Creating New Opera (And Other Musical Works)

by Suzanne Calvin

December 5th at 6:30 PM in the Winspear’s Hamon Hall - and anyone can come! RSVP today at 214.443.1044.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Contact: Suzanne Calvin
214-443-1014/suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org

THE DALLAS OPERA IS PROUD TO PRESENT
THE GENERAL DIRECTOR’S ROUNDTABLE!
“CREATING NEW OPERA
(And Other Musical Works)”
FEATURING MOBY-DICK LIBRETTIST AND AMERICAN LYRICIST GENE SCHEER, ANN M. WILLIAMS (FOUNDER AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF DALLAS BLACK DANCE THEATRE), MODERN MUSIC SPECIALIST/BARITONE ROBERT ORTH, AND DALLAS OPERA GEN. DIR. & CEO KEITH CERNY
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A SPECIAL EDITION DALLAS OPERA SUBSCRIBER EVENT
—NOW OPEN FREE TO THE PUBLIC! RSVP AT 214.443.1044
MODERATED BY D MAGAZINE ARTS EDITOR PETER SIMEK
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MONDAY, DECEMBER 5TH, 6:30 PM
NANCY B. HAMON HALL, THE MARGOT & BILL WINSPEAR OPERA HOUSE AT THE AT&T PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
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IN PARTNERSHIP WITH D MAGAZINE

DALLAS, NOVEMBER 22, 2011 – The Dallas Opera is proud to present the third in a series of quarterly “General Director’s Roundtables,” featuring timely and in-depth discussion of issues affecting opera, contemporary audiences, and the greater performing arts community today. The brainchild of Dallas Opera General Director & CEO Keith Cerny, this series seeks to bring together the most knowledgeable voices in their fields, both local and national, in a genuine quest for answers.
The topic of this roundtable is “Creating New Opera (And Other Musical Works),” presented in partnership with D magazine and thoughtfully moderated by D magazine Arts Editor Peter Simek at 6:30 PM, Monday, December 5, 2011.
The public discussion will focus on the creation of new works for the musical stage while preparing the way for the Dallas Opera’s inaugural entry in its new chamber opera series: The Lighthouse by Peter Maxwell Davies, underwritten by American Express, now being created in collaboration with the Dallas Theater Center and slated to open in the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center on Friday, March 16, 2012.

The panelists, in addition to the multifaceted Mr. Cerny who hosts these events, will include the critically acclaimed American librettist/lyricist and songwriter, Gene Scheer, who crafted a brilliant libretto from Herman Melville’s sprawling mid-19th century novel for the Dallas Opera’s triumphant 2010 world premiere production of Moby-Dick. He will be joined by the equally talented baritone Robert Orth (Moby-Dick, Dead Man Walking, Nixon in China, Brief Encounter, Harvey Milk) and the nationally renowned founder and artistic director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre,
Ann M. Williams.

“Commissioning new works is one of my priorities as General Director and CEO,” explained Keith Cerny in a recent interview with Gregory Sullivan Isaacs for
Art + Culture Magazine and theaterjones.com. “At the same time, we need to carefully regulate the pace of those commissions with the financial reality of the times, and with the clear understanding that world premieres are always going to be one of any opera company’s most expensive options. However, we may have a partial solution to offer. By “pre-funding” works several years in advance of their scheduled premieres we can significantly reduce the risks associated with mounting new works.
“While we’re on the subject of new works,” Mr. Cerny added, “there’s another way to innovate cost-effectively, and that is to commission shorter pieces from leading composers—one-acts or monodramas. The Dallas Opera is currently deep in discussions with another critically acclaimed composer about a world premiere of a more compact, one-act opera in the not-too-distant future.”

This General Director’s Roundtable will be held in the intimacy of Nancy B. Hamon Hall, located within the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. On-site paid parking for the General Director’s Roundtable is available beneath the Winspear Opera House in the Lexus Red Parking Garage.
Please note: Seating is limited, but despite anticipated subscriber demand, this special edition of the roundtable will be free and open to the public. Reservations are required; just call 214.443.1044 and leave your name and the number in your party.
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Gene Scheer’s work is noted for its scope and versatility, and his music and lyrics have gained enthusiastic admirers among a broad audience. Mr. Scheer has collaborated with the composer Jake Heggie on a number of different projects, including the critically acclaimed 2010 Dallas Opera world premiere, Moby-Dick, starring Ben Heppner as Captain Ahab; Three Decembers (Houston Grand Opera), which starred Frederica von Stade; and the lyric drama To Hell and Back (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra), which featured Patti LuPone.
Other works by Scheer and Heggie include a number of song cycles, as well as For a Look or a Touch, a 45-minute lyric drama written for baritone, actor, and chamber ensemble. Mr. Scheer worked as librettist with Tobias Picker on An American Tragedy, which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 2005. Their first opera, Thérèse Raquin, written for the Dallas Opera in 2001, was subsequently performed in Montreal (in a French translation), in San Diego, and at the Linbury Theater at Covent Garden in London. The recording was cited by Opera News as one of the ten best recordings of 2002.
Other recent collaborations include the lyrics for Wynton Marsalis’s “It Never Goes Away,” featured in Mr. Marsalis’s work Congo Square. With the composer Steven Stucky, Mr. Scheer wrote the oratorio August 4, 1964. The work received a 2008 world premiere by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and was recently performed again by the DSO, as part of Carnegie Hall’s inaugural “Spring for Music” festival, with Jaap van Zweden conducting.
A composer in his own right, Mr. Scheer has written a number of songs for artists including Renée Fleming, Sylvia McNair, Stephanie Blythe, Jennifer Larmore, Denyce Graves, and Nathan Gunn. The distinguished documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns, prominently featured Mr. Scheer’s song “American Anthem” (as sung by Norah Jones) in his Emmy Award-winning World War II documentary for PBS, “The War.”
During the current season a number of new chamber works with music by Jake Heggie and lyrics by Mr. Scheer will be premiered. These works include a piece, commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera, to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11, and a lyric drama for Seattle’s “Music of Remembrance” about Krystyna Zywulska, an Auschwitz survivor. In February 2012, the Alexander Quartet and Joyce Di Donato will premiere Camille Claudel: Into the Fire. This new work by Heggie and Scheer is based on the passionate life of French sculptor Camille Claudel.
Scheer is currently at work with composer Jennifer Higdon on an operatic adaptation of the national book award winning novel Cold Mountain for the Santa Fe Opera.

Ann M. Williams, founder and artistic director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre, is a founding member of the Dance Council and The International Association of Blacks in Dance. Ms. Williams received her early dance training under Barbara Hollis (a member of the Katherine Dunham Dance Company), Edith James, Doris Humphrey, and Charles Weidman.
She received additional training under Alvin Ailey and Arthur Mitchell. Ms. Williams is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University and earned a Master of Arts Degree in Dance and Related Arts from Texas Woman’s University. She holds a certificate in Arts Management from Texas A&M University and received an honorary degree, Doctor of Humanities from Northwood University, and in May 2008 was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Dance from TWU. She served six years on the Texas Woman’s University Board of Regents. She is a 2002 inductee into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame; and in April 2005, she was honored at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. as a part of the Masters of African-American Choreography series.
She has received many awards and honors for her support and commitment to the arts and service organizations including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Phi Delta Kappa, Sankofa Foundation Legacy Award of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Dallas Dance Council, NAACP, the Dallas Historical Society, Zeta Phi Beta’s “Woman of the Year,” and she was honored as a “distinguished alumna” by Prairie View and TWU in 1990. Ms. Williams is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Trinity Chapter-The Links, Inc., The Society, Inc.—Dallas Chapter, Charter 100, Dallas Chapter Associates of Jack and Jill of America, Lifetime member of NAACP, and the Black Chamber of Commerce. She has received The Real Estate Council’s “Dreamers, Doers & Unsung Heroes” Award for 1996, the TACA (The Auction for the Cultural Arts) Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts.
For 32 years, Ms. Williams has directed Dallas Black Dance Theatre from a community-based organization and a semi-professional organization to a full professional dance company. Presently, the organization has an administrative staff of nine and twelve dancers on an eleven-month contract. The company presents three series of performances at Dallas’ Majestic Theatre and tours nationally and internationally. DBDT’s repertoire includes works of such noted choreographers as Alvin Ailey, Talley Beatty, Christopher Huggins, Kevin Jeff, Donald McKayle, John Mead, Elisa Monte, Milton Myers, David Parsons, Jessica Lang, Darryl B. Sneed, Alonzo King and others.
She serves on the Board of Directors of Texas Ballet Theater and The International Association of Blacks in Dance. She is a dance consultant and has served as a dance panelist for the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs, Texas Commission on the Arts, Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation, Houston Arts Council, Arkansas Arts Council, the Corsicana PRIDE Project, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
For 44 years, she was married to the late Nathaniel Williams, a retired administrator of the Dallas Independent School District. They are the parents of Angelia Williams, a graduate of Florida A&M University School of Business and Industry and University of Dallas School of Business Management.

Robert Orth is a leading baritone with major opera companies including those in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, D.C., Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami, Portland, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Denver. He was named “Artist of the Year” by both New York City Opera and Seattle Opera. New York City Opera also gave him the Christopher Keene Award for new and unusual repertoire. He has appeared as soloist with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Seattle, Denver, Indianapolis, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., in repertoire ranging from Brahms’ Requiem to Broadway pops to his most repeated symphonic piece, Carmina Burana.
Performing new American operas has brought Mr. Orth great pleasure and acclaim. He was John Buchanan, Jr., in Lee Hoiby’s Summer and Smoke (based on the Tennessee Williams play), which was broadcast nationally on Public Television. At the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, he was Count Almaviva in the premiere of Rosina. In Milwaukee, he was Fantomas in Stanley Silverman’s Hotel for Criminals. He played the Lodger in Dominick Argento’s The Aspern Papers in its East Coast premiere at the Kennedy Center; and he was the Lecturer in Argento’s one-man opera A Waterbird Talk in Chicago. Also in Chicago, he sang the central role of the Father in Hugo Weissgall’s Six Characters in Search of an Author in its second professional production.
He created the title role in the world premiere of Harvey Milk by Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie in Houston, New York and San Francisco. In 1997, he portrayed Frank Lloyd Wright in Shining Brow, a new opera by Daron Aric Hagen, based on the life of the great American architect. In 2000, he created the role of Owen Hart in San Francisco in the world premiere of Dead Man Walking, with music by Jake Heggie and libretto by Terrence McNally. In 2001 he premiered Michael John LaChiusa’s Lovers and Friends (Chatauqua Variations) in Chicago. In 2002, he premiered Garrison Keillor’s new opera Mr. and Mrs. Olson in St. Paul. In 2004, he created the role of Mr. Parkis in the premiere of Jake Heggie’s The End of the Affair. That same year, he first portrayed Richard Nixon in John Adams’ Nixon in China in St. Louis, and subsequently revived the role in Portland, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Vancouver and Toronto.
In 2007, he was Uncle John in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath, and Capt. Compson in Midnight Angel by David Carlson. The following year he premiered Sinners in San Jose, a song cycle written for him by Craig Bohmler and Marion Adler. That fall, he portrayed Lyndon Baines Johnson in Dallas in the world premier of Steven Stucky and Gene Scheer’s August 4, 1964.
He was Albert Godby in the world premiere of Andre Previn’s Brief Encounter in 2009. And in 2010, he created the role of Mr. Stubb in the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick.
His recordings include The Telephone by Giancarlo Menotti, Nixon in China, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Harvey Milk, Dead Man Walking, Hansel and Gretel, Shining Brow, The Grapes of Wrath and Brief Encounter.

Biographical information about Keith Cerny may be accessed online at http://www.dallasopera.org/the_company/general_director.php.

Full season subscriptions (four performances) for the 2011-2012 Season range from $76 to $1,015. FLEX subscriptions start at just $75 and single tickets are available for as little as $25. Inner Circle seating may be higher. Those who purchase FLEX subscriptions now will be eligible to attend the General Director’s Roundtables, as well as other special performances, discussions and events. Contact the friendly staff at the Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or purchase your subscription online at dallasopera.org.

THE DALLAS OPERA GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGES
THE TEXAS INSTRUMENTS FOUNDATION,
PRESENTER OF THE 2011-2012 SEASON
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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT “NOVEMBER AT THE DALLAS OPERA”
IS CONVENIENTLY AVAILABLE ONLINE, 24/7
VISIT WWW.DALLASOPERA.ORG AND CHECK THE CALENDAR LISTINGS

For high-resolution, digital photographs suitable for print
To arrange an interview
Or for additional information
Please contact Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR
214.443.1014 or suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org

THE DALLAS OPERA WISHES TO EXPRESS ITS GRATITUDE TO OUR EXCLUSIVE PARTNERS:

AMERICAN AIRLINES – OFFICIAL AIRLINE OF THE DALLAS OPERA
LEXUS – OFFICIAL VEHICLE OF THE DALLAS OPERA
CARTIER – OFFICIAL JEWELER & WATCHMAKER OF THE DALLAS OPERA
ROSEWOOD CRESCENT HOTEL – OFFICIAL HOTEL OF THE DALLAS OPERA

THE DALLAS OPERA 2011-2012 SEASON INFORMATION
The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-Fifth International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in downtown Dallas. With the exception of Tristan & Isolde, evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees will begin at 2:00 p.m. Tristan’s evening performances will start at 7:00 p.m. and matinees at 2:00 p.m. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance. Assistance is available for the hearing impaired.

TRISTAN & ISOLDE by Richard Wagner
February 16, 19(m), 22 & 25, 2012
A fully-staged, modern dress opera, with projections by Moby-Dick’s Elaine McCarthy!
Ancient Myths, Modern Cine-Magic! And a special curtain time: 7:00 p.m.!
An opera in two acts first performed in Munich, June 10, 1865.
Text by Richard Wagner; based on an ancient Celtic and Icelandic legend.
Time: Legendary
Place: A ship at sea; outside King Marke’s palace, Cornwall; Tristan’s castle at Kareol
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Stage Director: Christian Räth
Video Design: Elaine McCarthy
Lighting Design: Alan Burrett
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet (Isolde), Clifton Forbis (Tristan), Mary Phillips (Brangäne), Jukka Rasilainen** (Kurvenal), Kristinn Sigmundsson* (King Marke), Stephen Gadd** (Melot), and Aaron Blake (A Young Sailor/A Shepherd).

THE LIGHTHOUSE by Peter Maxwell Davies
Inaugural production of the Dallas Opera Chamber Series
Presented in collaboration with the Dallas Theater Center
In the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center
March 16, 17 & 18(m), 2012
A chilling supernatural and psychological thriller!
Time: December 1900
Place: Edinburgh Court of Enquiry, Fladda Isle Lighthouse off the Scottish coast
Conductor: Nicole Paiement*
Stage Director: Kevin Moriarty* (opera directorial debut)
Scenic Design: Beowulf Boritt*
Costume Design: Claudia Stephens*

LA TRAVIATA by Giuseppe Verdi
April 13, 15(m), 18, 21, 27 & 29(m), 2012
Let’s Party Like It’s 1849!
An opera in three acts first performed in Venice at Teatro La Fenice, March 6, 1853
Text by Francesco Maria Piave, based on Alexandre Dumas’ play, La dame aux camélias
Time: 19th century
Place: Paris
Conductor: Marco Guidarini
Stage Director: Bliss Hebert
Production Design: Allen Charles Klein
Lighting Design: Thomas Hase
Choreographer: Rosa Mercedes*
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Myrtò Papatanasiu** (Violetta Valéry), James Valenti (Alfredo Germont), Laurent Naouri* (Giorgio Germont), Amanda Crider* (Flora Bervoix), Timothy Mix* (Baron Douphol), Mark McCrory (Marchese D’Obigny), Ethan Herschenfeld* (Doctor Grenvil), and Susan Nicely (Annina).

THE MAGIC FLUTE by W.A. Mozart
April 20, 22(m), 25, 28, May 4 & 6(m), 2012
Hearts Tested, Tried and True!
An opera in two acts first performed in Vienna, September 30, 1791.
Text by Emanuel Schikaneder.
Time: Legendary
Place: Mythological Egypt
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Production: August Everding
Stage Director: Matthew Lata
Scenic Design: Jörg Zimmermann*
Costume Design: Renate Kalanke*
Lighting Design: Duane Schuler
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Children’s Chorus Master: Melinda Cotten
Starring: Ava Pine (Pamina), Shawn Mathey* (Tamina), Patrick Carfizzi (Papageno), L’ubica Vargicová* (The Queen of the Night), Raymond Aceto (Sarastro), Kevin Langan (The Speaker), David Cangelosi (Monostatos), Angela Mannino* (Papagena), Caitlin Lynch* (First Lady), Lauren McNeese* (Second Lady), Maya Lahyani* (Third Lady), Aaron Blake (First Man in Armour) and Darren K. Stokes* (Second Man in Armour).

* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut

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The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; TACA; 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. Cartier is the official jeweler and watchmaker of The Dallas Opera. Rosewood Crescent Hotel is the official hotel of The Dallas Opera. Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News. A special thanks to Mrs. William W. Winspear and the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for their continuing support.

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