TDO Proudly Presents “Composing Conversations” with American Composer Dominick Argento

by Megan Meister

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, January 11, 2013
Contact: Suzanne Calvin 214.443.1014                            Or Megan Meister 214.443.1071
suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org                                    megan.meister@dallasopera.org

                                                               
THE DALLAS OPERA PROUDLY PRESENTS
Composing Conversations” with
American Composer Dominick Argento
In Partnership with Art&Seek
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.
HAMON HALL, THE WINSPEAR OPERA HOUSE
AT&T PERFORMNG ARTS CENTER
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The production of The Aspern Papers received funding from:
OPERA America’s Opera Fund
National Endowment for the Arts
And The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund

       DALLAS, JANUARY 11, 2013 – The Dallas Opera is particularly excited to bring Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer Dominick Argento back to Dallas after a very long absence for a special “Composing Conversation,” conducted in partnership with Art&Seek, KERA’s arts initiative.  The visit is prompted, in part, by the Dallas Opera’s upcoming 25th Anniversary production of the world premiere of Argento’s masterful adaptation of Henry James’ THE ASPERN PAPERS.

This new production of The Aspern Papers received funding from OPERA America’s Opera Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, and The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund.

Our one-night-only free public discussion will take place the evening of Tuesday, January 22nd beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Nancy B. Hamon Hall in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.  Come and join the conversation with this Grammy Award™ winner on his prestigious career, as well as his insights into the forces at work in opera and contemporary music today, hosted by Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny and moderated by award-winning Art&Seek Producer-Reporter Jerome Weeks,a longtime observer of the North Texas arts scene, from the visual to theatrical.

No relevant topic is off-limits and audience questions are highly encouraged.

The Aspern Papers was given its world premiere by the Dallas Opera in November 1988 to great critical acclaim, a production telecast on the PBS series Great Performances.  The opera was again presented in a well-received revival by the Washington Opera in 1990. It since has been heard in both Germany and in Sweden; June 1998 brought a performance at the Barbican Centre in London.

Dominick Argento examined fame and the immigrant experience in his opera, The Dream of Valentino, set in the early days of Hollywood. Washington Opera gave this work its premiere under the baton of Christopher Keene in January 1994, followed by its co-commissioning company, the Dallas Opera, in 1995. The production featured special multi-media sets by John Conklin and costumes by the couturier Valentino. Writing of the premiere, Peter G. Davis of New York magazine stated, “What a pleasure to encounter a real opera composer, one who has studied and learned from his predecessors, loves the form, understands its conventions, has mastered them, and then lets his imagination take wing.”

The Dream of Valentino received its European premiere in February 1999 in Kassel, Germany.

Among his numerous honors and awards, Dominick Argento received the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his song cycle From the Diary of Virginia Woolf. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1979 and in 1997, was honored with the title of Composer Laureate to the Minnesota Orchestra, a lifetime appointment.

The program will also feature a live taste of Argento’s The Aspern Papers as soprano Jennifer Youngs, an emerging artist and UNT graduate student working closely with the Dallas Opera, performs the two “Tina” arias from the work, accompanied by pianist Elvia Puccinelli.

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Seating is limited and RSVPs are required.  To secure your seat for this extraordinary inside look at contemporary composition and opera-making, go to dallasopera.org/rsvp or call the RSVP hotline at 214.443.1000 to reserve your seat now!

BIOS:

DOMINICK ARGENTO
 
Dominick Argento, considered to be America’s preeminent composer of lyric opera, was born in York, Pennsylvania in 1927. At the Peabody Conservatory, where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, his teachers included Nicholas Nabokov, Henry Cowell, and Hugo Weisgall. Argento received his Ph.D. from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Alan Hovhaness and Howard Hanson. Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships allowed him to study in Italy with Luigi Dallapiccola and to complete his first opera, Colonel Jonathan the Saint. Following his Fulbright, Argento became music director of Hilltop Opera in Baltimore, and taught theory and composition at the Eastman School. In 1958, he joined the faculty of the Department of Music at the University of Minnesota, where he taught until 1997. He now holds the rank of Professor Emeritus.

Although Argento’s instrumental works have received consistent praise, the great majority of his music is vocal, whether in operatic, choral, or solo context. This emphasis on the human voice is a facet of the powerful dramatic impulse that drives nearly all of his music, both instrumental and vocal. Music critic Heidi Waleson has described Argento’s work as “richly melodic… [his] pieces are built with wit and passion, and always with the dramatic shape and color that make them theater. They speak to the heart.”

During his years at Eastman, Argento composed his opera, The Boor (1957), which has remained in the repertoire; John Rockwell of The New York Times, writing of a 1985 production, stated that “[it] taps deep currents of sentiment and passion.” Following his arrival in Minnesota, the composer accepted a number of commissions from significant organizations in his adopted state. Among these were the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, who commissioned his suite Royal Invitation (1964); and the Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis, who commissioned Variations for Orchestra [The Mask of Night] (1965). Argento’s close association with Sir Tyrone Guthrie and Douglas Campbell, directors of the Minnesota Theatre Company, led to his composing incidental music for several Guthrie productions, as well as a ballad opera, The Shoemaker’s Holiday (1967).

The 1970′s and 1980′s saw the composer working increasingly in the song cycle form, while still writing operas and orchestral music. Among his major song cycles are: Letters from Composers (1968); To Be Sung Upon the Water (1973); From the Diary of Virginia Woolf (1975); the choral I Hate and I Love (1982); The Andree Expedition (1983); and Casa Guidi (1983). His most recent song cycles, both premiered in 1996, are A Few Words About Chekhov (mezzo-soprano, baritone, and piano), given its premiere by Frederica von Stade, Håkan Hagegård, and accompanist Martin Katz at the Ordway Theater in St. Paul;Walden Pond (mixed chorus, harp, and three cellos), commissioned and premiered by the Dale Warland Singers; and Miss Manners on Music, to texts by the noted advice columnist.

Since the early 1970′s the composer’s operas, which have always found success in the U.S., have been heard with increasing frequency abroad. Nearly all of them, beginning with Postcard from Morocco (1971), have had at least one European production. Among these are The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe (1976), Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night (1981), and Casanova’s Homecoming (1984); Robert Jacobson of Opera News described the latter work as “a masterpiece.” The Aspern Papers was given its premiere by Dallas Opera in November 1988 to great acclaim, was telecast on the PBS series Great Performances, and was again presented, to critical praise, by the Washington Opera in 1990. It since has been heard in Germany and in Sweden; June 1998 brought a performance at the Barbican Centre in London.

Dominick Argento has examined fame and the immigrant experience in his newest opera, The Dream of Valentino, set in the early days of Hollywood. Washington Opera gave the work its premiere under the baton of Christopher Keene in January 1994, followed by its co-commissioning company, Dallas Opera, in 1995. The production featured special multi-media sets by John Conklin and costumes by the couturier Valentino. Writing of the premiere, Peter G. Davis of New York magazine stated, “What a pleasure to encounter a real opera composer, one who has studied and learned from his predecessors, loves the form, understands its conventions, has mastered them, and then lets his imagination take wing.” The Dream of Valentino received its European premiere in February 1999 in Kassel, Germany.

Among other honors and awards, Dominick Argento received the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1975 for his song cycle From the Diary of Virginia Woolf. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1979, and in 1997 was honored with the title of Composer Laureate to the Minnesota Orchestra, a lifetime appointment. In honor of his 85th birthday, the University of Maryland presented a special career retrospective that included Miss Havisham’s FirePostcard from Morocco, and Miss Manners on Music, as well as other recitals and lectures.

Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes

JENNIFER YOUNGS

American soprano Jennifer Youngs is an exciting emerging artist who is equally at home on both the opera and concert stage. During the 2011-2012 Season she performed the role of Laurette in Doctor Miracle for TDO2go and Student Performances @ the Winspear.  Last season she served as a soloist artist for the Dallas Opera Concert Series, and was featured in a family concert with the Dallas Opera Orchestra.  This season at the University of North Texas she will perform the roles of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor.   Her 2010-2011 season at the University of North Texas has consisted of the roles of Vitellia in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito and Birdie in Blizstein’s Regina. Throughout the year she has worked closely with composer Jake Heggie, and has been featured in a masterclass and several concerts with the composer.  While at the University of the Pacific, Jennifer performed the roles ofCasilda in The Gondoliers, Mrs. Roby in the west coast premier of The Power of Xingu, and Clorinda in La Cenerentola. The production of La Cenerentola went on to be a winner in the National Opera Association competition and a finalist in The American College Theatre Festival, with performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington. While at Pacific she served as soloist for the Bach Cantata #110, Haydn’s Creation, and was featured in Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, and Handel’s Brockes Passion for the Stockton Symphony. Jennifer also had the unique opportunity to solo with jazz legend Dave Brubeck. Jennifer has recently placed 1st and voted the audience favorite in the 6th Annual Lois Alba Aria Competition in Houston, TX. She has also been a district winner of the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions in Kansas City. In 2009 she was nominated to be a finalist for a Richard Tucker Award. Jennifer is currently pursuing a master’s degree in vocal performance at The University of North Texas, where she studies with Lynn Eustis. She holds a bachelor’s degree from The University of the Pacific, in Stockton, CA. While at Pacific she studied with John David DeHaan.

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ABOUT ART&SEEK

Art&Seek brings North Texans news about arts, music and culture. The team’s arts journalists produce reports, interviews, criticism and video for KERA FM, KERA TV and online at ArtandSeek.org. Art&Seek’s calendar hosts profiles and events from more than 3,000 arts groups and venues. Highlights can also be heard on KERA FM and KXT 91.7 FM. Art&Seek is a service provided by KERA/North Texas Public Broadcasting.

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The Opera Fund, launched by The National Endowment for the Arts, is funded by the Helen F. Whitaker Fund, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James S. and John L. Knight Foundation, The George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation, Lee Day Gillespie, and Lloyd and Mary Ann Gerlach.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT “JANUARY AT THE DALLAS OPERA”

IS CONVENIENTLY AVAILABLE ONLINE

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’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 OPERA

 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. Single Tickets for TURANDOT, THE ASPERN PAPERS and family performances are on sale now.  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 SPRING SEASON INFORMATION
The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-SixthInternational 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.

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.  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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