Cafe Society: Madrid Style!

by Suzanne Calvin

Wow. Did I say that loudly enough? Okay, then. WOW.

Our latest casual pre-season event for “Figaro in Flip-Flops,” presented by One Arts Plaza, was a knock-out Spanish Wines and Tapas Tasting at Cafe Madrid in Oak Cliff’s Bishop Arts District. It really struck me as the perfect way to spend a hot Sunday afternoon, in the cool, tile-floored, chatty and cheerful atmosphere of a homey Spanish Cafe, complete with hefty wooden tables that didn’t cry out for a coaster and banks of north windows that bathed the rooms with light while keeping the heat at bay.

The capacity crowd shared tables, tapas, and conversation in equal measures and I sincerely doubt that anybody went home without meeting at least two or three really interesting opera lovers they hadn’t known before.

The tapas…sublime: fabulous nuts and cheeses, seafood and vegetable combos, chorizo and potato galettes (with an absolute killer of a sauce) and tasty paprika chicken salad open-faced sandwiches, all washed down with a wonderful selection of warm and spicy (or crisp, cool and fruity) Spanish vintages.

I loved the Cab and the pink champagne…my guest took a shine to the Shiraz. We’d love to know what you liked best and whether you’d like to see more events like these.

Oh, I neglected to mention that the reason for all this is Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” opening our 2008-2009 Season in November. It may have been performed in Austria but the story is set in Sunny Spain.

Suzanne Calvin, Assoc. Dir. of Marketing, The Dallas Opera

2 Responses to Cafe Society: Madrid Style!

William Denney says: June 27, 2008 at 5:29 am

It will soon be clear that Flip Flop Opera will just be a flop.

I realize you are trying to attract a younger audience. While I can’t imagine who came up with this stupid idea and program, I am disappointed that an Opera with the prestige of Dallas would undertake to spend money on such buffoonery. The hip hop movie was paned with terrible reviews and then Dracula…? Why not King Kong? Has the level of intelligence and cultural appreciation in our city sunk this low?

From an international perspective, this only adds to the view that America has no culture and is not cultural. Instead of being an example from which the young can learn, you have stooped to the lowest level. Indeed, you have made flip flops the symbol o of American culture.

Summer opera is a brilliant idea and done well elsewhere. But nothing about this endeavor is about the great cultural experience that opera offers.

Where is the leadership and vision of Mr. Karayanis?
“Opera is timeless. The stories of great operas relate to human emotions today with as great a relevancy as they did when they were first written. The Dallas Opera’s goal is to allow each production to come to life in such a way that people will understand not only a story told through music, but how that story relates to each of us. Opera may be bigger than life, but it is also one of the most intimate of art forms. Despite its grandness it still speaks directly to the individual heart.”
—Plato Karayanis, General Director, Dallas Opera 1977-2000

The blog pats yourself on the back and reflects on the “familiar faces in the crowd” at events. You are playing to your own club of intimates, not those you wish to win over. I hope the financial cost and cost to our reputation was worth it.

William Denney, Ph.D.

Jennifer Schuder says: June 24, 2008 at 12:34 pm

I agree with Suzanne! It was really amazing to see a room full of people, enjoying wine and great food on such a beautiful afternoon. There was not a seat to spare in the whole restaurant.

In walking around the room and talking to everyone, there was an amazing energy and excitement for the opera. Which is exactly what we were hoping for as we planned all the Flip Flop events! I am really looking to July and all the events around DIE FLEDERMAUS. Wonder what I will like more – schnitzel or tapas?