Redefining “Game Face” for FIRST NIGHT

by Suzanne Calvin

Who’s got game? We’ll let you decide. Get your tickets now for the fantastic FIRST NIGHT celebrations at the Dallas Opera. There are fresh details contained in the release to follow:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Contact: Suzanne Calvin 214.443.1014
Or Megan Meister 214.443.1071

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2012 AT 6:30 P.M.

FIRST NIGHT Celebrity Models:
Charlotte Jones Anderson, Brigetta Barrett,
Diane Krebs Johnston, and Martina Moravcova
Kaki Hopkins, FIRST NIGHT Chair
Tincy Miller, Advisory Chair

DALLAS, SEPTEMBER 5, 2012 – The Dallas Opera is thrilled to announce that this season’s FIRST NIGHT theme: Art and Sports Together, will be reflected both on and off the Red Carpet on the evening of Friday, October 26, 2012 as the Dallas Opera honors several great women from the world of sports, from the Olympic playing fields to the administrative offices of one of the best-known sports franchises in the world today.
At this evening’s FIRST NIGHT Announcement Party hosted by Anne and Steve Stodghill, it was revealed that Basketball Hall of Fame legend Nancy Lieberman will be this year’s special honoree—but the surprises didn’t end there!

FIRST NIGHT Chair Kaki Hopkins announced the designers and models, applauding them for accepting the Dallas Opera’s invitation to participate in this encore of last year’s successful event. The designers creating gowns inspired by leading characters of the season are all returning after last year’s adventurous beginning. They are: Michael Faircloth, Abi Ferrin, Geoffrey Henning, Khanh Nguyen, and Nicolas Villalba.
A new designer for a special feature this year, Paulette Martsolf, is designing for Aida’s entourage of several beautiful women attending the captive princess. Arriving in limousines and wearing the gowns as they walk the Red Carpet with their respective designers will be four incredibly talented women: Charlotte Jones Anderson, 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist Brigetta Barrett, five-time Olympian Martina Moravcova, and Kim Dawson Agency model Diane Krebs Johnston.
The sports figure who will represent the family opera, Dr. Miracle, in the finale of the Red Carpet program is yet to be announced.
The four attendants for Aida will be Alexandra Hicks, Rhonda Marcus, Shilah Phillips and Jennifer Roberts.

Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny spoke about the season and the operas that are being celebrated. He described the format of FIRST NIGHT as a four-part soiree composed of the sensational Red Carpet, lively Cocktail Reception, the highly-anticipated Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance of Aida to be conducted by Music Director Graeme Jenkins, and a cosmopolitan late-night fine dining experience in a lavishly decorated tent. There is limited seating for this important fundraising effort for The Dallas Opera, and Cerny urged patrons to make their reservations now, reminding them that performance tickets are sold separately and adding that the best seats are already going fast.

One of last season’s couture designers, Nicolas Villalba of NDV Inc., earlier expressed his delight at the opportunity to create a new design to adorn the red carpet: “Last year, I had such a wonderful time working with my lovely model, Linda Ivy, and with sponsors Don and Ellen Winspear. For me, however, the most exciting aspect of the evening was making opera so accessible to the public. I loved the concept of “Opera under the stars.”
Added couturier Abi Ferrin: “FIRST NIGHT is an exciting way for Dallas designers to showcase their artistry, while supporting the Dallas Opera and the Winspear Opera House. I am honored to be included.”
Paulette Martsolf of Allie-Coosh, participating for the first time in this event, responded with enthusiasm: “The opportunity to be a part of FIRST NIGHT is a thrill. My passion for the arts goes far beyond fashion design. Hopefully, the four modern-day gowns I’ve designed for Aïda’s Entourage will honor this pinnacle night and the outstanding efforts of the Dallas Opera.”

The “Pursuits of Passion” Season and each of the operas will also be represented on the Red Carpet by Honorary Chairs Joyce and Harvey Mitchell, Patti and John Cody, Shannon and Ted Skokos, Amy and Vernon Faulconer, and Caroline Rose Hunt.
The FIRST NIGHT Red Carpet Chair, Rhonda Sargent Chambers and her Co-Chair Marisa Huckin are joining the FIRST NIGHT team again and will oversee the pageantry of the event that night. They are again joined by retired Director of Production, John Gage, as the Red Carpet Manager.

The crowd attending FIRST NIGHT will be met by the paparazzi attracted to the red carpet opening of the Dallas Opera season. Red Carpet arrivals will begin shortly after 6:00 p.m. The Reception is 6:00 -- 7:30, Aida curtain is 7:30 p.m. and dinner is after the final curtain call.

FIRST NIGHT is black-tie, and valet service will be provided on the Flora Street side of the Winspear Opera House for all dinner guests.


Tickets for FIRST NIGHT begin at $500 per person. For additional information regarding FIRST NIGHT packages and options, contact Dallas Opera Special Events Manager Morgan Vaughn at


Kaki Hopkins, Chair, FIRST NIGHT: Kaki is a seasoned chair of fundraising events for the arts, medicine and education, with leadership positions on the boards of the Dallas Opera; Dallas Theater Center (a leading actress/director with DTC for a decade); Chiapas International; TACA; The Dallas Arboretum and Vickery Meadow Learning Center, among others; and various auxiliary organizations for the arts and medicine. Kaki has been honored with numerous awards for leadership, both locally and nationally, and has taught acting, stage movement and voice at Trinity U. (San Antonio) and U. of New Mexico. She played an instrumental role in making last season’s FIRST NIGHT a resounding success and one of the most memorable opera galas ever and also chaired the highly successful Chihuly Gala at the Dallas Arboretum. She also served her country as Director of Music and Theater for the 7th Army Training Center in Germany for more than two years.

Tincy Miller, Advisory Chair, FIRST NIGHT: “Tincy” Miller is a life-long activist and advocate for education, a principal in a nationally renowned real estate firm, and a highly regarded civic leader who is called upon frequently to lead community and cultural causes. In 2003, Tincy was appointed Chair of the Texas State Board of Education, having served on the board for nearly two decades. She previously served on the board’s Committee on Instruction and as its Chair, and has led the Task Force on Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She has also served on the board and as president of L.I.F.T. (Literacy Instruction for Texas). Tincy has chaired major fund raising events for United Cerebral Palsy, The Dallas Opera, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, TACA, and the Crystal Charity Ball, to name only a few. Her awards are numerous, including the 1999 Tom Landry Award of Excellence in Volunteerism.

Rhonda Sargent Chambers, FIRST NIGHT Vice-Chair / Co-Chair, FIRST NIGHT Red Carpet: As a model, instructor, and speaker, Rhonda Sargent Chambers has been a respected figure in the fashion community for over 30 years. In addition to her work with Dallas-based Kim Dawson Agency and top international modeling agencies, she produces fashion shows and events through her company, RSC Show Productions. Rhonda is also regular contributor on the subjects of fashion and style to WFAA’s “Good Morning Texas” and

Lynn Mock, FIRST NIGHT Vice-Chair: Lynn Parr Mock, Chairman of the 2004 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, received her BME from Southwestern University and an MM in Vocal Performance from The University of Texas at Austin. She balances performing commitments with board service to many fine arts organizations. Lynn is currently serving on the Board of Directors of The Dallas Opera (for which she chairs the Education Committee), as Chairman of the Board of The Friends of WRR, and on the Board of Visitors at Southwestern University. Lynn is also co-founder of “Lone Spring Arts.”

Holly and Tom Mayer, Co-Chairs, FIRST NIGHT Dinner: TDO Board of Directors Executive Committee Vice-President, Development, Holly Mayer and Dallas Opera Board Member Dr. Tom Mayer have made the Dallas Opera one of their chief causes for more than a decade, in addition to providing significant support to the Dallas Theater Center and the Dallas Arboretum. As a dedicated arts leader, Holly helped raise $1.7 million for TDO’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, chaired a successful two-year campaign (ending in 2005) to wipe TDO’s accumulated deficit off the books, pioneered innovative audience outreach initiatives, and helped establish a young professionals program. Holly has also served on the President’s Advisory Council of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts (ATTPAC).

Elaine and Bill Blaylock, Co-Chairs, FIRST NIGHT Reception: Bill, the Vice President and Senior Tax Council for Texas Instruments, and Elaine, the Controller at Prince of Peace Catholic School, have been active members of the Dallas Opera since 1993 when Elaine began working in the Dallas Opera Guild’s “Adopt an Artist” program. Eventually, the pair served as Presidents of the Guild (1999-2000). Among other highlights, they created the Bessylee Penland Endowment Fund for the annual Vocal Competition and facilitated the development of the TDO/SMU Emerging Artists Program. Bill currently serves on the TDO Executive Committee while Elaine, who has served as Chairman of the TDO Education Committee, now serves as a trustee for both the Dallas Opera and PORTopera in Portland, Maine.

Carol and Don Glendenning, FIRST NIGHT Host Chairs: Carol, Chair of the Policy Committee at Strasburger & Price, LLP, and Don Glendenning, Co-Chair of the Corporate and Transactional Department of Locke Lord LLP and Managing Partner of the Dallas office have devoted countless hours to their community, as well as their nationally recognized law practices. Carol serves on the Boards of The Dallas Opera, the Dallas Regional Chamber, the YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas, United Way Foundation, The Dallas Friday Group, and the St. Paul Medical Foundation. Don, the recipient of the 2011 Justinian Award from the Dallas Bar Association for extraordinary volunteer service to the community, is Co-Chair of The Campaign for Parkland; President of Scenic Dallas and Scenic Texas; Past Chairman of the Thanks-Giving Foundation and the Dallas Zoological Society; Past President of the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas and Rice University DFW Alumni, in addition to sitting on numerous Boards supporting a multitude of worthy causes.

Marisa Huckin, Co-Chair, FIRST NIGHT Red Carpet: A former professional show jumper with a Master’s degree in psychology from the University of Dallas, Marisa Huckin is a member of the Children’s Cancer Fund Board of Directors who co-chaired the organization’s 2010 luncheon—netting more than a quarter-of-a-million dollars for the cause. She went on to chair the 2010 Dallas Children’s Theater annual cabaret gala fundraiser and will returned last fall to chair a new event for CCF she described as “just jeans and a lot of fun.”

John Gage, Red Carpet Manager: Dallas Opera’s former Director of Production John Gage began his career in opera production as Stage Manager of St. Paul Opera for their 1972 summer season. He served in similar roles with the Opera companies of Santa Fe, Milwaukee, Miami, and Dallas, where her served as the Production Stage Manager for three years, beginning in 1978. In May 1980, he assumed the position of General Director of the Florentine Opera company in Milwaukee, a job he held for the next nine years. He then spent several years guiding the Columbus, Ohio, opera company through a financially difficult period, before returning to The Dallas Opera. Mr. Gage created the Director of Production position, retiring last year.

Michael Faircloth, Fashion Designer: Mr. Faircloth opened his first couture salon in Dallas thirty years ago and today enjoys an international clientele that heralds his sense of cut, and discriminating eye for graceful detail. Former First Lady Laura Bush, a long-established client, thrust him into the national media spotlight when she asked Michael to design her first inaugural wardrobe. His elegant designs are geared toward women who recognize the beauty of a refined aesthetic: “mix the classic with the dramatic and come out with something really feminine.”

Abi Ferrin, Fashion Designer: An award-winning designer who strives to empower women to look and feel their best, Abi Ferrin’s brand is being launched nationally by better boutiques and retailers like Nordstrom. Elements of her collection are made by Cambodian women rescued from the sex trade and, through the philanthropic arm of her company, The Freedom Project, they are provided with counseling, training, shelter and alternatives to abusive employment. Abi includes a hand-crafted Freedom Project element on every Made-in-the-USA garment, bringing her motto, Fashion+Freedom+Purpose, full circle.

Geoffrey Henning, Fashion Designer: Canadian born, Geoffrey started in Toronto in fashion for Alfred Sung before moving to NYC, where he worked for Ann Taylor and NewYorkandCompany. He has been VP of Design for Women for JCPenney for nine years and does custom design for private clients. He is a frequent guest on television including NBC Weekend Today as fashion critic and was featured in Modern Luxury as man of style. Geoffrey has a keen interest in training young talent and currently serves as Chairman of Dallas Fashion Incubator and on the boards of Texas Next Top Designer and Starlight Foundation. Most recently, Geoffrey was presented with the coveted Legend of Style, Fashion Legacy Award by DIFFA Dallas. His fashion illustrations have been published in Italian VOGUE, British ELLE and many other international publications.

Paulette Martsolf, Fashion Designer: A Newfoundland native who garnered top design school honors in Toronto and studied in Paris, France. As owner of Allie-Coosh, Paulette offers cutting-edge daytime, evening and jewelry designs for the refined woman seeking trends as well as comfort. She has produced or been featured in prestigious fashion shows from Dallas to Santa Fe, and has served as a board member for Fashion Group International and contributed to Dallas Assistance League; Junior Charity League for Parkland Rehabilitation; Salvation Army Annual Fashion Show; Texas Discovery Gardens; American Heart Association; United Way; MDA Telethon; SafeHaven; The Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse; American Cancer Society; Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International; Roundup for Autism; and many more worthy causes.

Khanh Nguyen, Fashion Designer: She is the award-winning Creative Director and Designer of her own label, Nha Khanh, consisting of designs that focus on modern glamour, inspired by art, architecture and most importantly, nature. The designs are ethereal; meticulously constructed, and host an ease about them that allows for an effortless sensibility. The company offers seasonal “advanced contemporary” ready-to-wear; a custom Atelier collection, which hosts one-of-a-kind and custom pieces; as well as a bridal line. The Nha Khanh mission is to empower a woman with inner-strength through her clothing with a focus on “elegance with a modern edge”.

Nicolas Villalba, Fashion Designer: The international award-winning owner and principal designer of Nicolas Villalba Couture. Originally an evening wear designer, Nicolas now specializes in all things custom, including bridal, menswear, and even custom linens. After graduating with a BFA in Fashion Design, Nicolas was chosen to represent the U.S. in the European design competition, “Etoilles de la Mode” where he became the first American to win the “Prix du Public.” In 2010, this winner of the DIFFA Legend of Style Award launched a popular men’s shirt collection under the label, “A great Shirt”. Villalba also does private label work for Stanley Korshak, Neiman-Marcus, TODD Events, and other high-end retailers.

Charlotte Jones Anderson, FIRST NIGHT Model, Executive Vice President Brand Management/President of Charities, has earned a position of leadership among women in American professional sports. As the primary brand management executive, she oversees all strategies and applications surrounding the Dallas Cowboys identity. Under her guidance are the design of the team uniforms, memorabilia, licensed apparel and merchandising as well as the enormous job of entertainment, community service and philanthropy. She was highly involved in the design, decor, and overall presentation of the state-of-the-art Cowboys Stadium. Charlotte also supervises the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, the most recognized organization of its kind in the world. She was lauded for her ground-breaking approach to fundraising in kicking off the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Program at the Thanksgiving Day halftime celebration and serves on its national board. A graduate of Stanford University, she is married to Shy Anderson. They have three children Haley (19), Shy (17) and Paxton (11).

Brigetta Barrett, FIRST NIGHT Model: In press coverage about Brigetta’s triumph as a Silver Medalist at the London Olympic games, her personality jumped off the page. A singer and theater major at the University of Arizona, she was a joyful standout among her fellow Olympians because of her tendency to break into song at the drop of a hat. This young world-class athlete set a record for a collegiate athlete with her 6’8” medal jump and was the first American to medal in women’s high jump since 1988. She has won countless championships including collegiate standouts: three-time NCAA indoor All American and 3-time outdoor All American; NCAA Indoor Champion and Outdoor Champion. She not only jumps high, she keeps grades high, named an Academic All-American the last two years. She won Gold in both the US Championships and World Championships. A native of New York, Brigetta graduated from Duncanville High School and lived with her mother Lottie M. Barrett before leaving for Arizona University. She has two siblings, Takiya Barrett-Ross and Shawn-De Barrett.

Diane Krebs Johnston, FIRST NIGHT Model, is a Kim Dawson Agency model and has an acclaimed national career that has lasted for over 20 years. She is the hard working mom of two children and married to former Dallas Cowboy star, Daryl “The Moose” Johnston. Residing here in Dallas, Diane enjoys giving time to helping charities, while raising her two children, ages 12 and 11 and maintaining her modeling career.

Martina Moravcova, FIRST NIGHT Model, of Slovakia and currently of Dallas is a standout on the world stage of sports. She trained with Steve Collins at SMU and was inducted into the SMU Hall of Fame. A five-time Olympian swimmer (1992 Barcelona; 1996 Atlanta; 2000 Sydney; 2004 Athens; 2008 Beijing) and two-time Olympic silver medalist (2000 Sydney), she has amassed 7 World Championship golds, 8 silvers and 7 bronzes. In the European Championships, she has earned 21 golds, 18 silvers and 2 bronzes. Just counting golds: in the US Open A Nationals, 13; NCAA Championships, 13; Universiade, 5. While at SMU, she won 14 NCAA titles and was a 25-time All-American and winner of 26 Conference titles. She is a cherished personality in her native Slovakia, having received the Three Cross Award, the highest award of Slovakia, among many other non-sports related awards. She is a volunteer swimming coach at SMU and is married to Martin Valco. Dallas attorney and Consul of Slovak Republic to Texas. See other awards and accomplishments on her website:

…Plus, a “Player to be Named Later.”

Single tickets for the 2012-2013 Season are subject to dynamic pricing (the earlier they are purchased and the less-in-demand, the lower the price) and will go on sale – for as little as $19 – on September 10, 2012. Subscriptions start at just $75. Inner Circle seating may be priced higher.


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

The Dallas Opera’s 2012-2013 “Pursuits of Passion Season”
Is Presented by Texas Instruments Foundation



Ticket Information for the 2012-2013 Dallas Opera Season

All performances are in the new Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Subscriptions start at just $75 and are on sale now. Single tickets go on sale September 10, 2012, starting at just $19 – new low price. For more information, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online at

The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-Sixth International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in downtown Dallas. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees will begin at 2:00 p.m. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance. Assistance is available for the hearing impaired.

AIDA by Giuseppe Verdi
October 26: The Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance
Featuring Latonia Moore, The Charron and Peter Denker Rising Star (2012)
October 28(m), 31, November 3, 9, 11(m), 2012
Verdi’s Complex and Intimate Love Story Set in Spectacular Ancient Egypt!
An opera in four acts first performed at Khedivial Opera House, Cairo on December 24, 1871.
Text by Antonio Ghislanzoni, based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette.
Time: Old Kingdom
Place: Egypt
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Stage Director: John Copley
Costume Design: Peter J. Hall
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Latonia Moore (Aïda), Antonello Palombi (Radames), Nadia Krasteva* (Amneris), Lester Lynch (Amonasro), Orlin Anastassov* (Ramfis), Ben Wager (The King of Egypt), Jonathan Yarrington* (Messenger), and NaGuanda Nobles* (Priestess).

TURANDOT by Giacomo Puccini
April 5, 7(m), 10, 13, 19 & 21(m), 2013
Puccini’s Last Masterpiece—Riddled with Passionate Romance and Unforgettable Music!
An opera in three acts first performed in Milan at La Scala, April 25, 1926
Text by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni, based on Carlo Gozzi’s fable, Turandot.
Time: Legendary times
Place: Peking, China
Conductor: Marco Zambelli
Stage Director: Garnett Bruce
Production Design: Allen Charles Klein
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Lise Lindstrom* (Princess Turandot), Antonello Palombi (Calaf), Hei-Kyung Hong (Liu), Christian Van Horn* (Timur), Jonathan Beyer (Ping), Joseph Hu (Pang), Daniel Montenegro* (Pong), Ryan Kuster* (A Mandarin), Steven Haal (Emperor Altoum).

THE ASPERN PAPERS by Dominick Argento
April 12, 14(m), 17, 20, 28(m), 2013
The Games People Play—Both Young and Old—To Achieve Their Twisted Desires!
An opera in two acts first performed in Dallas, November 19, 1988.
Text by Dominick Argento, based on a Henry James novella.
Time: Legendary
Place: Lake Como, Italy
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Stage Director: Tim Albery
Scenic Design: Andrew Lieberman*
Costume Design: Constance Hoffman*
Lighting Design: Thomas Hase
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Assistant Director: Michael Mori
Starring: Susan Graham* (Tina), Alexandra Deshorties (Juliana Bordereau), Nathan Gunn (The Lodger), Joseph Kaiser* (Aspern), Dean Peterson (Barelli), Sasha Cooke* (Sonia), Eric Jordan* (A painter), Jennifer Youngs* (Olimpia).

* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut

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. 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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