The 2013-14 Season Line Up – “By Love Transformed”

by Suzanne Calvin

Death and the Powers

(Hal Cazalet as Nicholas in “Death and the Powers,” photo courtesy of Jill Steinberg)  


Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Contact: Suzanne Calvin 214.443.1014 Or Megan Meister 214.443.1071


DALLAS, FEBRUARY 12, 2013 — The Dallas Opera is proud to announce a return to four mainstage productions for the company’s bold and dazzling 2013-2014 Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

The 57th International Season, “BY LOVE TRANSFORMED” consists of works spanning three centuries—each of which challenged the musical or dramatic conventions of their day.
The new season will commence the evening of Friday, October 25, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. (please note new time for the Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance in conjunction with the Dallas Opera’s FIRST NIGHT) and continue through the final curtain calls on Sunday, April 13, 2014.

The 2013-2014 Season will include two much-loved classics, in addition to the Dallas premiere of an important twentieth-century work for the opera stage. This Dallas Opera season will also include the regional premiere—and, worldwide, only the fourth set of performances—of a thought-provoking new twenty-first century opera. Among the upcoming season highlights are two major American debuts; however, every TDO performance will feature internationally renowned singers, conductors, and other artists of the top rank.

Each TDO production will feature the outstanding talents of the Dallas Opera Orchestra and Dallas Opera Chorus, led by some of the finest conductors at work in the world today.
As always, these masterpieces will be performed in their original languages, with English translations projected above the stage at every performance.
The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera house is located in the heart of the Arts District at 2403 Flora St., Dallas TX 75201.

In the wake of a five-opera season in 2011-2012 (four mainstage, plus one chamber opera), the Dallas Opera made a conscientious choice to temporarily reduce the company’s season to three mainstage productions and a series of vibrant public appearances, events, concerts and recitals featuring the likes of Pulitzer Prize-winning American composers Dominick Argento and Jennifer Higdon, MIT composer/inventor Tod Machover, conductor Evan Rogister, German conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham (star of the Dallas Opera’s Spring Gala on March 9th, in addition to her TDO debut in THE ASPERN PAPERS), Sicilian tenor Marcello Giordani and The Dallas Opera Orchestra.

This season also features two public performances of Lee Hoiby’s “Bon Appétit!” starring mezzo-soprano Susan Nicely as the one-and-only Julia Child, as well as several performances of two children’s classics, Georges Bizet’s Dr. Miracle and an operatic version of Jack and the Beanstalk (with music by Sir Arthur Sullivan).

“As part of my commitment to this company and the people of Dallas and North Texas,” explains Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny, “I am determined to lead the Dallas Opera in an artistically vibrant yet fiscally responsible way.
“The board and I believed, quite strongly,” Cerny adds, “that it was incumbent upon us to address, head-on, the effects of a recessionary economy and reduce the season for a single year. This move was designed to demonstrate our commitment to realistic and financially responsible planning, in order to return the company to the firm financial footing necessary to pursue a host of incredibly exciting and adventurous future projects, including the upcoming world premieres of composer Joby Talbot’s first opera, EVEREST, in the 2014-2015 Season (with a libretto by Gene Scheer) and Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s GREAT SCOTT.

“Now, we’ve paid our dues,” says Mr. Cerny, “without any loss of artistic quality. And it’s time to grow the season again while working to achieve sensational new heights of artistry, innovation, imagination and design.”

2013-2014 Dallas Opera Season

CARMEN by Georges Bizet
October 25, 27(m), 30, Nov. 2, 8 & 10(m), 2013

February 12, 14, 15 & 16(m), 2014

DIE TOTE STADT by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
March 21, 23(m), 26, 29 and April 6(m), 2014

THE BARBER OF SEVILLE by Gioachino Rossini
March 28, 30(m), April 2, 5, 11 & 13(m), 2014

The benefits of becoming a Dallas Opera subscriber include priority seating, lost ticket replacement, invitations to special events and dramatic savings over the price of single tickets. The company has also added several FREE incentives for loyal season subscribers ranging from comp tickets for upcoming Family Performances to an exclusive patron appreciation “Cabaret Recital” (details to be announced at a later time).

Renewal packets for season subscribers are being mailed to patrons March 10th; however, Dallas Opera Season Subscribers are eligible to renew their seats for the 2013-2014 Season, beginning today, February 12, 2013, and an email with renewal instructions and options will be sent this afternoon.
New Dallas Opera patrons can purchase their subscriptions for the 2013-2014 Season as of June 1, 2013. Subscriptions for all four productions can be purchased for as little as $76 (with seats up to $960).

Single tickets are expected to go on sale to the general public in July. All single tickets for individual performances are subject to availability. Tickets may be purchased at the door – throughout the 2013-2014 Season – or in advance by calling 214.443.1000. Subscriptions and single tickets will also be available for purchase online throughout the season at

For more information, consult the friendly staff in the Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214-443-1000 or visit us online at

The 2013-2014 “By Love Transformed” Season officially opens on the evening of Friday, October 25th at 8:00 PM—The Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance—with our first CARMEN in the critically acclaimed acoustic of the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House.

She’s the woman no man can resist and, as performed by renowned French mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine in her American debut, who would want to say “non”? Hailed as “Best Newcomer” in the 2011 French Classical Music Awards, Margaine will have her hands full with two head-turning, heart-melting Don Josés: tenors Brandon Jovanovich, who last captivated us as Pinkerton, and Bruno Ribeiro (making his company debut).

This truly phenomenal cast, from Mary Dunleavy in the role of Micaëla to Dwayne Croft as Escamillo the Toreador, will bring on the sizzle—as well as the steak! Featuring classic Jean-Pierre Ponnelle scenery from the San Francisco Opera, this production conducted by Maestro Emmanuel Villaume will make all the other good/bad girls of opera seem tame, if not lame, in comparison.

Georges Bizet’s colorful, sensual and passionate nineteenth-century masterpiece will be staged by veteran American director Bliss Hebert, who last directed our critically acclaimed 2012 production of La traviata, the notable U.S. debut of Greek soprano Myrtò Paptanasiu, our “Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year.”

American tenor Brandon Jovanovich will sing the role of Don José on Oct. 25, 27, and 30, while TDO newcomer, Portuguese tenor Bruno Ribeiro will portray the obsessed lover on Nov. 2, 8 and 10, 2013.

This outstanding international cast includes soprano Danielle Pastin in her company debut as Frasquita; mezzo Audrey Babcock in her Dallas Opera debut as Mercédès; bass Kyle Albertson (another company debut) as Zuniga; baritone Stephen LaBrie as the smuggler, La Dancaire; tenor Victor Ryan Robertson as Remendado and baritone John David Boehr in his TDO debut as Moralès.

Mr. Jovanovich, who enthralled Dallas audiences in our 2010 production of Madame Butterfly (described by Huffington Post’s Rodney Punt as the definitive Pinkerton of our time), has been dazzling critics recently in the title role of Wagner’s Lohengrin. San Francisco Chronicle Classical Music Critic Joshua Kosman wrote: “Jovanovich combined sweet-toned lyricism and ardent heroism in just the proportions required for this tricky role. His singing was thrillingly pure and tireless, his stage presence simultaneously tender and aloof.”
Portuguese tenor Bruno Ribeiro, on the other hand, “gives rich voice to soulful pleadings” and has been praised for allowing “vulnerability to color his expressive tenor” (

Soprano Mary Dunleavy “melds outstanding acting ability with a flexible and gorgeous voice” (William Thomas Walker,, characteristics on display in her tour de force portrayal of all four love interests in the Dallas Opera’s 2005 production of Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann, earning rave reviews and that season’s “Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year Award.”

Bass-baritone Dwayne Croft swept Dallas Opera goers off their feet as Marcello in our 2009 production of La bohème. A singer praised by The Classical Review for his “musical intelligence” and an onstage presence that is both “dashing and ardent.”

Soprano Danielle Pastin impressed reviewer James O. Welsch with her “stunning lyrical beauty and tone.” And Catherine Reese Newton of The St. Louis Tribune praised mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock as “a vocal and dramatic knockout.” Bass Kyle Albertson, on the other hand, was applauded by ConcertoNet for his “splendid interpretation” of the role of Henry Kissinger in Long Beach Opera’s production of Nixon in China; while baritone Steven LaBrie caught the ear of The Opera Critic “with his rich yet flexible voice, good looks and charismatic personality” and tenor Victor Ryan Robertson “made a fine impression” on Opera News. Baritone John David Boehr earned the praise of Michael Anthony of for his “welcome energy and adroit singing” at Minnesota Opera.

As for Maestro Villaume, Lawrence A. Johnson recently wrote that “he displayed his considerable bona fides in French repertoire once again, conducting a performance that conveyed the melodic richness of Bizet’s music with elegance, delicacy and dramatic point as needed.”

Costume design is by Werner Iverke in his company debut, with lighting design by Thomas C. Hase.

The Dallas Opera Chorus will be prepared by Chorus Master Alexander Rom and the children’s chorus by Children’s Chorus Master Melinda Cotten.

Performances will continue on October 27(m), 30, November 2, 8 & 10(m), 2013 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, selected by Southern Living as the best new venue for opera. All evening performances besides the Opening Night of the Season will begin promptly at 7:30 PM. Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 PM.

A free, pre-performance lecture (“The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talks”) will be conducted one hour prior to curtain at most performances. The Dallas Opera Guild also hosts “Opera Insights,” a lively panel discussion featuring artists, directors and designers, on the Sunday afternoon prior to opening. For more details, visit


The second production of the Dallas Opera’s “By Love Transformed” Season, opening on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 7:30 p.m., is composer Tod Machover and librettist Robert Pinsky’s mind-bending DEATH AND THE POWERS.

Science Fiction and poignant family drama combine in one of the most stunning new operas of the 21st century, coming to the stage of the Winspear Opera House in a production directed by Diane Paulus, designed by Alex McDowell (Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, David Fincher’s Fight Club), conducted by contemporary music specialist, Maestra Nicole Paiement (TDO’s 2012 production of Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse), and featuring spectacular cutting-edge technology designed by the MIT Media Lab.

This visually spectacular robot pageant tells the story of a terminally ill billionaire, sung by baritone Robert Orth, who downloads his consciousness into “the System” and proceeds to use all his powers to persuade his loved ones to join him there.

Without bodies, without the possibility of touch, sex, suffering, and death—are we still genuinely human? Explore these existential questions and much more in a piece Variety described as “playful, lyrical and…mesmerizing.”

This Dallas Opera production of DEATH AND THE POWERS will be supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a host of new initiatives, in partnership with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. These include a special exhibit in the Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall; jointly developed lectures, demonstrations and workshops; website integration; and collaborative educational materials incorporating both music and technology—an initiative announced this afternoon by Nicole Small, CEO of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, at Cowboys Stadium:

“Death and the Powers is an opera that is a unique combination of technology, innovation and musical artistry … a wonderful blend of science and art … and it wholeheartedly supports the Perot Museum’s mission ‘to inspire minds through nature and science,’” said Small. “It also demonstrates that science and engineering can be thrilling and genuinely ‘cool.’ Mr. Machover’s work represents the ideal opportunity for the Opera and the Perot Museum to forge an unexpected and exciting collaboration.”

And I’m so pleased,” Ms. Small added, “that Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny understands—as we do—that life and learning have no set limits and can ultimately take many forms.”

DEATH AND THE POWERS is a dynamic one-act opera created in 2010 by composer Tod Machover, Professor of Music and Media at the MIT Media Lab (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and American poet laureate Robert Pinsky, the librettist. The work was commissioned by the Monaco-based Association Futurum, to promote futuristic projects combining the arts and sciences, and originally presented at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo where it earned rave reviews as a “grand, rich, deeply serious new opera” (Andrew Porter, Opera), also praised as “envelope-pushing, thought-provoking and brilliantly executed” (Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review).

Working with members of the MIT Media Lab, Machover produced “a challenging opera that questioned how far the human race can push technological development toward immortality.” The action centers on a terminally ill billionaire who downloads his consciousness into an artificial construct and then attempts to persuade his loved ones to join him there. Critic Stephen J. Mudge of Opera News added: “Any worry that the opera might be taking itself too seriously is answered by Pinsky’s witty and at times lighthearted libretto, which treats the situation with respect but levity.”

Jeremy Eichler of The Boston Globe wrote that the sci-fi opera, subsequently performed in Boston and Chicago, “sets its gaze on subjects both ancient and ultra-modern. In the former camp is the question of whether the soul, or something beyond the body, can live after our death. In the latter camp is the question of the deeper meanings of our infatuation with technology — the way we experience our lives increasingly through its prism…That trailblazing technology is itself put to the service of exploring these points is one of the work’s many ironies that cumulatively leave you with plenty to think about after the robots have powered down for the night.”

The Chicago Tribune gave the new work four stars: “Death and the Powers is a must-see for anybody who cares about the exciting new techno-driven direction music theater is taking in the early 21st century.”

“Programming this important and genre-stretching work by Tod Machover underscores the Dallas Opera’s unwavering commitment to significantly broadening our programming, both by presenting 20th and 21st century works as well as lesser-known works deserving a permanent place in our repertoire,” explains Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny.
“This major regional premiere will allow us to reach out to those North Texans who are excited by the prospect of experiencing a work that overlays contemporary technology on traditional operatic practice. Especially when it marries the Dallas Opera’s reputation for exceptional artistry and vivid imagination with the twenty-first century technologies the state-of-the-art Winspear Opera House can provide.”

Tod Machover has been called “America’s most wired composer” by the Los Angeles Times. He is widely recognized as one of the most significant and innovative composers of his generation, and is also celebrated for inventing new technology for music, including Hyperinstruments. Mr. Machover is the Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media at the MIT Media Lab (Cambridge, MA) – where he has worked since the Lab was founded in 1985 – and is Director of the its Hyperinstruments and “Opera of the Future” groups. Since 2006, Machover has also been Visiting Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Tod Machover’s music has been acclaimed for breaking traditional artistic and cultural boundaries, offering a unique and innovative synthesis of acoustic and electronic sound, of symphony orchestras and interactive computers, and of operatic arias and rock songs. Wrote Ray Kurzwell of The New York Times: “Tod Machover is the only person I am aware of who contributes on a world-class level to both the technology of music creation and to music itself. Even within these two distinct areas, Tod’s contributions are remarkably diverse, and of exquisite quality.”

The Dallas Opera has twice brought Mr. Machover to Dallas to discuss his wide-ranging, cutting-edge work in public forums hosted by D Magazine’s Arts Editor Peter Simek and most recently with Art&Seek Producer/Reporter Jerome Weeks (KERA) as part of TDO’s “Composing Conversations” Series.

This production—only the fourth set of performances, worldwide—will also star soprano Joélle Harvey as Miranda, mezzo-soprano Patricia Risley as Evvy, and British tenor Hal Cazalet in his Dallas Opera debut as Nicholas. Additional cast members include countertenor Frank Kelley (“The United Way”), baritone David Kravitz (“The United Nations”) and bass Tom McNichols (“The Administration”) in their company debuts.

Robert Orth, “one of the finest singer/actors working in opera today” (Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, Theater Jones) made memorable Dallas Opera appearances as Officer 2/Blazes in our critically acclaimed 2012 production of Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse and as Stubb in the Dallas Opera world premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick, praised by Heidi Waleson of The Wall Street Journal for giving the opera “a touch of levity.”

Joélle Harvey was applauded by The New York Times’ Anthony Tommasini for her “bright, agile soprano and winsome presence, while Robert Levine of Classics Today wrote with enthusiasm about her “melting lyricism one moment, merry fireworks the next, and all sung dead-center with feeling.”

An earlier performance of DEATH AND THE POWERS prompted Stephen J. Mudge of Opera News to note the “sensual mezzo contribution from Patricia Risley as Evvy,” while Chicago Classical Review appreciated Hal Cazalet’s “vibrant tenor.” Jonathan Levi of The New York Times wrote in his review of DEATH AND THE POWERS: “While the composer plumbs the depths and heights of the male larynx with the oceanic bass of Tom McNichols and the piercing counter tenor of Frank Kelley, the dramatic challenge of singing to walls of flashing lights—even walls beautifully crafted by movie designer Alex McDowell—is enormous.”

Maestra Nicole Paiement made an impressive Dallas Opera debut last season with The Lighthouse, prompting Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of Theater Jones to declare “the real star of the production is conductor Nicole Paiement. She conducted the complex score with such feeling and understanding that every one of the myriad of time-signature changes vanishes into a free-flowing score….the orchestra was able to play the difficult and thorny score with musicality because they were secure in the knowledge that she would always be there for them.”

Stage director Diane Paulus is the Artistic Director at the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University. At the A.R.T. her recent work includes The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, a new production adapted by Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, and OBIE-winning composer Diedre Murray; and Prometheus Bound, with music composed by Grammy Award-winning “System of a Down” lead singer Serj Tankian. Her other recent theater and opera credits include The Public Theater’s Tony-Award winning revival of HAIR on Broadway and London’s West End; Kiss Me, Kate (Glimmerglass Opera); and Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Turn Of The Screw, Cosi fan tutte, and the Monteverdi trilogy Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, L’incoronazione di Poppea, and Orfeo at the Chicago Opera Theater. Ms. Paulus is a Professor of the Practice of Theater in Harvard University’s English Department and was recently named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Boston by Boston Magazine.

Wrote Richard Ouzounian in The Star, “These days, Diane Paulus is truly the Queen of the Night…the woman of the moment when it comes to putting musical magic onstage.”
This production will mark Ms. Paulus’ Dallas Opera debut.

Production designer Alex McDowell is one of the most innovative and influential designers working in narrative media, with the impact of his ideas extending far beyond his background in cinema. Mr. McDowell advocates an immersive design process that acknowledges the role of design in storytelling. With Death and the Powers, McDowell brings his considerable experience in film design and animatronics to the stage for the first time.

The Winspear stage will represent the home of billionaire Simon Powers, but this room will gradually reveal itself to be a vast, interconnected, intelligent system. To accomplish this affect, McDowell and the “Opera of the Future” team at the MIT Media Lab designed “robotic architecture” that appears to change its shape—undulating, vibrating, pulsating or pounding.
The System, programmed to create sculptural images, moving patterns, and even human-like gestures and expressions, will reveal Simon’s fleeting thoughts and memories throughout the performance.

Costume design is by David Woolard in his company debut, lighting design by Don Holder (Moby-Dick) and choreography by Karole Armitage—another TDO debut.

Sung in English, with English language translations projected above the stage, DEATH AND THE POWERS can be experienced at one of three additional performances on February 14, 15, and 16(m), 2014.

The third production of the 2013-2014 “By Love Transformed” Season is another first for the Dallas Opera: the North Texas premiere of German composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s twentieth-century masterpiece, DIE TOTE STADT (“The Dead City”), which opens in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House on the evening of Friday, March 21, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Before Hitchcock filmed “Vertigo,” Korngold created Die tote Stadt, the tale of one man’s dark obsession with the woman he loved and lost.

Featuring state-of-the-art projections and composed by a prodigy who evolved into one of the great masters of music for the Golden Age of Cinema (“The Adventures of Robin Hood,” “Deception,” “The Sea Hawk”), Die tote Stadt features an extraordinary cast that includes tenor Jay Hunter Morris in the role of Paul, fresh from his triumphs as Ahab in the San Francisco Opera revival of Moby-Dick and as Siegfried in the Met’s new Ring Cycle; Danish soprano Ann Petersen in her American debut as Marietta; and baritone Morgan Smith, the poignant voice of reason in TDO’s world premiere production of Moby-Dick, as Fritz.

Other principal singers include Australian mezzo-soprano Katherine Tier in her TDO debut as Brigitta; baritone Weston Hurt (La bohème) as Frank and tenor Andrew Bidlack (The Lighthouse) as Albert; with Jennifer Chung as Juliette, Angela Turner Wilson as Lucienne, and Danish tenor Jan Lund in his American debut as Victorin.

Jay Hunter Morris has been conquering the opera world, one production at a time. About his performance in the San Francisco revival of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick, Mercury News critic Richard Scheinin wrote: “He sang with a pressurized fury that practically shook the seats of the War Memorial Opera House. Think Old Testament. Think King Lear.” As Siegfried in the Metropolitan Opera’s new Ring, Morris “found his own way to sing this heldentenor role with a lighter yet athletic and youthful sound. His clarion top notes projected nicely over the orchestra” (Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times).

Singing Isolde, Ann Petersen “is immediately perfection,” said Stephen Walsh of, adding “Hers is a lighter, more lyrical voice than the conventional Wagner soprano, and she floats Isolde’s lines as if they were Schubert, lovely and effortless, through with ample power when needed.”

Morgan Smith made an indelible impression on Dallas audiences in the world premiere production of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick. Critic Joshua Kosman of The San Francisco Chronicle felt that same depth of humanity in Smith’s recent recap of the role: “The real star of the cast was baritone Morgan Smith, whose Starbuck joined vocal splendor, moral authority and deep empathy in a phenomenal combination.”

Maestro Sebastian Lang-Lessing, the music director of the San Antonio Symphony, will conduct in this, his Dallas Opera debut. Writing about a concert appearance in Portland, Oregon, critic James McQuillen noted that “under the direction of…Lang-Lessing, who led with sweeping gestures and never missed an opportunity for a fortissimo punch at the close, the orchestra sounded superb.”

This production is both staged and designed by director Mikael Melbye, with video projections designed by Wendall Harrington. The duo have earned the applause of critics for their designs of ballets as well as operas, prompting Lisa Jo Sagolla of to observe: “Melbye’s and Harrington’s designs hug the space with gorgeous period video images…making it look like the characters are actually in a setting, as opposed to a stage set.” It “also allows the dream-like narrative to jump-cut from ballroom to boudoir,” adds Louise Levene of The Telegraph (U.K.) “with a flick of a switch.”

Costume design is by Dierdre Clancy (TDO debut); with lighting design by Mark McCullough; choreography by Assistant Director Matthew Ferraro and chorus preparation by Dallas Opera Chorus Master Alexander Rom.

Paul’s fierce grip on the memory of his dead wife will be challenged by the equally determined Marietta. Can he let go of his fantasy in order to live again? This production of a too-long-neglected twentieth-century masterpiece will leave you wondering “Where has this opera been all my life?”

DIE TOTE STADT will be sung in the original German with English language translations projected above the stage. Additional performances are planned for March 23(m), 26 and 29, concluding with a final Sunday afternoon matinee on April 6, 2014.

Four additional performances, sung in English with the English language text projected above the stage, will take place on April 14(m), 17, 20 and 28, 2013 in the magnificent Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House.


The Dallas Opera’s 2013-2014 Season Finale is Gioachino Rossini’s wildest and most popular romp: THE BARBER OF SEVILLE, opening the evening of Friday, March 28, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

Disguises and false identities abound as men—young and old—vie for the hand of the beautiful Rosina in one of the funniest and most frenetic operas ever composed! Rossini’s delightful 19th century romp centers on “Figaro, Figaro, Figaro!” a scheming barber and jack-of-all-trades, sung by Dallas Opera favorite Nathan Gunn, who plots with Count Almaviva to release Bartolo’s ward from her gilded cage.

The all-star ensemble includes acclaimed mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard as the gorgeous-yet-spunky Rosina, lyric tenor Alek Shrader as the love-struck Almaviva, and commanding Turkish bass Burak Bilgili as Don Basilio in their much-anticipated TDO debuts. It also marks the welcome return of the inimitable Donato DiStefano, a comic genius (La Cenerentola) known from previous Dallas Opera productions of Barber in a role he has mastered for audiences around the world: Dr. Bartolo.

The cast also includes baritone Nathan De’Shon Myers as Fiorello and soprano Jennifer Aylmer in her company debut as Berta.

Maestro Giuliano Carella will conduct in his company debut, with chorus preparation by Dallas Opera Chorus Master Alexander Rom.

Baritone Nathan Gunn has delighted Dallas audiences as Guglielmo and Malatesta, as well as introducing Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s song cycle “A Question of Light” in partnership with the Dallas Museum of Art. Dallas Morning News Classical Music Critic Scott Cantrell, reviewing a recent concert, wrote: “aside from his movie-star looks and wonderfully natural stage presence, he has a rich, creamy voice and unself-conscious expressivity that never flirts with affectation. How many singers can claim all those assets?”
Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times called Mr. Gunn “A born actor (who) sings as if speaking the words.”

John W. Freeman of Opera News praised mezzo Isabel Leonard’s voice, “secure in coloratura agility, (it) carried its fresh, lucid tone upward on flights into the soprano register, then transitioned smoothly into warmer, more shaded tone in the longer mezzo range, without break or change of character.”

Tenor Alek Shrader, making his TDO debut, was earlier teamed with Ms. Leonard in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2012 production of The Tempest: “Isabel Leonard sings with lovely fluid sound as Miranda and is well matched by Alek Shrader’s sweet, youthful Ferdinand. Their duet, marked by ecstatic high tones and dizzying descents, is a highlight.”

Italian Donato DiStefano, one of the most sought-after buffo basses in the world, most recently charmed Dallas audiences in the title role of Don Pasquale, and he rarely fails to steal the show. According to Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of Theater Jones, “Musically, he was unassailable; as an actor, he was believable and funny” in this critically acclaimed production.

Turkish bass Burak Bilgili earned high marks as Zaccaria in Washington National Opera’s Nabucco, prompting The Washington Times to observe: “Mr. Bilgili’s voice strongly resembles the profound, dark-hued bass voices with which the Russians seem to be uniquely gifted. And it’s this dark but clear and authoritative instrument that allows him to command each scene in which he appears.”

Meanwhile, soprano Jennifer Aylmer’s “coloratura sounds at first as natural and easy as giggling,” but she’s not to be underestimated. Wrote Sarah Bryan Miller of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “She took charge of the stage whenever she occupied it in a first-rate performance.”

THE BARBER OF SEVILLE remains one of opera’s best-loved comedies.
From the first notes of one of the world’s most famous overtures to the final curtain, your heart will be racing—but not for the exit!

Additional performances of BARBER will take place on Sunday, March 30(m) and April 2, 5, 11 &13, 2014 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House. All evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. (unless otherwise indicated) and matinees have a 2:00 p.m. curtain time.

The Dallas Opera has presented five American premieres, as well as three world premiere works in its illustrious 56-year-history. It also continues to create fresh, new productions of established masterpieces of the genre.

Evening performances during the 2013-2014 Season productions will begin at 7:30 PM, unless otherwise stated (including an 8:00 p.m. curtain for the Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance). All Sunday matinees are slated to begin at 2:00 p.m.

The “Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talks,” a free background lecture for the opera being performed that day, takes place in Nancy B. Hamon Hall located off the Winspear Opera House lobby one hour prior to each performance, except for Opening Night of the Season.

Easy-to-read English translations are projected above the stage during every Dallas Opera performance and special headsets are available at Coat-Check for the hearing impaired.
Season subscriptions for the 2013-2014 Season will range from $76 to $960.

No late seating is permitted once the house doors are closed.

For information about next season, call The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214-443-1000 or visit us online at

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 Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Single Tickets for TURANDOT, THE ASPERN PAPERS and remaining family performances are on sale now. Tickets for the mainstage productions start for a new low price of $19! 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.

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
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.


Comments are closed.