in our production of Manon and nearly stole the show in Great Scott, killed it on late night television last night! 

Ailyn Perez (Photo by Rebecca Fay)

The Late Late Show with James Corden segment featuring Ailyn and Luca Pisaroni (with Nino Sanikidze accompanying behind the curtain) is posted at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EAC2i-Iptg&feature=youtu.be       

YouTube description: “On a day James Corden can’t seem to shake the blues, Reggie Watts tries to lift his spirits with some singing from Ailyn Pérez and Luca Pisaroni of the Metropolitan Opera.”                                            

They performed an excerpt from the Adina/Dulcamara duet (Donizetti -- L’elisir d’amore).

Enjoy and share! 

Chairs for Dazzling 60th Season Opening Events Announced!

by Celeste Hart

DEDICATED PHILANTHROPISTS ELLEN AND DON WINSPEAR

APPOINTED AS CHAIRS  FOR FIRST SIGHT/FIRST NIGHT

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            DALLAS, TX, JUNE 3, 2016 – The Dallas Opera is proud to announce that Ellen and Don Winspear have accepted the appointments as Chairs of FIRST SIGHT/FIRST NIGHT to head up the dazzling 60th Season kick-off celebrations. Honorary Chairs are Joyce and Harvey Mitchell.

            The Dallas Opera’s 2016-2017 Season begins with the captivating FIRST SIGHT Fashion Show and Luncheon, NorthPark Center presenting sponsor, on Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. In an outstanding pairing of two world-class companies, The Dallas Opera will present fashions by Italian luxury brand Versace.

            Red carpet glamour welcomes patrons to FIRST NIGHT, Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management presenting sponsor. Sammons Park in front of the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House is the setting for the splendid Pre-Performance Dinner, Friday, October 28, 2016 beginning at 5:30 p.m with a reception. The event will also showcase spectacular opera costumes from previous productions.

            The black-tie fete continues with a scrumptious dinner by Wolfgang Puck Catering which begins at 6:00 p.m. in the Sammons Park tent. It precedes the Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at 8:00 p.m. (note the curtain time). Immediately following the performance, opera-goers will flow into the FIRST NIGHT After Party where The Hunter Sullivan Band will provide the party tunes for patrons, and Puck will provide a variety of themed palate pleasers. The Winspear Opera House is located at 2403 Flora Street, Dallas, TX, 75201. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit: http://dallasopera.org/first-night/.

           “We are honored to chair the opening events for The Dallas Opera’s 60th Season! Our hope is that we have created a weekend of festivities that people will cherish and remember,” said Mrs. Winspear.

FIRST SIGHT - Chairs Don and Ellen Winspear - Photo by Kristina Bowman SM (637x800)

Don and Ellen Winspear at the 2015 FIRST SIGHT FASHION SHOW AND LUNCHEON. (Photo credit: Kristina Bowman)

            “The 60th Season of The Dallas Opera is a remarkable milestone. Most exciting is that the company is setting industry standards for its innovation, production quality and community engagement. The season opening will celebrate all that we have accomplished so far with anticipation of the many magnificent productions to come,” added Mr. Winspear.

            “We are so grateful for the continued leadership and enthusiasm of Ellen and Don Winspear and are thrilled that they are heading up the exciting events for our 60th Season kick-off!” said Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny. “We know our patrons will love the festivities they have planned and we invite opera newcomers and aficionados alike to join us as we celebrate decades of success of The Dallas Opera. Our organization depends on the ongoing support of wonderful philanthropists such as Ellen and Don, and we salute their dedication and generosity.”

             Ellen Winspear is a native of Dallas who graduated from the Hockaday School.  Following her undergraduate degree at Texas Christian University, she completed her graduate education at Southern Methodist University as a Certified Academic Language Therapist. She has many interests ranging from the arts and animals to education. She either has served or currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Dallas Opera, the Dallas Zoo, and the Annette Simmons School of Education at SMU. She has been married to Don for nearly 35 years and they have two sons. The younger son is a newlywed who graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and is a maritime engineer in Lafayette, Louisiana. Their older son serves in the United States Army at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, where he lives with his wife. 

            Donald Winspear is president of Crescent Research, Inc., a full service market research company headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Crescent conducts strategic marketing research for a variety of different companies across multiple industry sectors, including many Fortune 100 companies. He is currently on the Board of The Dallas Opera having previously served as Chairman of the Board of Directors.  He also serves on TDO’s Executive Committee and Finance Committee. Mr. Winspear has also served as a committee member on the Board of Directors of The Dallas Opera Foundation. He has served on the Board of Directors for the AT&T Performing Arts Center and currently serves on both the Executive Committee and Programming Committee. Mr. Winspear has lectured at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at area universities on the topics of marketing research and entrepreneurialism.

           In addition to his role at Crescent Research, he is active with the Boy Scouts of America and a former Scoutmaster of Troop 577. Mr. Winspear has also held a number of leadership roles with his church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Dallas, including the Board of Directors of the church foundation.  

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QUICK FACTS

2016-2017 FIRST SIGHT/FIRST NIGHT

PRESENTED BY THE DALLAS OPERA

 

FIRST SIGHT Fashion Show and Luncheon

NorthPark Center Presenting Sponsor

Thursday, October 27, 2016

11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Kick-Off Event for 60 Year Celebration

Chairs: Ellen and Don Winspear

Honorary Chairs: Joyce and Harvey Mitchell

Luncheon Chairs: Tiffany Divis, Kara Goss, Rhonda Marcus

Featuring: Fashions by Italian Luxury Brand Versace; Distinctive Opera Costumes

Catering: Wolfgang Puck

Location: Winspear Opera House

Tickets: Start at $300

www.dallasopera.org/firstsight

 

FIRST NIGHT

Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management Presenting Sponsor

Pre-Performance Dinner and After Party

Friday, October 28, 2016

5:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Celebrating the 60th Year of The Dallas Opera

Chairs: Ellen and Don Winspear

Honorary Chairs: Joyce and Harvey Mitchell

First Night Dinner Chairs: Matrice Ellis-Kirk and Ambassador Ron Kirk

Featuring: Red carpet glamour; gourmet black tie dinner prior to the Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance

Location: Sammons Park in Front of the Winspear Opera House – Tent

Catering: Wolfgang Puck

Tickets start at $1000 (After Party ticket included)

www.dallasopera.org/firstnight

 

AFTER PARTY

Friday, October 28, 2016

11:00 pm to 1:30 am

Chairs: Ellen and Don Winspear

Honorary Chairs: Joyce and Harvey Mitchell

Location: Sammons Park in Front of the Winspear Opera House -- Tent

Featuring: The Hunter Sullivan Band

Catering: Wolfgang Puck Sweet & Savory, Open Bar

Tickets: Included with First Night Ticket Purchase

 

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The Dallas Opera Family Performances are generously supported by

Texas Instruments, the Betty and Steve Suellentrop

Educational Outreach Fund, and Lockheed Martin.

TDO Family Performances are a part of the

Perot Foundation Education and Community Outreach Programs

 

2016-2017 DALLAS OPERA SEASON

EUGENE ONEGIN

By Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky

October 28, 30(m), November 2, 5, 2016

 

MOBY-DICK

By Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer

November 4, 6(m), 9, 12, 18, 20(m), 2016

 

MADAME BUTTERFLY

By Giacomo Puccini

March 10, 12(m), 15, 18, 24, 26(m), 2017

 

THE TURN OF THE SCREW

By Benjamin Britten

March 17, 19(m), 22, 25, 2017

 

NORMA

By Vincenzo Bellini

April 21, 23(m), 26, 29, May 7(m), 2017

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            Season subscriptions are on sale and prices start at $95 for all five opera productions. The benefits of becoming a Dallas Opera subscriber include substantial savings off single ticket prices, priority seating, lost ticket replacement, ticket exchanges and invitations to special events. For more information, please contact the friendly staff in The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214-443-1000 or visit us online at www.dallasopera.org.

            The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House is located in the heart of the Arts District at 2403 Flora Street, Dallas, TX 75201.

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The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from:  Texas Instruments Foundation, TACA, City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera.  Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera.  Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News.  A special thanks to the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for its continuing support.

 

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KEITH CERNY Featured on KERA’s “CEO”

by Celeste Hart

Tune in to KERA-TV and KERA radio for a fascinating interview with our General Director and CEO Keith Cerny by host and veteran journalist Lee Cullum. “CEO” features the best corporate and non-profit leaders in North Texas and beyond. 

According to KERA’s website, the show explores what it takes to make a company successful in today’s global marketplace, covering topics like leadership style and ethics.

Please click here for the online video! ceo cerny 11X17

Mr. Cerny’s “CEO”
interview will air on KERA-TV:

Friday, June 3, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, June 13, 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 26, 11:30 a.m.

It will also air on KERA Radio 90.1 FM:

Sunday, June 5, 5:00 p.m.

Thanks to Lee Cullum and KERA for this fabulous segment!

AUXILIARY MALE CHORUS – AUDITION ANNOUNCEMENT!

by Celeste Hart

THE DALLAS OPERA IS SEEKING  TALENTED MEN FOR  

AUXILIARY MALE CHORUS FOR MOBY-DICK!  

AUDITION DATE/TIME:

Sunday, June 5, 2016, 2:00-5:00 p.m.

            DALLAS, TX, May 12, 2016 – The Dallas Opera is pleased to invite talented local male singers to audition for the company’s Auxiliary Male Chorus for the production of Moby-Dick by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer.  This is an excellent opportunity to perform onstage in a paid, professional ensemble, with world-class singers in the magnificent Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center!

            The Dallas Opera is seeking men in all voice categories. Back by popular demand, Moby-Dick has been met with thunderous applause around the world after its successful Dallas Opera premiere in 2010. Based on the Herman Melville epic tale of Captain Ahab’s obsession with the great white whale, Moby-Dick features an incredible cast, stage direction by Leonard Foglia and will be conducted by internationally acclaimed Emmanuel Villaume, TDO’s Music Director.

            There are six performances of Moby-Dick scheduled for November 4, 6 (matinee), 9, 12, 18, 20 (matinee). Music rehearsals will begin in early August and staging rehearsals in early October. There are occasional weekend-day rehearsals and matinee performances; however, rehearsals are generally conducted in the evening.

AUDITION REQUIREMENTS:

  • One operatic aria or art song in a language other than English. Italian, German, French or Russian are highly encouraged. Choristers may also offer an additional piece in English if they feel it shows their voice to better advantage.
  • Choristers may be required to perform a rhythmic exercise, as well as sight-read, at the audition.
  • Two copies of resume and headshot

SCHEDULING AN AUDITION:

To schedule an audition, send a resume and headshot to Ahne Schield at ahne.schield@dallasopera.org.  Audition times will be determined on a first-come, first-served basis. Please reference “Moby Auxiliary Auditions” in the subject field. A pianist will be provided for these auditions.          

LOCATION:

Auditions will be held at the Karayanis Rehearsal Production Center in The Orchestra Room. Please arrive at least 15-20 minutes prior to your scheduled time. Warm-up rooms will be available to use on a first come, first served basis.

Karayanis Rehearsal Production Center

4301 South Fitzhugh Avenue

Dallas, TX 75210

TDO is a signatory to a collective bargaining agreement with the American Guild of Musical Artists.

            The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House is conveniently located in the heart of the Arts District at 2403 Flora Street, Dallas, TX 75201. 

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE DALLAS OPERA IS ACCESSIBLE ONLINE,

24/7 – VISIT WWW.DALLASOPERA.ORG

________________________________________________________________

The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from:  Texas Instruments Foundation, TACA, City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera.  Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera.  Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News.  A special thanks to the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for its continuing support.

 

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Audition Announcement – Role of “Miles” (Boy) in The Turn of the Screw!

by Celeste Hart

SEEKING BOY – SOPRANO/TREBLE FOR ROLE OF “MILES”

Performer to Appear in the Haunting Benjamin Britten Opera
The Turn of the Screw 
at the Winspear Opera House

Auditions in NYC: Friday, June 10, 2016, 6:00-9:00 p.m. and

Saturday, June 11, 2016, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Auditions to take place at The National Opera America Center, New York, NY

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DALLAS, May 11, 2016 -- The Dallas Opera is holding auditions for the role of “Miles” in the acclaimed Glyndebourne production of Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw opening on March 17, 2017. It is a rare opportunity to perform on stage with world-class artists Emma Bell, William Burden and Dolora Zajick, as well as Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement.

The Turn of the Screw is a dark and gripping tale based on the novella by Henry James. “Miles” is approximately 10-years old and characterized as small, smart and savvy for his age, well-mannered yet possessing a wicked streak.           

Rehearsals begin in Dallas, Texas on February 20, 2017 culminating in four performances on March 17, 19 (matinee), 22, and 25, 2017 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

Though no union affiliation is required, the performer will be offered an American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) Contract and compensated accordingly.

The audition will take place at The National Opera America Center (The Rehearsal Hall) located at 330 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001. Local auditions will be coordinated on a per-case basis. (Local boy sopranos are encouraged to submit their materials and specifically request an audition time in Dallas).

       AUDITION REQUIREMENTS:

  • Perform an excerpt from The Turn of the Screw, which will be provided upon audition confirmation
  • An additional prepared song that demonstrates range and ability may be offered.
  • Copy of headshot and resume (including height, weight, and age).

To schedule an audition, send a resume and headshot to Ahne Schield at ahne.schield@dallasopera.org.  Audition times will be determined on a first-come, first-served basis. Please reference “Miles Auditions” in the subject field.

The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House is conveniently located in the heart of the Arts District at 2403 Flora Street, Dallas, TX 75201. 

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______________________________________________________________________________

The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from:  Texas Instruments Foundation, TACA, City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera.  Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera.  Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News.  A special thanks to the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for its continuing support.

 

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Winners Announced at the 28th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition

by Suzanne Calvin

AND THE WINNERS ARE… 

Talented Young Singers Awarded

$18,500 in Cash Prizes

At the 28th Annual

“Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition”

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Mezzo-Soprano Virginie Verrez

Takes Top Prize and $10,000 Cash!

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Second Place ($5,000) Goes to Tenor Kang Wang

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Third Place ($2,500) Awarded to Baritone Sol Jin

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The “People’s Choice Award” (An Additional $1,000)

Goes to Kang Wang

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Honorees John and Linda Gage Recognized for their Dedication and Support of The Dallas Opera and The Dallas Opera Guild

DALLAS, APRIL 30, 2016 – After two days of intense competition by some of the most talented young singers in the country, the winners of the 28th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition were announced late this evening from the stage of the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center:

  • The $10,00 First Prize, presented by Dallas Opera Guild 2016 Co-Presidents Jana and Mac Irwin in memory of Bessylee Penland, went to French mezzo-soprano Virginie Verrez
  • The $5,000 Second Place Prize, presented by 2015 and 2016 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition Chair Ketty Fitzgerald, went to Australian-Chinese tenor Kang Wang
  • The Third Place Prize of $2,500 was presented by Patsy and Bob Brooks, the Chairs-Elect for the 2017 Vocal Competition, to Korean baritone Sol Jin
  • The $1,000 “People’s Choice Award,” presented by Katherine and Michael Phillips (underwriters of the popular award) to tenor Kang Wang

A total of 336 applicants from 39 states applied to compete in this year’s competition, from which 20 semi-finalists were chosen.  These singers competed yesterday, Friday, April 29 for the coveted position of finalist.  That group consisted of Polish bass Daniel Miroslaw, soprano Alexandra Loutsion and bass Adam Lau, in addition to Mr. Jin, Mr. Wang, and Ms. Verrez.

_KA31442 (640x427)

L-R: Virginie Verrez, Alexandra Loutsion, Sol Jin, Kang Wang, Adam Lau, Daniel Miroslaw (Photo by: Karen Almond)

 

“What stood out to me from the beginning of this competition,” explained Kern Wildenthal Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny (a member of the judges panel), “was the extraordinarily high level of candidates we attracted this year, and the phenomenal singing and acting talent each of these young men and women brought to the Winspear Stage.  These are polished performers with great futures in their chosen field.”

The six finalists performed earlier this evening in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center with The Dallas Opera Orchestra under the baton of acclaimed Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume.

 As Co-Presidents of the Dallas Opera Guild, Jana and I count it such a privilege to participate in this nationally significant competition and are ecstatic for today’s winners,” said Dallas Opera Guild Co-President Mac Irwin. “We congratulate all of those who took part in this highly competitive event.  The talent exhibited this weekend was truly remarkable. Our hope is that the prize money, accolades and awards will greatly assist these young, dedicated singers as they continue to strive for successful careers as performers.”

 Third Place winner Sol Jin was recently selected by Opera News as one of the magazine’s “25 Rising Stars.”  He made his opera debut two years ago with Long Island Opera Company, singing the role of Germont in their production of La traviata.  He has a degree from Yonsei University and earned his Master’s from The Manhattan School of Music.  He is a 2016 winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and will join Houston Grand Opera as a Studio Artist next season.

In the Finals Round, Mr. Jin performed “Avant de quitter ces lieux” from Gounod’s Faust, followed by “Sacra la scelta” from Verdi’s Luisa Miller.

Second Place winner (and winner of the 2016 “People’s Choice Award”) Kang Wang is in his first year of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.  Previously, he was a member of the opera studio at Theater Basel in Switzerland and performed at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Virginia; the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England; and the Queensland Conservatorium at Griffith University in Australia where he earned a Master of Music Studies in Opera.

In tonight’s Finals Round, Mr. Wang charmed the audience with renditions of “Fra poco a me ricovero” from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and “Che gelida manina” from Puccini’s La bohème.

First Place winner Virginie Verrez, a member of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, made her Metropolitan Opera stage debut as the Madrigalist in a new production of Manon Lescaut and will return to the Met as Stéphano in a new production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette under the baton of Maestro Emmanuel Villaume.  Last season, Ms. Verrez portrayed Clytemnestre in the Met/Juilliard production of Gluck’s Iphigenie en Aulide, as well as Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro; she was also a 2015 prize winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.  In 2014, Virginie Verrez sang Lola in Cavalleria rusticana with Avignon Opera and Mercédès in Bizet’s Carmen for Wolf Trap Opera.

During yesterday’s Semi-Finals, accompanied by pianist Adam Nielsen, Ms. Verrez performed “Deh, per questo istante solo” from Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito and “Dieux puissants…Jupiter lance la foudre” (a selection repeated during tonight’s Finals Round with The Dallas Opera Orchestra) from Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide.  She also thrilled the Winspear Opera House audience this evening with her rendition of Handel’s “Stà nell’Ircana pietrosa tana” from Alcina.

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THE 2016 FINALISTS FOR THE DALLAS OPERA GUILD VOCAL COMPETITION

Sol Jin, baritone, 29, winner, Licia Albanese, Gerda Lissner, Merola, HGO Studio

Adam Lau, bass, age 31, winner of George London Competition, Merola Opera Program

Alexandra Loutsion, soprano, age 32, AZ Opera, Wolf Trap, Central City, Pittsburgh Opera

Daniel Miroslaw, bass, age 29, Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at The Juilliard School

Virginie Verrez, mezzo-soprano, 26, winner, Met Opera Nat. Council Auditions

Kang Wang, tenor, age 27, Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Program

The event also featured special guest, Show Boat’s Alyson Cambridge (Julie La Verne) as Mistress of Ceremonies. Later, she dazzled patrons at the Post-Competition Celebration by performing selections from her recording Until Now, a new release of jazz and crossover hits.

Judges for the 2016 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition:

Brian Zeger, Chair
Executive Director for the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera and Artistic Director of Juilliard’s Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts

Keith Cerny
Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO of The Dallas Opera

Emmanuel Villaume
Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director, The Dallas Opera

Ian Derrer
Artistic Administrator, The Dallas Opera

Alain Lanceron
President, Warner Classics

Aidan Lang
General Director, Seattle Opera 

David Lomeli
Assistant Artistic Administrator and Special Projects, The Dallas Opera

Lenore Rosenberg
Associate Artistic Administrator, The Metropolitan Opera

Diane Zola
Director of Artistic Administration, Houston Grand Opera

The “People’s Choice” award was determined by the audience, a category now in its seventeenth consecutive year that allows for participation by attendees who vote for their favorite singer.

CONTRIBUTORS TO THE 2016 COMPETITION INCLUDE:

KATHERINE AND MICHAEL PHILLIPS

ENIKA AND RICHARD SCHULZE

KEITH AND JENNIFER CERNY

PATTI AND JOHN CODY

KETTY FITZGERALD

AND MRS. R.V. REGE

ROBERT AND MARTHA ALLDAY

BILL AND ELAINE BLAYLOCK

PATRICIA C. AND ROBERT J. BROOKS

SUSAN G. FLEMING, Ph.D.

SUSAN AND MARK GEYER

ROBERT S. HENDLER AND MS. KATHLEEN MULDOON

JOLIE AND BART HUMPHREY

JANA AND MAC IRWIN

ELIZABETH AND JEFF ISROFF

KYLE F. KERR

MARIGNY LANIER AND ROBERT MARIS

 

UNDERWRITERS OF THE 2016 COMPETITION INCLUDE:

AT&T PERFORMING ARTS CENTER & STAFF

SHARON BIRD STUPP

MCALISTER’S DELI

TOM MCGURREN PHOTOGRAPHY

KATHERINE & MICHAEL PHILLIPS

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For additional information about the 28th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition or any upcoming Dallas Opera Guild programs and special events, please contact The Dallas Opera Guild at 214-443-1040.

 

For interviews or high-resolution, digital photographs suitable for print

Please contact Suzanne Calvin, Director of Media and Public Relations

214.443.1014 or suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org

Or Celeste Hart, Communications Manager

214-443-1071 or celeste.hart@dallasopera.org

 

Ticket Information for the 2015-2016 Dallas Opera Season

All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise described.  Single Tickets range from $19 to $275.  Family performance tickets are just $5.  For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at www.dallasopera.org.