Mezzo-Soprano Susan Nicely as the One-and-Only Julia Child in BON APPÉTIT!

by Megan Meister

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

THE DALLAS OPERA PRESENTS
MEZZO-SOPRANO SUSAN NICELY
AS THE ONE-AND-ONLY JULIA CHILD
In Lee Hoiby’s Delectable Oven-Proof Opera
BON APPÉTIT!

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Saturday, February 9, 2013
Two Performances: 11:30 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.
Dallas Farmers Market Demonstration Kitchen

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LIMITED SEATS -- FREE WITH RSVP

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Supported by The Perot Foundation
Education and Community Outreach Programs

            DALLAS, SEPTEMBER 20, 2012 – The Dallas Opera is thrilled to announce that mezzo-Soprano Susan Nicely will portray twentieth-century culinary icon Julia Child in composer Lee Hoiby’s BON APPÉTIT!  The one-act operetta, with a libretto by Mark Shulgasser and support from The Perot Foundation Education and Community Outreach Programs, is based on two episodes from Julia Child’s popular cooking show in which she concocts a chocolate cake.  This witty, warm-hearted opera premiered in 1989 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., with actress Jean Stapleton originating the role of Julia Child.  The title, of course, is based on Child’s signature close of each of her Emmy™ Award-winning broadcasts from a kitchen that now resides in the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History.

The Dallas Opera is presenting two FREE performances of BON APPÉTIT! (sung entirely in English – except for the title) at the Dallas Farmers Market Demonstration Kitchen, located at the corner of South Harwood Street and Marilla Street in Downtown Dallas, on Saturday, February 9, 2013 (11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.).  However, seating is limited and RSVPs are requested.  To secure your seat for a taste of this rarely performed modern work, call 214.443.1000 or reserve your seat online at http://dallasopera.org/rsvp.

            Please don’t delay, or someone else’s oven mitts will be all over this.

Julia Child is a household name who has attracted fans and imitators for more than a generation since the 1961 publication of her groundbreaking cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Her unique style was notably spoofed in a famous parody by comedian Dan Aykroyd on “Saturday Night Live” and she was recreated by actress Meryl Streep in the 2009 movie hit Julie & Julia, based on a best-selling book by Julie Powell.

The exuberant-yet-pragmatic chef, whose explanations of French Cuisine revolutionized the middle-class American kitchen, was known for such comments as “If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always pick it up—who’s going to know?” and “The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook.”  Despite (or perhaps because of) her refusal to bow to conventional nutritional wisdom, Child lived to the age of 91; and this past summer, the 100th Anniversary of her birth was celebrated—with lots of butter and cream—by foodies and non-foodies alike.

“A terrific chef, like a great opera singer, is a genuine artist; one who imparts their own individual flavors to every dish” explains Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny.  “For half a century, Julia Child’s recipes, like an outstanding performance, have never failed to fill us with delight.

“The Dallas Opera’s goal, beginning with the talented Miss Nicely, is to assemble just the right ingredients for a day of delicious music-making at the Farmers Market.”

Just last season, mezzo Susan Nicely made a memorable appearance as the loyal Annina in Verdi’s LA TRAVIATA, her seventh principal role for the company.  Journalist Mark-Brian Sonna of Pegasus News praised her performance, saying, she “has a way of singing that is enchanting to the ears.”  Her portrayal of the eccentric ‘French Chef’ in Atlanta prompted critic Pierre Ruhe of the Atlantic Journal Constitution to write: “With Susan Nicely’s lovely mezzo-soprano, precise diction and sharp acting; Nicely plays Julia Child with a devilish twinkle making this highly amusing short opera a delight.”

She will be accompanied by pianist Mary Dibbern, Music Director for Education and Family Programs at the Dallas Opera.

“While we strive to meet or exceed the highest expectations in every TDO production,” says Dallas Opera Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Community Outreach Jennifer Schuder, “we view these more intimate performances outside the Winspear—whether at the Wyly Theatre or at the Dallas Farmers Market—as a fantastic chance to attract fresh, new audiences and erase outdated stereotypes.

“Opera can be slim, portable and accessible,” she adds.  “When people encounter opera in unexpected places and discover they can genuinely relax and have fun with it—that’s our foot in the door.”

KEY BIOS:

SUSAN NICELY (Julia Child)

Mezzo-Soprano Susan Nicely is known for her rich voice and vivid characterizations. Her highly acclaimed “lively comic presence” in roles such as Dame Marthe in Faust, Old Lady in Candide, Katasha in The Mikado, and Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, as well as dramatic portrayals in Cavalleria Rusticana as Mamma Lucia andThe Ballad of Baby Doe as Mama McCourt make the character mezzo an “audience darling,” says the Austin American-Statesman.  This season, she performs Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Arizona Opera and with the Orlando Philharmonic, as well as returns to the Dallas Opera as Julia Childs in performances of Bon Appetit!

A house favorite with the Dallas Opera, she has appeared there as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, Annina in La Traviata, Hannah in Maria Stuarda, Tisbe in La Cenerentola, and most recently as the Nurse in Boris Godunov.  Engagements from the past few seasons include Mamma Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana with New York City Opera, Arizona Opera, and Opera Tampa; Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, Mary in The Flying Dutchman, and Thelma Predmore in Cold Sassy Tree at the Atlanta Opera; Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette with the New Orleans Opera and Opera Grand Rapids; Katasha in The Mikado with the Indianapolis Opera and Portland Opera; Emma Jones inStreet Scene, Dame Quickly in Falstaff, and Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro with Chautauqua Opera;  Berta inIl Barbiere di Siviglia with Atlanta Opera and Opera Omaha; The Old Lady in Candide with Austin Lyric Opera; Marquise de Berkenfeld in La Fille du Régiment with Florentine Opera; Annina in La traviata with Atlanta Opera and Opera Pacific; the Witch in Hänsel und Gretel with Chicago Opera Theatre;  Little Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore with Opera Cleveland; and Dame Marthe in Faust with Palm Beach Opera.  Ms. Nicely made her European debut in Strasbourg, France in the role of Mary with Opera du Rhine’s production ofDer Fliegende Holländer and her debut in South America as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd with Opera Breve in Caracas, Venezuela. Other acclaimed previous engagements include Mother Goose in The Rake’s Progress with San Francisco Opera; Mamma Lucia in Cavelleria Rusticana, Governess in Pique Dame and Mrs. Ott inSusannah with Lyric Opera of Chicago; Marthe in Faust with Houston Grand Opera; and Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro with Cincinnati Opera.  Orchestral appearances include concerts with the Milwaukee Symphony, Charleston Symphony, Grant Park Symphony of Chicago, Wheeling Symphony, Des Moines Symphony, and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.

MARY DIBBERN (Accompanist)

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

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT “SEPTEMBER AT THE DALLAS OPERA”
IS CONVENIENTLY AVAILABLE ONLINE, 24/7
VISIT WWW.DALLASOPERA.ORG AND CHECK THE CALENDAR LISTINGS

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

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 OPERATicket 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 for AÏDA and family performances go on sale September 10th. For more information, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online at www.dallasopera.org.

THE DALLAS OPERA 2012-2013 SEASON INFORMATION
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.

AÏDA by Giuseppe Verdi
October 26 –The Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance
Starring 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: Garnett Bruce
Costume Design: Peter J. Hall
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Latonia Moore (Aida), 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 Montenegrio* (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
Assistant Director: Michael Mori
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Susan Graham* (Tina), Alexandra Deshorties (Julianna 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
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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. 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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