Participants Selected for 2016 Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors

by Suzanne Calvin


Monday, June 20, 2016

Contact: Suzanne Calvin 214.443.1014                            Or Celeste Hart 214.443.1071                          


Participants Named for Second Annual

Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for

Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera


Nov. 26 – Dec. 11, 2016 in Dallas, Texas


Six Selected for Elite Opera Program from

156 Applicants Representing 31 Countries


Distinguished Faculty include Marin Alsop, Nicole Paiement, Carlo Montanaro and Alec Treuhaft


Initial Support from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation Additional Support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,

Baker Botts LLP, Susan and Mark Geyer, Holly and Tom Mayer, Martha and Max Wells, and the TACA Bowden & Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund


DALLAS, JUNE 20, 2016 – The Dallas Opera is proud to announce the names of the six distinguished professionals selected to participate in the second annual session of the Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera taking place November 26 -- December 11, 2016 in Dallas, Texas:

  • Elizabeth Askren (USA)
  • Mihaela Cesa-Goje (Romania)
  • Alexandra Cravero (France)
  • Tianyi Lu (New Zealand)
  • Chaowen Ting (USA/Taiwan)
  • Zoe Zeniodi (Greece)

Working to address a long-standing career issue in the opera world, The Dallas Opera in 2015 launched a unique, new residential program—one of only three in the world—designed to provide training and career support for distinctively talented women conductors.  Female conductors, as well as accomplished women singers, opera coaches, accompanists, and instrumentalists with established careers seeking to develop new skills at the podium, were encouraged to apply.

A total of 156 women conductors and professional musicians heeded the call and applied by the April 22nd deadline.  Of that number, approximately one-third of the IWC applicants (59) came from the United States. 

Other nations represented in this year’s applicant pool were from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Lithuania, and Mexico; as well as New Zealand, Poland, Finland, Russia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Applicants from these 31 countries included music directors, principal and assistant conductors, concertmasters and music staff from top-ranked symphonies, opera companies, and conservatories.


As is the case each year, four U.S. observers were chosen to “audit” the 2016 Institute: Ching-Chun Lai, Michelle Rofrano, Carolyn Watson and Parisa Zaeri.


The institute had key, foundational support from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation.  Naming support came through the generosity of Linda and Mitch Hart.  Additional vital support comes from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Baker Botts LLP, Susan and Mark Geyer, Holly and Tom Mayer, Martha and Max Wells, and the TACA Bowden & Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund.

The 2016 Linda and Mitch Hart Institute will consist of hands-on master classes with Marin Alsop (Music Director, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, and the only conductor ever to receive the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship); The Dallas Opera’s Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement and Carlo Montanaro, a renowned Italian conductor. 

The institute will include career advancement seminars with experienced professionals like Alec Treuhaft, former senior vice-president of IMG Artists; industry discussions; intensive one-on-ones and networking opportunities; as well as the chance to conduct The Dallas Opera Orchestra in two public concerts on the evenings of December 4th and December 10th (additional details to be announced at a later time).

As part of TDO’s 5-year commitment to each institute “class” of conductors, alumnae will be invited to summer reunions for additional masterclasses with piano and singers, and a series of introductory seminars about the business of music: General Management, Marketing and Communications, Development and Finance.  In our inaugural program last December and the first round of follow-up discussions this spring, the 2015 class of conductors reiterated their interest in this type of training on multiple occasions. 


Keith Cerny, The Dallas Opera’s Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO notes: “The Dallas Opera has demonstrated, in multiple ways, its commitment to reshaping the opera field through the use of innovative public outreach, by exploring new technologies, commissioning new works to expand the operatic repertoire, and programming with passion and imagination.”

“This much-needed program,” Mr. Cerny added, “will enable more women conductors to add their talents and perspectives to our collective understanding of this art form, while encouraging conversation about the necessity of women in leadership roles.”


The Dallas Opera’s Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor, Nicole Paiement, who also serves as the Artistic Director and Conductor for San Francisco’s renowned contemporary opera company, Opera Parallèle, commented, “In tandem with my work as a professional conductor, I have spent many years striving to develop and support exceptional young talent, both onstage and in the orchestra pit.  I am tremendously pleased to be able to continue this aspect of my career in a leadership role here in Dallas and I sincerely hope my work with the women in this institute can serve as a source of both valuable insights and inspiration.”

Nicole Paiement’s residency for the institute is supported by the TACA Bowden & Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund.

Marc A. Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America, earlier remarked: “The Dallas Opera continues to expand its influence and stature among American opera companies, as shown by this exciting new initiative.  The company is to be applauded for taking a significant step to remedy the existing gender imbalance on the podium.  This effort complements OPERA America’s support of the work of female opera composers and promises to enrich the art form by encouraging more gifted artists to express themselves through opera.”





Elizabeth Askren has worked as Assistant Music Director in leading European venues (Théâtre des Champs Elysées, The Concertgebouw, etc.) and has guest conducted orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  Débuts for the 2015-16 season include concerts with the Romanian National Opera in Cluj and the Opera Orchestra of Toulon.  Ms. Askren is a laureate of France’s ADAMI, and has received fellowships from the Salzburg Mozarteum, the Royaumont Foundation, and the Aldeburgh Festival.  A finalist candidate for the Mahler Competition, she was invited by Lorin Maazel as “Apprentice Conductor” for the inaugural season of the Castleton Festival in Virginia. She is the subject of several radio and press interviews, and is currently a Young Leader of the French American Foundation.  Ms. Askren holds diplomas in piano and conducting from the Juilliard School, Oberlin Conservatory, and the Conducting Institute of Bard in the United States, and the Schola Cantorum and the Ecole Normale de Musique in France. 



Mihaela Cesa-Goje gained widespread attention in 2009 as the winner of the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship founded by Marin Alsop and in 2010, a Conducting Grant from the League of American Orchestras.  In 2011, she was awarded the Dudamel Fellowship from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and later that same year, was selected from a field of 160 candidates for a masterclass with Bernard Haitink and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.  Earlier in her career, Ms. Cesa-Goje received the “Sandor Vegh Prize” from the Romanian Mozart Society for an outstanding performance of Mozart’s “Der Schauspiele Direktor” at the Cluj National Opera, Romania.  In 2005, she completed her Conducting Diploma at the Royal Academy of Music in London and was awarded the Irene Burcher Prize.  In 2013, she earned a graduate degree in conducting from Gh Dima Music Academy in Cluj, Romania, where she studied with Florentin Mihaescu. She also studied with Harold Farberman, Gustav Meier, Patrick Russill and Roland Börger.  Ms. Cesa-Goje is regularly invited to Cluj National Opera. In her first season (2014) she conducted eight different titles.



As a musician of many talents with a charismatic personality and artistic sensibility, Alexandra Cravero has quickly earned the reputation of being one of this generation’s conductors to watch.  With a National Diploma and Masters in viola and conducting from the National French Conservatory, Alexandra was also finalist at the Besancon, Pedrotti, and Cadaques competitions.  She has assisted Pierre Boulez, Kurt Masur, Tito Ceccherini, Patrick Davin and directed the BBC, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic, the Sofia Radio, the Theatre de La Monnaie and the Opera National du Rhin Orchestras.  On the operatic stage, she has directed, among others, Annick Massis, Michael Spyres, Magdalena Kožená, and Etienne Dupuis.  Her vast operatic repertoire spans many centuries: Carmen, The Pearl Fishers, Norma, Faust, Porgy and Bess, The Cunning Little Vixen, Reigen, and Doctor Atomic, to name a few.  Upcoming engagements will see Alexandra Cravero direct The Tales of Hoffmann, Tosca, La traviata, and the Orchestre National de Lille at the Paris Philharmonic Hall.


Now based in the United Kingdom, Tianyi Lu is the Junior Fellow in Conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Music Director Designate of the Bristol Metropolitan Orchestra. She has been assistant conductor to Thomas Søndergård with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Sir Mark Elder with the Hallé, Alice Farnham with the Welsh National Youth Opera and Carlo Rizzi at the RWMCD.  She is regularly engaged by orchestras throughout Wales and New Zealand and was Music Director of The Magic Flute with Opera Otago.  Ms. Lu has studied with David Jones, John Hopkins and Uwe Grodd and has attended masterclasses with Bernard Haitink, Neemi Järvi, Sian Edwards, Alexander Polynichko, Marin Alsop and Kenneth Kiesler.  She was voted as a finalist at the twelfth ‘Interaktion’ conducting workshop by players of the Berlin Philharmonic and professional players in Germany.



Winner of the 2009 International Conductors’ Workshop and Competition, Chaowen Ting currently serves as Conductor of the Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra. A protégé of Bernard Haitink, Ting studied with the maestro at Lucerne Festival and was later invited by Haitink to observe his work with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  Outside of the U.S., she has conducted the Lucerne Festival Strings (Switzerland), Mihail Jora Bac?u Philharmonic (Romania), Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra (Croatia), St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic (Russia), and Orquesta Filarmónica de Honduras (Honduras).  She won the 2013 Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship and was a Conducting Fellow at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.  In addition to her symphonic repertoire, opera productions she directed received honors from National Opera Association’s Opera Production Competitions for two consecutive years.



Zoe Zeniodi has conducted productions at the Florida Grand Opera, Greek National Opera, the Onassis Cultural Center and guest conducted all the major Greek orchestras as well as Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra, the Brno Philharmonic, Palm Beach Symphony, New Florida Philhamornic, and JONDE, among others.  She is currently the Music Director of Broward Symphony Orchestra, Momentum Athens Chamber Orchestra and the Associate Music Director of the Festival of the Aegean.  Previous positions include: Chief Conductor of MOYSA, Assistant/Cover Conductor for Florida Grand Opera, Music Director of Alhambra Orchestra and Associate Conductor of Frost Symphony Orchestra. She has released five CD recordings of contemporary music.  Ms. Zeniodi holds a DMA in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Miami and also studied at the Royal College of Music and the Mozarteum, Salzburg.


(Headshots of this year’s class are available.  Contact






Ching-Chun Lai, Director of Orchestras at the Crane School of Music, SUNY-Potsdam, has worked on opera productions of Pelléas et Mélisande, Don Pasquale, L’elisir d’amore, Maria Stuarda, Alcina, Thaïs, and The Turn of the Screw. Her performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion were described in Isthmus as “consistently excellent.”  During her tenure, the Crane Symphony Orchestra has performed in Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Recent engagements include the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and its youth orchestra.  Dr. Lai studied conducting with Gunther Schuller and James Smith. Additional studies include Gstaad Menuhin Festival and Academy, Gustav Meier, and JoAnn Falletta.  She received her DMA degree from UW-Madison, where she received the Church Memorial Conducting Award, and earned her Master’s degree with Distinguish Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music.



Michelle Rofrano recently completed her master’s degree in conducting at the Peabody Conservatory, where she studied with Marin Alsop, Gustav Meier, and Markand Thakar. She will serve as assistant conductor for the upcoming Oberlin in Italy 2016 summer festival.  Ms. Rofrano recently led a production of Così fan tutte with D.C. Public opera, and she was the assistant conductor for Baltimore-based new music ensemble Symphony Number One during its 2015-16 Season. Previous engagements include serving as cover conductor for productions with Lyric Opera Baltimore and Opera Birmingham, performances with the Opera Project of New Jersey and Rutgers Symphony Orchestra, and masterclasses with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Rofrano holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Rutgers University.



Conductor Carolyn Watson is Director of Orchestral Studies at Texas State University. From 2013-2015 she held the position of Conductor of the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra.  A Fellow of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, Ms. Watson was a major prizewinner at the 2012 Emmerich Kálmán International Operetta Conducting Competition in Budapest.  She has participated in master classes with Peter Eötvös, Yoel Levi and Alex Polishchuk and conducted musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic in Interaktion.  Ms. Watson is the recipient of the Brian Stacey Award for Emerging Australian Conductors, the Charles Mackerras Conducting Prize and Opera Foundation Australia’s Bayreuth Opera Award. She holds a PhD in Performance (Conducting) from the University of Sydney where her doctoral thesis was Gesture as Communication: The Art of Carlos



A native of Dallas, Texas, Parisa Zaeri maintains an active career as a conductor, collaborative pianist, and vocal coach.  Her recent musical engagements include serving as Music Director for Boulder Opera’s upcoming production of Carmen (Fall 2016), as Cover Conductor for the American premiere of Philip Glass’s Witches of Venice at Opera Saratoga (Summer 2016), and as Assistant Conductor for the recent Southern Methodist University production of  Die Zauberflöte (Spring 2016).  Notable mentors include Paul Phillips and Grant Wenaus.  Ms. Zaeri graduated with her Master’s degree in Piano Performance -- Collaborative Piano from New York University in May 2015 and currently resides in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and two dogs.








Contact Suzanne Calvin, Director of Media and PR at

Or Celeste Hart, Communications Manager at


The Dallas Opera Family Performances are generously supported by

Texas Instruments and the Betty and Steve Suellentrop

Educational Outreach Fund.


TDO Family Performances are a part of the

Perot Foundation Education and Community Outreach Programs


Ticket Information for the 2016-2017 Dallas Opera Season

All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise indicated.  Single Tickets range from $19 to $275.  Full Subscriptions start at $95, Flex Subscriptions (three-performances of your choice) begin at $75.  Family performance tickets are just $5.  For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at



THE DALLAS OPERA 2016-2017 FALL SEASON INFORMATION The Dallas Opera celebrates its Sixtieth Year in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 p.m. unless otherwise stated.  English language translations will be projected above the stage at every performance and assistance is available for the hearing impaired.  The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talk will begin one hour prior to curtain at most performances, excluding FIRST NIGHT of the season.


EUGENE ONEGIN by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

October 28, 30(m), November 2, 5, 2016

A tumultuous and lush romantic opera!

Libretto by K.S. Shilovsky, after Pushkin

Time: Late Nineteenth Century

Place: Czarist Russia

Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume

Stage Director: Jean-Claude Auvray*

Costume Designer: Maria Chiara Donato

Lighting Designer: Laurent Castaingt

Choreographer: Cooky Chiapalone

Wig & Make-up Designer:

Chorus Master: Alexander Rom

Starring: Andrei Bondarenko (Eugene Onegin), Svetlana Aksenova* (Tatyana), Stephen Costello (Lensky), Kai Rüütel** (Olga), Mikhail Kazakov (Prince Gremin), Elizabeth Batton (Larina), Meredith Arwady (Filipievna), Greg Fedderly (Triquet), Musa Ngqungwana* (Zaretski)

A classic, period production originally created for the Israeli Opera Tel-Aviv-Jaffa!


MOBY-DICK by Jake Heggie

November 4, 6(m), 9, 12, 18, & 20(m), 2016

Back by Popular Demand!

Libretto by Gene Scheer

Time: Nineteenth Century

Place: Whaling Ship on the High Seas

Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume

Stage Director: Leonard Foglia

Set Designer: Robert Brill

Costume Designer: Jane Greenwood

Lighting Designer: Gavan Swift

Projections Designer: Elaine J. McCarthy

Wig and Make-up Designer:

Chorus Master: Alexander Rom

Starring: Jay Hunter Morris (Captain Ahab), Stephen Costello (Greenhorn), Morgan Smith (Starbuck), Musa Ngqungwana* (Queequeg), David Cangelosi (Flask), Jacqueline Echols* (Pip), Peter McGillivray* (Stubb)

Our internationally acclaimed production!


* Dallas Opera Debut

** American Debut


The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from:  Texas Instruments Foundation, TACA, City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; 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 the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for its continuing support.



KEITH CERNY Featured on KERA’s “CEO”

by Celeste Hart

Tune in to KERA-TV and KERA radio for a fascinating interview with our General Director and CEO Keith Cerny by host and veteran journalist Lee Cullum. “CEO” features the best corporate and non-profit leaders in North Texas and beyond. 

According to KERA’s website, the show explores what it takes to make a company successful in today’s global marketplace, covering topics like leadership style and ethics.

Please click here for the online video! ceo cerny 11X17

Mr. Cerny’s “CEO”
interview will air on KERA-TV:

Friday, June 3, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, June 13, 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 26, 11:30 a.m.

It will also air on KERA Radio 90.1 FM:

Sunday, June 5, 5:00 p.m.

Thanks to Lee Cullum and KERA for this fabulous segment!

What We Learned from the Women Conductors Institute

by Celeste Hart

In his latest Off the Cuff, Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny reflects on the success, and opportunities for further improvement, from the inaugural Institute for Women Conductors.

published Sunday, January 3, 2016


Dallas — Between Nov. 28 and Dec. 6, The Dallas Opera held the inaugural program of the Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors. Six conductors were selected from more than 100 applicants representing 27 countries, and four additional American observers were also selected. As it turned out, of these six, two were Americans, another two Australian, one British, and one Russian/German. More information on the program can be found here. As a measure of the program’s impact, a Google search in mid-December of the terms “Women Conductors” and then “News” from computers in both Dallas and New York showed this program realizing 9 of the 10 top search slots. (The other entry was an article about Marin Alsop’s subscription series debut with the Chicago Symphony).

Although I began the serious planning and initial fundraising two-and-a-half years ago to create this conducting program, the question of why women face barriers to professional success in some fields has been on my mind for more than 35 years. By way of background, my own career has been diverse, encompassing music performance, high technology, and business, and I have observed in many different settings the challenges that women face in establishing themselves in traditionally male-dominated fields.

I grew up in an academic family; and my mother and several of her friends were among the first women to be admitted to Ph.D. programs in physics and chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley; this experience gave me some important early exposure to the challenges facing women in academia at that time. When I attended Harvard Business School in 1989, and worked as a consultant for two top-tier firms in the U.S. and Europe in the 1990s, I observed a range of barriers for women achieving success in the business world—some overt, others more subtle. And, most recently, in my career as an opera General Director and CEO, I continue to see barriers for women as conductors and leaders in classical music, with the result that women are significantly under-represented in top management—including Music Director positions—as well as guest conductor opportunities at leading American opera companies. I consider the Institute for Women Conductors to be one of my most important personal initiatives at The Dallas Opera to date, and am extremely grateful for the support of Linda and Mitch Hart, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation, and Baker Botts LLP.

The inaugural conducting program at The Dallas Opera was very intensive, especially since in its first year it covered a vast range of material in just nine days. (In the future, when more funding will be available, the institute will last a full two weeks). The curriculum was focused around two primary areas. The first was hands-on conducting experience with The Dallas Opera Orchestra, and master classes with singers and piano presented by TDO’s Music Director Emmanuel Villaume and Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement. The second curriculum area, which I designed personally, was a series of seminars, panel discussions and role plays on important topics including personal branding and image management; conducting successful media interviews; succeeding in a male-dominated field; selecting repertoire for career impact; accepting and declining specific engagements; partnering with the concertmaster; and finding the right artist manager. The program culminated in a public concert on Dec. 5, 2015, with each of the six conductors conducting an overture and two arias or small ensembles with orchestra. The concert received excellent reviews, and the very high standard of the singers in the performance was noted by multiple reviewers.

Over the holiday period, I indulged in a little self-reflection about the curriculum for the seminars, panel discussion and role-plays we had developed. I wondered, with more than 35 years of thinking about the question of barriers to women in professional fields, how well did I anticipate the needs of the participants, and how could the program be improved in future years? I have organized my self-reflections into three areas: pleasant surprises, future opportunities, and—if I may be permitted—one general observation on how gender differences may possibly influence international conducting careers.


Photo: Karen Almond/The Dallas Opera -- The conductors take a bow at the Dallas Opera’s Institute for Women Conductors final concert at the Winspear Opera House



Pleasant surprises

At the start of the conducting program, we organized a welcome get-together for the participants and observers at the elegant home at one of the lead sponsors. Many of the conductors and observers had only flown in that day, and some were quite jet-lagged. Of the nine participants, I had only met one before. One of the things that most impressed me in this event was how secure and confident the 10 conductors and observers were, as they interacted with donors they had never met in a city that many of them had never been to before. This outcome was extremely reassuring to me, as the contemporary conducting field requires any conductor—male or female—to be willing and supremely able to build relationships with their supporters and patrons.

Another pleasant surprise was how well the participants and observers collaborated from the very start, and formed their own network. Yes, this criterion had been an important part of the selection process, but personality and teamwork can be hard to judge from applications and references alone. Music Director Emmanuel Villaume, Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement and I had worked to select conductors and observers who were outstanding musicians, and who also appeared to have a strong interest in being mutually supportive, as we wanted to create a long-term network among the group. I was delighted to see that we were able to get this right.

Photo: Karen Almond/The Dallas Opera -- Conductor Stephanie Rhodes



Future Opportunities

In evaluating the group, I saw three areas where the workshop and seminar program can be of greatest value to women conductors (in addition to, of course, the master classes and work with the Dallas Opera Orchestra). None of these areas are especially gender specific, in my mind. The first area is helping the conductors to better articulate their personal brand – i.e. the three-to-five areas that they believe make them memorable and distinctive relative to other conductors. These might include having made a major debut with a particular opera company, having conducted an important new opera, having won a major international conducting position, or having been the protégé of a famous conductor. The inter-personal confidence, noted above, allowed them to express themselves very well in mock interviews with TDO’s Director of Media and PR, Suzanne Calvin, and, later, in actual media interviews (see, for example, this piece on TheaterJones), they all made considerable progress over the week in being able to articulate their brands to themselves, one another, the program faculty, and ultimately, the media.

Secondly, the conductors clearly need a greater understanding of the music business—both at the internal operating level (e.g. marketing, fundraising, finance), and the overall field (e.g. executive recruiters and hiring processes, the role of artist managers, how guest conductors get hired). This area will be the focus of the summer reunions that will be held each year, with participants and observers being invited to attend each summer for five years following their initial residency.

One final area that came to light is the urgent need for the conductors to have video of themselves conducting. In the online applications for the program through, we had encouraged applicants to include video of themselves conducting. Relatively few of them did, since getting video of conducting typically requires payments to artists and unions that budget-strapped opera houses and symphonies (is there any other kind?) are not always able to pay. These videos are vital, however, in eliciting the interest of artist managers, making it possible to apply for conducting programs, and securing guest conducting appointments. The Dallas Opera will be providing personalized video of the performances to the six conductors in the first part of 2016.


One Possible “Confidence Gap”

While the strategy of TDO’s program is to create opportunities and support for exceptionally talented women conductors, rather than to focus on barriers to success, I had one general observation that I think will help the program, and ultimately the field. One of the lead faculty members was my friend and colleague Carol Lazier, President of the San Diego Opera Board, who shared an important article with me on women and careers; whether one agrees with every point made in the article or not, the piece is certainly worthy of discussion and self-reflection. The article, entitled “The Confidence Gap”, was written by Claire Shipman (a reporter for ABC News), and Katty Kay (anchor of BBC World News America) in the May, 2014 edition of the Atlantic Magazine. The subtitle of the article was “Evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence. Here’s why, and what to do about it.”

Photo: Karen Almond/The Dallas Opera -- Conductor Natalie Murray Beale

While generalizing about gender differences in conducting is dangerous, especially since we had women representing such diverse countries, ethnic backgrounds, and local musical cultures participating in the conducting institute, Shipman and Kay’s article rang true with my experience leading the program. To quote the authors:

“Even as our understanding of confidence expanded, however, we found that our original suspicion was dead-on: there is a particular crisis for women—a vast confidence gap that separates the sexes. Compared with men, women don’t consider themselves as ready for promotions, they predict they’ll do worse on tests, and they generally underestimate their abilities. This disparity stems from factors ranging from upbringing to biology.

A growing body of evidence shows just how devastating this lack of confidence can be. Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence. No wonder that women, despite all our progress, are still woefully underrepresented at the highest levels. All of that is the bad news. The good news is that with work, confidence can be acquired. Which means that the confidence gap, in turn, can be closed.”

What was refreshing and reassuring about the Conducting Institute was the extent to which the conductors were able to project a high level of—situationally appropriate—confidence in many donor-focused social settings and media interviews; this is vital in a world where Music Directors and guest conductors are expected to interact intensively and effectively with their audiences and supporters. The conductors and observers were also very comfortable in sharing highly personal perspectives in a group setting as we worked through questions of personal branding, the role of artist management, and career aspirations. There was, however, one specific area that resonated, for me at least, with the comments of Shipman and Kay. As I commented during the program, almost all of the conductors apologized too much to the orchestra, and this is an area where they may unknowingly give other conductors the edge. (I shared this perspective with them during the working sessions, and I think they all quickly assimilated the point).

Just to be clear, I believe that conductors should apologize to the orchestra if they make a technical mistake. My favorite example is the ferociously difficult finale of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, where it is very easy to get a beat pattern wrong as the meters change rapidly. However, in this case, a quick – “sorry, my mistake” suffices – although it is critically important to get this right the second time, or the orchestra will lose confidence in you. With the institute conductors, who were all accomplished musicians, but who varied considerably in podium experience and sophistication of stick technique, they tended to apologize when making a musical request. This sends the wrong message, completely. If a conductor wants the oboes and flutes to emphasize the phrasing, the first trumpet to play more quietly, or the strings to play with a different bowing, there is no need – indeed, it is unproductive – to be apologetic. (Rudeness won’t get them anywhere either, of course). This is a relatively minor point, and can be corrected, but is also important as these conductors work to secure future engagements in an extremely competitive field.

In closing, I was delighted with the success of The Dallas Opera’s inaugural conducting program, and am already looking forward to next year—which will feature considerably more orchestra time, stretched over a full two weeks. My team and I are also working on the follow-up networking opportunities for the group, and preparing for the summer reunion in the summer of 2016, which will feature more master classes and discussions of the music business, based on what we’ve learned from the process and the participants themselves.

Thanks to the generosity of Linda and Mitch Hart, The Dallas Opera has made a 20-year commitment to this program, so we will have ample time in the coming years to fine-tune the curriculum, choice of repertoire, faculty backgrounds, and format of the final public concerts. All in all, I feel very encouraged by how well-equipped these relatively young conductors are, to tackle the challenges of an international conducting career. I look forward to following their progress with great interest and, admittedly, a measure of personal satisfaction that stems from the role of The Dallas Opera in preparing these outstanding young professionals for the next set of challenges awaiting them.

It has been a rare pleasure and privilege.


New Major Gifts Announcement!

by Celeste Hart


Mrs. Eugene McDermott

And  The Eugene McDermott Foundation

Honoring Kern Wildenthal


The Position of General Director and CEO Has Been Named, in Perpetuity, for

Two-Time TDO Board Chair

            DALLAS, DECEMBER 18, 2015 – The Dallas Opera is the proud recipient of two extraordinary new gifts, totaling $2 million, from The Eugene McDermott Foundation and Mrs. Eugene (Margaret) McDermott, who have requested that the position of Dallas Opera General Director and CEO be known henceforth as the “Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO” in honor of the longtime Dallas Opera Board Member and Past Chairman.  Dr. Wildenthal currently serves the company as an Officer-at-large on TDO’s Executive Committee.

           Recognized throughout the medical and business communities for his accomplishments as president of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Southwestern Medical Foundation, as well as in his current position as president of Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Dr. Wildenthal applies the same combination of vision, skill, philanthropy and advocacy to advance the standing of The Dallas Opera, both locally and internationally.

Dr. Kern and Marnie Wildenthal at the 2013 Juanita and Henry S. Miller Founders Award Luncheon -- PHOTO BY Dana Driensky

            In addition to his 27 years on The Dallas Opera Board of Directors, Dr. Wildenthal has been extremely generous with both his time and expertise, sitting on multiple senior committees including Strategic Planning, Nominating, Finance, Audit, and the Executive Committee.  He has also served on The Dallas Opera Board of Trustees.  

            Kern Wildenthal was a founding board member of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts (now known as the AT&T Performing Arts Center) and worked tirelessly toward the successful completion of the final phase of the city’s central Arts District, with the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House as its acoustically acclaimed “crown jewel.”

            In 2008, Dr. Wildenthal accepted the position of Chairman of The Dallas Opera Board of Directors, leading the company for two consecutive terms through the most dramatically transformative period in the company’s history. During his 2008-2012 tenure as Chairman, Kern Wildenthal:

  • Guided the company’s October 2009 move into the Winspear Opera House after more than 50 years of performances in the Music Hall at Fair Park
  • Served as the principal negotiator of a $10 million matching challenge to build the company’s endowment, personally securing 6-and 7-figure gifts and devoting countless hours to the task of completing the match, which quintupled the endowment from $5 million to $25 million
  • Acted as a strong advocate for The Dallas Opera in the community, recruiting numerous patrons, supporters and board members from among business leaders and Dallas’ philanthropic community
  • Played a leading role in the recruitment of Keith Cerny as TDO’s General Director and CEO

            Upon Mr. Cerny’s arrival in 2010, Dr. Wildenthal was asked to take an unusual step: “Kern agreed to serve a second consecutive term as Chairman of the Board, in order to provide stability and continuity to the company, and to support my transition into my new role,” explains Keith Cerny, who will be the first “Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO.”

            “I shall always be grateful to Kern for putting the company’s needs first during that critical time,” Mr. Cerny adds, “and for his role in securing major gifts for general operations to deal with a significant deficit in our second year in our new home.

            “Together with the Board, we restructured The Dallas Opera season schedule and successfully addressed significant cost increases, while simultaneously developing strategies to attract new and more diverse audiences.  Ultimately, this led to a dramatic expansion of our education programs—reaching tens of thousands of students each year—and an ongoing program of free simulcasts which, so far, have entertained more than 60,000 people.”

            Dr. Wildenthal and his wife, Marnie, are members of the General Director’s Circle and are recognized on the West Lobby Wall in the Winspear Opera House as donors of 21st Century Major Endowments and Special Gifts.  They share a genuine passion for opera and are known throughout Texas as two of our most committed and enthusiastic champions.

            A multi-year pledge made by the couple in 2011 established the “Marnie and Kern Wildenthal Principal Artist,” a fund to support an artist’s participation in one main stage production each season.  The 2015 recipient was internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, who led a glittering, all-star cast in The Dallas Opera’s eagerly anticipated October world premiere of Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Great Scott.

            “The Eugene McDermott Foundation is delighted to be able to show its passion for the Greater Dallas community, as well as for the arts, through this gift made in honor of Kern Wildenthal,” says Mary McDermott Cook, President of the McDermott Foundation.  “Kern has earned the admiration—not only of our foundation and our family—but of the arts, medical and academic communities in Dallas and throughout the country.  His insightful leadership, integrity, and decades of exemplary service to a variety of causes have contributed greatly to our community.

            “I think,” she adds, “this is the perfect way to acknowledge Dr. Wildenthal’s continuing influence on the life of this city while providing an even brighter future for opera and the arts in Dallas.”

            Margaret McDermott and the Eugene McDermott Foundation have been steadfast and generous of supporters of The Dallas Opera.  Since 2003, they have made gifts totaling more than $7.6 million to special campaigns that helped the opera build their administrative offices in the Winspear Opera House, complete a $10 million challenge grant to build the company’s endowment, underwrite the world premiere of Great Scott, and to name the position of the General Director and CEO for Dr. Wildenthal.

            “It has been a great privilege to be associated with The Dallas Opera as it has emerged as one of America’s leading companies,” Dr. Wildenthal responds.  “The major gifts from Margaret McDermott and the Eugene McDermott Foundation are of enormous importance to the expanding mission of The Dallas Opera, and I feel incredibly honored that Margaret and Mary wished to recognize me by having my name associated with their exceptional donations.”

            The new name of the position of general director and CEO for the company will be applied in perpetuity.




For high-resolution digital photographs suitable for print

To arrange an interview or obtain additional information

Please contact Suzanne Calvin, Director of Media and Public Relations

214.443.1014 or



Ticket Information for the 2015-2016 Dallas Opera Season

All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise described.  Single Tickets range from $19 to $275.  Full and Flex Subscriptions are on sale now starting at $75.  Family performance tickets are just $5.  For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at


The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-Ninth International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 p.m. unless otherwise stated.  English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance and assistance is available for the hearing impaired.  The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talk will begin one hour prior to curtain, at most performances excluding FIRST NIGHT of the season.


MANON by Jules Massenet
March 4, 6(m), 9, 12, 2016
A Timeless Tale of Young Love Set in France
Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Philippe Gille
Late 19th Century
Graeme Jenkins
Stage Director:
E. Loren Meeker*
Set and Costume Designer:
Tanya McCallin
Original Choreographer: Paule Constable
Revival Choreographer: Colm Seery*
Lighting Designer:
Kevin Sleep
Wig & Make-up Designer:
David Zimmerman
Chorus Master:
Alexander Rom
Ailyn Pérez (Manon), Stephen Costello (Chevalier des Grieux), Edwin Crossley-Mercer* (Lescaut), David Pittsinger* (Count des Grieux), Greg Fedderly* (Guillot de Morfontaine), Troy Cook* de Brétigny), Katherine Whyte* (Pousette), Kathryn Leemhuis* (Javotte), Audrey Babcock (Rosette), Theodor Carlson (Innkeeper)
The Return of Graeme Jenkins to the Podium!


SHOW BOAT by Jerome Kern
April 15, 17(m), 20, 23, 29, May 1(m), 2016
A Great American Musical
Music by Jerome Kern -- Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Time: 1887-1927
Mississippi and Chicago
Emmanuel Villaume
Stage Director:
E. Loren Meeker
Set Designer:
Peter J. Davison
Costume Designer: Paul Tazewell*
Lighting Designer:
Erik Watkins
Sound Designer: Tom Clark
Choreographer: Michele Lynch*
Wig & Make-up Designer:
David Zimmerman
Chorus Master:
Alexander Rom
Andriana Chuchman* (Magnolia), Michael Todd Simpson (Gaylord Ravenal), Lara Teeter* (Cap’n Andy Hawks), Alyson Cambridge* (Julie), Angela Renée Simpson (Queenie), Mary-Pat Green* (Parthy Ann Hawkes), Kirsten Wyatt* (Ellie Mae Chipley), Morris Robinson (Joe), John Bolton* (Frank), Keith Chambers (Jake)
Performed with the Power of the Operatic Voice and Full Orchestra!

* Dallas Opera Debut

** American Debut


The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from:  Texas Instruments Foundation, TACA, City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; 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 the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for its continuing support.



IWC Receives Mellon Foundation Grant

by Celeste Hart


A $500,000 Grant from

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation


In Support of a New Initiative:

“The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for

Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera”

Inaugural Session, Nov. 28-Dec. 6, 2015

            DALLAS, NOVEMBER 18, 2015 – The Dallas Opera has been awarded a $500,000 grant over a three-year period from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of the company’s new initiative, “The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera.” This innovative program is designed to support the career aspirations and advancement of women conductors in the field of opera, while addressing the thorny problems resulting from ingrained gender inequality at the top of the profession. 

            The inaugural institute is scheduled to take place in Dallas from November 28th through December 6, 2015 with participants (six institute fellows, four additional American observers) selected from more than a hundred qualified applicants originating in 27 countries around the globe.  There is no comparable program today for addressing the needs of talented young female conductors seeking to make their mark on the world’s top opera organizations.

            Although “Level One” opera companies in North America (as defined by OPERA America) produce approximately a hundred different opera productions each year, women conductors will stand at the podium for only around 5% of the total number of productions during the 2015-2016 Season. 

            The situation is equally dire in the symphonic world: of the top symphony orchestras in the U.S., only one is led by a female music director (the Baltimore Symphony’s Marin Alsop).

            Recent trends indicate the gender gap may, in fact, be widening.  Data from the National Center for Education Statistics show that over the past decade, 44% of Masters Degrees and 30% of all doctorates in conducting went to women.  Nevertheless, a mere dozen female conductors are positioned to lead the top 103 high-budget orchestras on this continent (League of American Orchestras report, 2013).  “To some extent,” opined The Independent (U.K.) in 2010, “the scarcity of female conductors is a vicious circle.  With so few women…in high-profile posts, the role models have not existed to inspire more, so the situation becomes self-perpetuating.”

            “The Institute for Women Conductors” was created under the auspices of Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny to identify and support emerging major women conductors and provide an intensive residential program that combines master classes, coaching, and distinguished guest lecturers with hands-on podium time in front of a full-sized orchestra. 

            The Institute, launched with catalyst funding from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation, will culminate on Saturday, December 5th, in a public concert “showcase” expected to attract high-ranking industry influencers and decision makers to the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House to experience these artists at work. 

            Additionally, Mr. Cerny is keen to develop a national “center for excellence” for women conductors, hosted by The Dallas Opera, as well as an ongoing support network consisting of peer-to-peer discussions, experienced mentoring, regular career consultations on specific media and management issues, and steps to encourage other music organizations to develop solutions that address the ongoing gender imbalance.

            “The under-representation of women at the top of our profession is a complex problem that will require more than a single solution,” explains Mr. Cerny.  

            “Even where overt discrimination isn’t a factor, women conductors in the field often aren’t as visible as their male counterparts.  In this business, ‘out of sight’ is ‘out of mind’ to a very real extent,” Cerny adds, “and talented women conductors are too-often passed over for important positions and opportunities because they haven’t caught the attention of artist management agencies, board search committees and the people most involved in an opera company’s day-to-day hiring decisions. 

            “By raising their profiles and increasing the visibility of outstanding women conductors through programs like the IWC, we have a chance to influence the future of this art form—and an opportunity to bring even more talented leaders to the conducting field.”

            The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, combined with additional major gifts, underscores the importance of programs designed to uncover solutions to longstanding inequities in the arts, such as the gender imbalance at the podium addressed by the “Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera.”


JENNIFER CONDON (Australia/Germany)

Jennifer Condon has been passionate about opera from an absurdly young age -- since her teens she has been fortunate to have fellow Australian, Simone Young, as mentor.  Jennifer studied piano in Sydney, and conducting in Melbourne and Vienna before commencing work as a souffleuse at the Hamburg State Opera in 2008.  She now has a repertoire of over 55 operas.  During her time in Hamburg, Jennifer also brought Peggy Glanville-Hicks’ opera Sappho (1963) from the composer’s hand-written manuscript to the recording studio.  The CD, with an eminent cast including Deborah Polaski, Sir John Tomlinson and Wolfgang Koch with the Gulbenkian Orchestra, has been released to considerable critical acclaim.  Jennifer lives in Berlin and works as a free-lance vocal coach and prompt as she pursues a conducting career.  Assistant conducting engagements to date include Lohengrin in Zurich and Salome in Vienna.  Future engagements include Reimann’s Lear in Budapest and Ariadne auf Naxos in Tokyo.


Conductor Jessica Gethin, winner of the prestigious Brian Stacey Australian Emerging Conductor Award, has won praise from audiences and critics alike for her dynamic energy, outstanding musicianship and abounding presence on the podium.  A graduate of the exclusive Symphony Australia Conductor Development Program, Ms. Gethin commenced her official appointment as Chief Conductor of the Perth Symphony Orchestra (Perth, Australia) in 2011.  Jessica Gethin has performed on stages throughout Europe, USA, UK, Canada, Asia and Australia as conductor, concert presenter, program writer, orchestrator, guest lecturer, music educator and adjudicator.  With a diverse background working across a variety of genres ranging from classical, jazz, opera and ballet to musical theatre, contemporary and film score; Jessica has recorded for numerous CDs, television documentaries, live radio broadcasts and television commercials.  She was recently named one of the “100 Most Influential Women in Australia” for 2015 by the Australian Financial Review.  Artist collaborations include conducting Welsh bass baritone Bryn Terfel, Divinyl’s Chrissy Amphlette, The Ten Tenors, soprano Rachelle Durkin, Australian screen star Lisa McCune, soprano Marina Prior, tenor David Hobson, jazz trumpeter James Morrison and Dutch violinist Rudolf Koelman, to name a few.  Ms. Gethin currently resides in Western Australia with her husband and two children.


Conductor Natalie Murray Beale is a BBC Performing Arts Fund Fellow and is being mentored by Esa-Pekka Salonen. She has performed with the Welsh National Opera, Opera Holland Park, Spitalfields Festival, Chamber Orchestra of London and the City of London Sinfonia.  Ms. Murray Beale has also gained valuable experience as Assistant Conductor for the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Festival d’Aix, Wiener Festwochen and Den Nye Opera with the Philharmonia, Bergen Philharmonic, B’Rock Orchestra, Le Cercle de l’Harmonie and the Freiburger Barockorchester.  Previous positions include serving on the music staff of Welsh National Opera; as coach at the Royal Opera House, Young Artist Programme; and as Guest Chorus Director of London Symphony Chorus. 

Ms. Murray Beale enjoys collaborating with composers and recently conducted the soundtracks to the video game Alien:Isolation (BAFTA nominated) and the British film Robot Overlords. Her performances of the new opera, We are Shadows, received a Royal Philharmonic Society award.  This year she will make her debuts with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.


Stephanie Rhodes is a renowned opera collaborator, having served on the music staff of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, The Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera, LA Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera and Wolf Trap Opera, amongst others. She has garnered experience as a conductor, assistant conductor, prompter, chorus master, rehearsal pianist, orchestral keyboardist and diction coach.  This summer she joins the Miami Summer Music Festival as the Studio Program Director and conductor of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, additionally participating as a fellow in the festival’s Orchestral Conducting Institute. As a Fulbright award recipient, Ms. Rhodes spent the 2012/13 season in Moscow specializing in Russian repertoire and pronunciation for non-native singers. She was recently commissioned by The Dallas Opera to transliterate Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and is currently working on a book to standardize Russian diction for singers. An alum of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and San Francisco’s Merola Opera program, she holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Utah State University in Collaborative Piano and Piano Performance.

ANNA SKRYLEVA (Russia/Germany)

Russian conductor Anna Skryleva has lived and worked in Germany for the past 15 years.  Currently, Ms. Skryleva is engaged as principal resident conductor at The State Theatre, Darmstadt, in addition to performing as a concert pianist and a chamber musician in Russia, other European nations and Mexico.  Anna Skryleva’s career as a conductor began in 2002 in Karlsruhe, where she was engaged at the Music College as music assistant of the conductor Prof. Alicja Mounk.  From 2007 to 2012, Anna Skryleva was engaged at the State Opera Hamburg as musical assistant of Simone Young, where she acquired a wide repertoire, from German Romanticism to Italian bel canto to modern music of the 20th century.  After successfully conducting Richard Strauss’ Salome at the State Theatre Darmstadt in 2013, Anna Skryleva was named Darmstadt’s Principal Resident Conductor.  Since then, she has conducted new productions and revivals of works including Otello, Tristan und Isolde, Il trittico, Madame Butterfly, La traviata and many more.  The German publication Main-Echo named Anna Skryleva “Person of the Year 2013.”  Earlier this year, she was nominated for the “Emotion Award 2015” in the Category “Women in Leadership”; winners will be announced later this month.


Lidiya Yankovskaya’s recent work as a symphonic and opera conductor has been hailed as “superb,” “expert,” and “coax[ing] every possible expressive note from the instrumentalists.”  Currently, Ms. Yankovskaya serves as Music Director of Harvard University’s Lowell House Opera, Artistic Director of Juventas New Music Ensemble, and Music Director with Commonwealth Lyric Theater.  She also works regularly with Gotham Chamber Opera, Center for Contemporary Opera, and New York Lyric Opera.  Last summer, Ms. Yankovskaya served as a conducting fellow under renowned conductor Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival, where she had the privilege of assisting Maestro Maazel and filled in for him regularly in rehearsal and performance.  Recent productions have received multiple awards ranging from The American Prize to the National Opera Association Award.  In addition to her work as a conductor, Lidiya is a pianist and coach, recently serving as Music Director for Opera Boston’s education tours.  Presently, she is working as a Russian Diction Coach and occasional rehearsal conductor for Tanglewood Festival Chorus (the chorus of the Boston Symphony).



Known for her work promoting charitable organizations, conductor Arianne Abela has appeared on NBC’s Today Show and America’s Got Talent as artistic director of “3 Penny,” a non-profit chorus and orchestra, and co-founder of “House of Clouds.”  Arianne served as music director of Saybrook College Orchestra and has conducted the Yale Symphony Orchestra, Wesleyan University Orchestra and the Vidin State Philharmonic Orchestra in Bulgaria.  As a chorusmaster, Abela has prepared choirs for Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, Rafael Payare, and Martin Katz, as well as for the University of Michigan Opera in productions of Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.  As a soloist and professional ensemble singer, Abela has performed with major ensembles across North America, Europe and Asia.  Abela is currently a doctoral candidate in conducting at the University of Michigan under the tutelage of Jerry Blackstone. She holds a master’s degree in conducting from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree from Smith College.


Luçik Aprahämian’s versatility as a conductor makes her equally at home in front of an orchestra, leading a vocal ensemble, or guiding outstanding performances on the opera stage.  With her profound passion for opera, Dr. Aprahämian has served as co-artistic director of Southern Arizona Opera, worked with Opera Parallèle and Bayshore Lyric Opera (both located in the Bay area), and served as assistant conductor and director of the Opera Theatre Program at the University of California at Santa Cruz.  She is an avid exponent of new music and has commissioned and premiered works for choir, orchestra, and opera with ensembles in the Bay Area and Arizona.  Recent premieres include Andrew Pascoe’s opera, God: The Opera and David Evan Jones’s chamber opera, The Rehearsal.   Dr. Aprahämian received her bachelor’s degree in fortepiano performance practice, as well as a master’s degree in conducting, from the University of California at Santa Cruz.  She pursued additional graduate studies to earn her doctorate in conducting from the University of Arizona. 


Music Director of the Boston Chamber Symphony, Avlana Eisenberg has conducted orchestras throughout the United States and in France, Germany, Austria, Scotland, Spain, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Her debut CD, with soloist Zina Schiff and the Budapest Symphony Orchestra MAV, features violin concertos by Sibelius and Barber and the world premiere orchestral recording of Ben-Haim’s Three Songs without Words.  Eisenberg received a Fulbright Fellowship for conducting study in Paris and apprenticeship at the Paris National Opera and was one of Glamour magazine’s “Top Ten College Women of the Year.”  As an undergraduate at Yale University, she founded and directed the Silliman Symphony and was honored with Yale’s “V. Browne Irish Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts.”  An alumna of Interlochen Arts Camp and the Aspen Music Festival, Eisenberg holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan and a Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Institute.


Ms. Co Boi Nguyen has been on the faculty of the University of Redlands, School of Music since 2006, serving as music director of the University of Redlands Orchestra and Opera.  From 2005 to 2007, Ms. Nguyen was conductor and faculty member of the C.W. Post Chamber Music Festival at Long Island University, New York.  At the same time, she also worked as assistant conductor to Oscar-winning composer Tan Dun in New York.  As an alumna of the Vietnam National Academy of Music, Ms. Nguyen returns to Hanoi regularly to perform and to give master classes.  She made her highly acclaimed debut with the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra at the Hanoi Opera House in July 2002, making her the first woman ever to lead the ensemble.  Ms. Nguyen is a graduate of the conducting programs at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and the Juilliard School in New York.





Keith Cerny and Emmanuel Villaume Extend TDO Contracts to June 2022!

by Celeste Hart




DALLAS, NOVEMBER 19, 2015 – The Dallas Opera is pleased and proud to announce contract extensions for its two most senior leaders: General Director & CEO Keith Cerny, and Music Director Emmanuel Villaume.  Both contracts have been extended to June 30, 2022.

General Director & CEO Cerny, who joined The Dallas Opera in 2010, will continue to lead the artistic, fund-raising, and operational activities of the company.  Working with the Board of Directors, Mr. Cerny will maintain his responsibilities for programming and casting, in addition to the selection of productions, directors, designers, guest artists and conductors. 

Music Director Villaume, now beginning his third season with the company, will conduct three productions each year.  Maestro Villaume will also continue to work closely with the general director on season planning, as well as their ongoing efforts to bring the world’s finest performing artists to North Texas. 

In making today’s announcement, Board Chair Steve Suellentrop noted the following: “Over the past five years, Keith Cerny has demonstrated exemplary leadership.  His artistic accomplishments include the commissioning of three world premieres in 2015, the launch of the Robert E. and Jean Ann Titus Art Song Recital Series to fill a vital musical niche in the North Texas performing arts scene, the expansion of The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition to the rank of a major national program, and the creation of the Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors

“He brought a number of neglected operatic “gems” to North Texas for the first time, including Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers, Korngold’s Die tote Stadt, Peter Maxwell-Davies’s The Lighthouse and Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta

“Keith has also reimagined the company’s relationship with the community, in all its diversity, by creating a free public simulcast program that has reached over 60,000 patrons in the U.S. and abroad. 

“With an eye on the next generation of opera audiences, he led the development of an ambitious education program that presents nearly 100 performances and concerts each year to schools, community centers, and in other non-traditional locations. 

“Working closely with the Board, Keith has also played a major role in achieving three consecutive balanced budgets – the first time in fifteen years that The Dallas Opera has achieved this result.”

Mr. Suellentrop went on to say, “Music Director Emmanuel Villaume has accomplished a great deal in his first two years with the company.  In addition to conducting several outstanding productions, he has made Dallas his musical home; using his considerable intelligence and charm to forge extremely positive relationships with the community, our Board, and our supporters.  We are incredibly fortunate to have Maestro Villaume as our Music Director, considering the constant demand for his services from the world’s leading opera companies and symphonies.”

Keith Cerny commented on the announcement: “Leading the Dallas Opera over the last five years has unquestionably been the highlight of my professional career, and I am greatly looking forward to leading the company in exciting directions in the future. 

“As an opera company, we are extraordinarily blessed to have the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House as our musical home; a magnificent, acoustically acclaimed performance space in the AT&T Performing Arts Center that provides us with an opportunity to build on The Dallas Opera’s long and distinguished musical history—and take it to new heights. 

“I am equally ecstatic that Maestro Villaume has been willing to make The Dallas Opera a central part of his musical life for the next seven years.  With the Board’s strong support, I appointed him as Music Director in 2013, and have been delighted with his work for the company, both on and off the podium.  He is a remarkable musician and colleague, and he and I have many ambitious plans for the future of the company.”

Music Director Emmanuel Villaume also responded to the news: “I am absolutely delighted to have extended my commitment to The Dallas Opera.  Since the day I began as Music Director, I have been warmly welcomed into this community by everyone I have met.  This city has created a remarkable Arts District; we are especially fortunate that Margot and Bill Winspear gave so generously for the design and construction of one of the world’s finest opera houses. 

“I look forward to working with the excellent Dallas Opera Orchestra and the Dallas Opera Chorus throughout the coming years, while collaborating closely with Keith to continue to bring significant artistic projects, thrilling performances, and the world’s leading artists to audiences here in North Texas.”

“The promise of a new era in opera,” Mr. Cerny added, “that began with the company’s successful move in 2009 from Fair Park to the purpose-built Winspear Opera House and the creation of the Cultural Renaissance Endowment Fund, is in the process of being fulfilled today. 

“When I think back on what we, as a company, have accomplished during the fast-paced years since, it makes me look forward—with greater anticipation than ever—to the innovative and exhilarating seasons to come.”


Keith Cerny, General Director and CEO

Keith Cerny’s career spans music, technology and business. He began studying piano at the age of 10, and performed extensively in his teens as a solo pianist and accompanist. He subsequently studied Music and Physics at the University of California at Berkeley. After graduating with highest honors in both degrees, he won a Fulbright Scholarship to London. There he studied at the English National Opera and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and performed and coached regularly for four years. Following his return from London, he worked for two years for the accounting firm Touche Ross & Co. in San Francisco before attending Harvard Business School. While living in Boston, Keith also accompanied voice students in the studio in the Chair of the Voice department at New England Conservatory. After graduating with honors from HBS, Keith spent nearly 15 years in management consulting, working first for McKinsey & Co. in London and Atlanta, and then as a telecom and high tech Partner with Accenture in San Francisco. During this period, Keith also completed a Ph.D. in Econometrics and Economic Development Policy from the Open University in the U.K. As a consultant, he worked on numerous pro bono projects for opera companies in parallel with his paid consulting work, including the San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera and Spoleto Festival USA. He was hired by the Board of the San Francisco Opera in 2004 as the Executive Director (COO) and CFO. During his tenure at SF Opera, the company achieved three years of balanced operating results, following an institution-threatening downturn prior to his arrival. He then worked for Russell Reynolds in San Francisco, recruiting CEOs and senior executives for non-profits, before taking over as CEO of – the largest online retailer of sheet music.

Keith joined The Dallas Opera in 2010 as General Director & CEO. There, he has worked with the Dallas Opera’s Board of Directors and opera staff to stabilize the company’s finances and grow the endowment, leading to the first three consecutive balanced operating results in 15 years; recruited an accomplished new Music Director with an international reputation, Emmanuel Villaume, and a Principal Guest Conductor, Nicole Paiement; commissioned three world premieres by Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer, Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally, and Mark Adamo; launched the company’s free public simulcast series including an international simulcast of Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers to 9 locations in the U.S., U.K. and Continental Europe; and forged new artistic collaborations with the Dallas Theater Center, the Dallas Children’s Theater, University of North Texas, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and Dallas Museum of Art. In 2011, he was elected to the Board of Directors of Opera America, where he also serves as Chair of the Strategy Committee.  In 2015 he was elected to the Board of Tessitura.

Emmanuel Villaume, Music Director

Now in his third season as Music Director of The Dallas Opera where he recently conducted Tosca, Iolanta and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. He made his debut with the company in 1998 conducting Faust and returned to conduct The Marriage of Figaro in 2002. He is a frequent guest conductor at the world’s leading opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, the Washington National Opera, Santa Fe Opera, London’s Royal Opera, the Paris Opera, Monte Carlo Opera, Venice’s La Fenice, the Munich Staatsoper, Berlin’s Deutsche Oper, the Hamburg Staatsoper, Madrid’s Teatro Real, and Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colón. He has led the Montreal Symphony in Montreal and at Carnegie Hall, the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the orchestras of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, St. Louis, Detroit, Minnesota, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Beethovenhalle Orchestra of Bonn, and the China National Opera Orchestra for the 2008 Olympic Games. He is currently Chief Conductor of the National Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra. He served as the Spoleto Festival USA’s Music Director for Opera and Orchestra from 2001 to 2010. Maestro Villaume has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon (including Iolanta featuring Anna Netrebko), Decca and EMI. He recently assumed a new post as Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Prague Philharmonia, in addition to his work in Dallas.





For high-resolution digital photographs suitable for print

To arrange an interview or obtain additional information

Please contact Suzanne Calvin, Director of Media and Public Relations

214.443.1014 or



Ticket Information for the 2015-2016 Dallas Opera Season

All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise described.  Single Tickets range from $19 to $275.  Flex Subscriptions are on sale now starting at $75.  Family performance tickets are just $5.  For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at


by Celeste Hart

For the First Time in Fifteen Years

TDO Records Three Balanced Budgets in a Row

Company Well-Positioned to Run the Demanding Gauntlet of Two World Premieres, Major Community Outreach Initiatives And an Innovative New Institute for Women Conductors this Fall

            DALLAS, TX, SEPTEMBER 11, 2015 – Building on two previous seasons that ended “in the black,” The Dallas Opera is very proud to announce that it has maintained a balanced operating result for a third consecutive fiscal year, as of June 30, 2015. 

            The company ended the year on firm financial footing, even as TDO continued to raise the artistic bar with such celebrated productions as Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer’s critically acclaimed 2015 world premiere, Everest, and a stunning new production of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta.  

EVEREST Photo by Karen Almond (300x200)

            This marks the first time in fifteen years that TDO has been able to report three back-to-back balanced operating results, an outcome that positions the company for an especially inspiring 2015 Fall Season that includes two eagerly anticipated world premieres, the FIRST SIGHT/FIRST NIGHT celebrations, community engagement events, and the opera world’s first Institute for Women Conductors (Nov. 28 – Dec. 6, 2015) which drew more than a hundred applicants from around the world.

            In the season just ended, The Dallas Opera continued to put our peers on notice with a thorough re-structuring and expansion of The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition.  “The results surely exceeded expectations for this newly re-envisioned competition,” wrote Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of Theater Jones.  “It won’t take long for the Dallas Opera’s vocal competition to situate itself at the top of the list of such events and become an important gold star on any young artist’s résumé.”

            Among other highlights was TDO’s release of its first Blu-Ray, Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers, recorded live on the Winspear Opera House stage during performances in February 2014.  “This is easily the most stunningly realized video production I’ve seen anywhere,” wrote Dallas Morning News Classical Music Critic Scott Cantrell, going on to describe the science-fiction opera as “a brilliant production” and a great accomplishment for the company.

            And, of course, there were the mainstage productions, including timeless classics like Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, conducted by Music Director Emmanuel Villaume and staged by director Kevin Moriarty of the Dallas Theater Center.  Noted Catherine Womack of D Magazine, TDO rose above the work’s inherent challenges to create performances “both musically satiating and utterly entertaining.”  The season also provided North Texas audiences with a rare opportunity to experience a Tchaikovsky opera relatively unknown in the West, Iolanta, described by David Weuste of Opera Pulse as “a brilliant ending to a wonderful season.” 

            However, the season’s high point may have been last winter’s world premiere of Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer’s Everest, garnering nearly universal critical acclaim from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, Opera News, Financial Times, American Record Guide, Opera, Opernwelt and Outside magazines.

            TDO’s emerging leadership role was confirmed most recently by Classical Music Critic David Patrick Stearns of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who stated “opera careers are now made in Dallas” in his assessment of current trends in contemporary American Opera production. 

            An elevated public profile in the second decade of the 21st century has enabled The Dallas Opera to attract more substantial media attention, generate greater community awareness, and launch important new programs and commissions – all of which have spurred single ticket sales and encouraged a steady stream of major gifts to the company from engaged individuals, foundations, corporations and trusts.

            “Highly effective leadership from our Board and Trustees, including Board Chair Steve Suellentrop, his predecessors, and the indefatigable Holly Mayer, Board Chair-Elect, have contributed dramatically to the company’s hard-earned financial stability” explains General Director and CEO Keith Cerny.

            “Significant multi-year gifts from the Titus Family (allowing us to create the much-needed Robert E. and Jean Ann Titus Art Song Recital Series) and other generous donations, including a $2.5 million gift from Betty and Steve Suellentrop and Hunt Consolidated, Inc. in support of The Dallas Opera’s education and community outreach programs have given us an opportunity to ‘think outside the opera box’ while improving our chances for continued artistic success in this rapidly changing cultural landscape,” Cerny adds.

            Over the past season, The Dallas Opera made more than 100,000 contacts across North Texas through its mainstage opera performances, free public simulcasts, and community outreach and family performances, in addition to education programs designed for children, teens and adults. 

            “Although the company has made great strides, there is still heavy lifting to be done,” cautions Board Chair Steve Suellentrop.  “It is my hope that music lovers from throughout the area will recognize the exceptional quality of what we have accomplished onstage, and want to share in the excitement of world-class opera with their generous support, their regular patronage and their enthusiastic word of mouth.”

            In addition to the recitals, family performances and Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Great Scott, the mainstage production that will kick off the 2015-2016 Season, “Seeking the Human Element,” The Dallas Opera is also in the midst of preparing for one of the most eagerly anticipated social events of the fall: FIRST SIGHT/FIRST NIGHT (chaired by Ellen and Don Winspear) taking place on Thursday, October 29th and Friday, October 30th

            Our revival of the company’s tremendously popular production of Puccini’s Tosca (Nov. 6th through the 22nd ) will be followed by the inaugural Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera culminating in a public concert on Saturday, December 5th.  The world premiere of Mark Adamo’s wise and witty Becoming Santa Claus opens that same weekend with performances scheduled for Friday, December 4th, a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Sunday, December 6th, and additional performances on December 9th and 12th conducted by Emmanuel Villaume, with direction and choreography by Paul Curran.


Dallas Opera Perspectives: “When Art & Religion Collide”

by Suzanne Calvin

Contact: Suzanne Calvin 214.443.1014 Or Celeste Hart 214.443.1071


Inspired by Richard Strauss’ “Salome” but encompassing so much more! Moderated by SMU’s Dr. Christopher Anderson with a star-studded arts leadership panel featuring Dallas Museum of Art Director Maxwell Anderson, Dallas Theater Center Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty and Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny.


DALLAS, SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 – The Dallas Opera is proud to present the first of this season’s Dallas Opera Perspectives: “When Art and Religion Collide,” a free, in-depth exploration of the role of religion in the creation of both visual and performing arts, including works like The Dallas Opera’s second production of the 2014-2015 Season, Salome by Richard Strauss. The panel will also explore how this relationship is evolving in an increasingly interactive, yet balkanized and secular world.
This lively discussion will take place in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, September 29, 2014. The Arts District landmark is located at 1928 Ross Avenue, approximately three blocks from the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House and the public is encouraged to attend.
Moderated by Dr. Christopher Anderson, an award-winning author and Associate Professor of Sacred Music at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, the panel will consist of three influential leaders representing different branches of the arts: the Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art Maxwell Anderson, Dallas Theater Center Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty and Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny.

“Although our primary means of engaging the community is through performance,” explains Keith Cerny, “I believe it is just as important for The Dallas Opera to lend our brand to meaningful public discourse on a variety of timely and important topics. The complex relationship between art and religion throughout human history gives us much to analyze and discuss from the perspective of three hugely influential art forms—and we are eager for the audience to share their thoughts on the subject as well.”

“What is the underlying purpose of art?” asks Dr. Christopher Anderson. “How do secular or even anti-religious currents in the community affect the role of the artist? Is there a place for transcendence in art divorced from religion? How successfully has religion guided the artistic expression of society and family values? What about those occasions when art or religion are misappropriated in order to suppress?”
“These are just a few of the questions that will fuel our conversation,” he adds, “in an evening that may spark deeply personal responses.”

The evening will conclude with an open Q and A with members of the audience. No question is too controversial.
Walk-ups are welcome; however, we recommend that you reserve your seat now by going to
Parking is available in Bryan Tower at the corner of San Jacinto and Harwood, diagonally opposite the church, with a special event price of $3. Paid parking may also be found in one of several surface lots nearby and on the street. Handicapped parking is available at the church.

The Dallas Opera’s 2014-2015 Season is sponsored by
Texas Instruments Foundation

Flex subscriptions begin at $75 for the 2014-2015 Season. Full Subscriptions begin at $95. For additional information about the coming season, call The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214-443-1000 or visit us online at



Ticket Information for the 2014-2015 Dallas Opera Season

All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise described. Single Tickets range from $19 to $275 and Flex Subscriptions are on sale starting at $75. Family performance tickets are just $5. For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at

The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-Eighth International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 p.m. unless otherwise stated. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance and assistance is available for the hearing impaired. The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talk begins one hour prior to curtain, at most performances excluding FIRST NIGHT of the season.

THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
October 24, 26(m), 29, November 1, 7 and 9(m), 2014
In a single crazy, romantic day, doors will be locked and unlocked, disguised donned, kisses exchanged and innermost hearts revealed—to some of the most memorable music Mozart ever composed.
An opera in four acts first performed in Vienna on May 1, 1786
Text by Lorenzo Da Ponte after the 1784 play La folle journée, ou Le mariage de Figaro by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais
Time: The late 18th century
Place: Aguasfrescas near Seville, Spain, the Almaviva’s country house
Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume
Stage Director: Kevin Moriarty
Production Design: John Bury*
Lighting Design: Mark McCullough
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Choreography: Joel Ferrell*
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Mirco Palazzi (Figaro) , Beate Ritter** (Susanna), Joshua Hopkins (Count Almaviva), Nicole Car** (Countess Almaviva), Emily Fons (Cherubino), Diana Montague* (Marcellina), Kevin Langan (Doctor Bartolo), Doug Jones (Don Basilio), Angela Mannino (Barbarina), Adam Lau* (Antonio) and Jon Kolbet (Don Curzio).
Production Owned by Lyric Opera of Chicago

SALOME by Richard Strauss
October 30, November 2(m), 5, 8, 2014
Once in a great while, the term “over the top” doesn’t seem nearly high enough.
An opera in one act first performed in Dresden, Germany on December 9, 1905
Hedwig Lachmann’s German translation of Oscar Wilde’s French language play
Time: During the time of Jesus Christ
Place: King Herod’s palace on the Sea of Galilee
Conductor: Evan Rogister*
Stage Director: Francesca Zambello
Original Production: Francesca Zambello
Scenic Design: Peter J. Davison*
Costume Design: Anita Yavich
Lighting Design: Mark McCullough
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Choreography: Yael Levitin*
Starring: Deborah Voigt* (Salome), Robert Brubaker (Herod), Greer Grimsley* (Jokanaan), Susan Bickley* (Herodias), Scott Quinn (Narraboth), Heather Johnson* (Herodias’Page), Bradley Garvin (First Nazarene), Grigory Soloviov* (First Soldier), Jason Grant (Second Soldier), Joseph Hu (First Jew), Jay Gardner (Second Jew), John Robert Lindsey (Third Jew), Steven Haal (Fourth Jew), Patrick Guetti* (Fifth Jew), Tyler Simpson* (Second Nazarene), NaGuanda Nobles (A Slave) and Matthew Stump* (A Cappadocian).
Production Owned by Washington National Opera


LA WALLY by Alfredo Catalani
January 30, February 1(m), 4 and 7, 2015
The Climactic Final Act!
First performed in Milan, Italy on January 20, 1892
Text by Luigi Illica after Wilhelmine von Hillern’s story, Die Geyer-Wally
Time: Around the year 1800
Place: The Austrian Alps
Conductor: Anthony Barrese
Stage Director: Candace Evans
Scenic Design: Robert Brill
Costume Design: David C. Woolard
Lighting Design: Christopher Akerlind
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Latonia Moore (Wally), Carl Tanner* (Giuseppe Hagenbach) and Jennifer Chung (Walter)
A Brand-New Dallas Opera Production!

With EVEREST by Joby Talbot
January 30, February 1(m), 4 and 7, 2015
A Dallas Opera World Premiere!
Text by Gene Scheer
Time: Modern Day
Place: In the Death Zone on Mount Everest
Conductor: Nicole Paiement
Stage Director: Leonard Foglia
Scenic Design: Robert Brill
Costume Design: David C. Woolard
Video Design: Elaine J. McCarthy
Lighting Design: Christopher Akerlind
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Andrew Bidlack (Rob Hall), Sasha Cooke (Jan Arnold), Kevin Burdette* (Beck Weathers) and Craig Verm* (Doug Hansen).

LA BOHÈME by Giacomo Puccini
March 13, 15(m), 18, 21, 27 and 29(m), 2015
A passionate and timeless masterpiece in a beloved period production
An opera in four acts first performed in Turin, Italy on February 1, 1896
Text by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica after Henry Murger’s novel Scènes de la vie de bohème
Time: mid-19th century
Place: The Latin Quarter of Paris, France
Conductor: Riccardo Frizza*
Stage Director: Peter Kazaras
Scenic Design: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle
Costume Design: Peter J. Hall
Lighting Design: Thomas C. Hase
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Children’s Chorus Master: Melinda Cotton
Starring: Ana Maria Martinez (Mimi), Bryan Hymel (Rodolfo), Davinia Rodriguez* (Musetta), Jonathan Beyer (Marcello), Alexander Vinogradov* (Colline), Stephen LaBrie (Schaunard) and Stefan Szkafarowsky (Benoit).
One of the Dallas Opera’s Most Popular!

IOLANTA by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
April 10, 12(m), 15 and 18, 2015
A rarely performed Tchaikovsky gem, set in Medieval Provence!
First performed in St. Petersburg, Russia on December 18, 1892
Text by Modest Tchaikovsky based on the Danish play King Rene’s Daughter by Henrik Hertz
Time: The 15th century
Place: Provence, a mountainous region in Southern France
Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume
Stage Director: Christian Räth
Scenic Design: Christian Rath
Costume Design: Susan Cox
Video Design: Elaine J. McCarthy
Lighting Design: Thomas C. Hase
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Ekaterina Scherbachenko* (Iolanta), Sergey Skorokhodov* (Count Vaudémont), Joanna Mongiardo* (Brigitta), Lauren McNeese (Laura), Tamara Mumford* (Marta), Andrei Bondarenko** (Robert, Duke of Burgandy), Mikhail Kolelishvili (Renè, King of Provence), Andrew Bidlack (Alméric), Vladislav Sulimsky** (Ibn-Hakia) and Jordan Bisch (Bertrand).
Another New Dallas Opera Production

* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut
The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: Texas Instruments Foundation, TACA, City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; 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 the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for its continuing support.


Keith Cerny on “Turning the Tide”

by Suzanne Calvin

Our General Director and CEO’s latest monthly column for “Theater Jones” delves into the questions raised for the industry by the dramatic turn of events at San Diego Opera.  No arts organization is immune to financial difficulties, whether caused by uncontrollable outside circumstances or unforeseen internal challenges; however, there’s a lot to be said about how a company responds or fails to respond when the “going gets tough.”

An article well worth your attention.

Suzanne Calvin, Dir. of Media and Public Relations

Dallas Opera’s National Anthem Competition

by Suzanne Calvin

Now’s your chance to sing in front of a crowd at AT&T Stadium!

Just in time for the 200th Anniversary of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” The Dallas Opera is thrilled to announce a brand-new competition designed to encourage the inner opera diva – or divo – in you! The “Oh, Say, Can You Sing?” National Anthem Competition™ offers men, women and children the opportunity to compete – via YouTube submissions – for the unique chance to bring down the house at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

The winner, who must be available on Friday, April 11, 2014, will make a live appearance at the stadium to sing the national anthem – a cappella – prior to that evening’s performance of Rossini’s 1816 masterpiece, The Barber of Seville at 7:30 p.m.

Children above the age of nine (with the consent of a parent or guardian) are permitted to compete but must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times.

Gargle and read on! Continue reading →