THE DALLAS OPERA PRESENTS MANON
A Nineteenth-Century Masterpiece by Jules Massenet
Starring Ailyn Pérez in the Title Role
Stephen Costello and Edwin Crossley-Mercer
In an Acclaimed Production by Sir David McVicar
Conducted by Music Director Emeritus Graeme Jenkins
Directed by E. Loren Meeker in her Company Debut
Opening Friday, March 4, 2016, 7:30 p.m.
Additional Performances on
Sunday, March 6, 2016 2:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 12, 2016, 7:30 p.m.
The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center
DALLAS, TX, FEBRUARY 9, 2016 - The Dallas Opera resumes the 2015-2016 Season in early spring with Jules Massenet’s heart-wrenching and seductive tale of love, lust, and spectacularly bad choices: MANON, opening March 4, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House for the first of four performances.
This production, created by Sir David McVicar for Lyric Opera of Chicago, marks the return of Dallas Opera Music Director Emeritus Graeme Jenkins to conduct, in his first TDO appearances since a successful revival of Dominick Argento’s The Aspern Papers with Susan Graham and Nathan Gunn in 2013.
MANON stars 2012 Richard Tucker Award winner Ailyn Pérez (Great Scott), “a beautiful woman who commands the stage” (The New York Times) in the title role, opposite another Richard Tucker winner and Dallas Opera favorite, tenor Stephen Costello (Moby-Dick) as the love-struck Chevalier des Grieux. San Diego News Network writes “Costello’s voice is passionate and powerful, but with a quality of impetuosity and innocence.”
The role of Lescaut will be performed by French-Irish baritone Edwin Crossley-Mercer in his exciting Dallas Opera debut. Jean-Luc Macier of Opéra Magazine describes him as “a demonstration of pure class with perfect vocals, and excellent style.”
The star-filled international cast also includes bass-baritone David Pittsinger, extolled in The Washington Times for a brilliant delivery that provided “the perfect mix of romance, passion, and masculine bravado” in his company debut as Le Comte.
Acclaimed tenor William Ferguson appears as Guillot de Morfontaine. Baritone Troy Cook sings the role of Brétigny.
The three actresses: Pousette, Javotte and Rosette will be portrayed by Canadian soprano Katherine Whyte, mezzo-soprano Kathryn Leemhuis, and mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock (respectively). The Innkeeper will be sung by baritone Theodor Carlson.
Set in eighteenth-century France, this timeless tale of star-crossed lovers and the allure of life’s unavoidable temptations asks the question: Can a woman with a taste for the best things in life sacrifice it all – for the one man whose love is both unconditional and never-ending?
Tickets start at just $19 and may be purchased at 214.443.1000 or dallasopera.org.
Renowned stage director/choreographer E. Loren Meeker will direct Massenet’s poignant 1884 opera, with a libretto by Henri Meilhac and Philippe Gille (based on the classic 1731 novel by Abbé Antoine-François Prévost). Following her Dallas Opera debut, Ms. Meeker will remain at TDO to direct Francesca Zambello’s critically acclaimed production of the 1927 American Musical Classic, SHOW BOAT, before turning her attention to a new production of Amleto for Opera Delaware and her Glimmerglass Festival debut directing a new production of La bohème.
Music Director Emeritus Graeme Jenkins has conducted more than a hundred different operas in productions from Covent Garden to Berlin to Glyndebourne. Most recently, he has conducted Rigoletto for English National Opera, Peter Grimes and The Tempest for Vienna State Opera, and Otello for the Korean National Opera in Seoul.
“I’m convinced, although I have not checked the history books,” says Maestro Jenkins, “that Puccini knew Manon well. Act Five of Manon en route to the port of La Havre is the blueprint for the austere start to Act Three of La bohème, and in one of the Des Grieux/Manon love duets there is almost an exact quote found in Tosca.
“I believe that in writing his own Manon Lescaut, Puccini studied Massenet to refine his later works. In fact, the brilliance of Manon is in no small measure due to the brevity and clarity of its libretto, taken from the rather sprawling novel by the Abbé Prevost,” Jenkins adds.
“Others will have written about the creation of this extraordinary work, and in Sir David McVicar’s conception, the tragedy of the young girl, destined for the convent, bewitched by the luxury of Paris to her destruction, is so cleverly depicted.”
The production design for MANON is by Tanya McCallin, the lighting design is by Kevin Sleep (original lighting design by Paule Constable), wig and make-up design by David Zimmerman and chorus preparation by Dallas Opera Chorus Master Alexander Rom.
The original lighting choreography was created by Michael Keegan-Dolan, choreography for this revival is by Colm Seery in his company debut.
Additional performances of Massenet’s MANON will take place on March 6(m), 9 & 12, 2016 in the Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas.
The Dallas Opera’s 2015-2016 Season is proudly presented by Texas Instruments.
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The “Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talks,” a free background lecture for the opera being performed, takes place in Nancy B. Hamon Hall located just off the Winspear Opera House lobby one hour prior to each performance. The talks for MANON will feature The Dallas Opera’s Mary Dibbern, Music Director of Education and Family Programs and the author of Manon: A Performance Guide (Pendragon Press). Ms. Dibbern collaborated with Anne Massenet to translate and annotate her biography of the composer into English, and to translate a general catalogue of the composer’s works being released this spring.
The Dallas Opera performs works in their original languages. Easy-to-read English translations are projected above the stage during every Dallas Opera performance and special headsets are available for the hearing impaired.
No late seating is permitted at Dallas Opera performances once the house doors are closed.
For additional information about the coming season, call The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214-443-1000 or visit us online at www.dallasopera.org.
Key Bios / MANON:
Graeme Jenkins (Conductor), English conductor and The Dallas Opera Music Director Emeritus, studied at the Royal College of Music and at the University of Cambridge. Over the course of his career, he has received numerous engagements, among others to Glyndebourne, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the English National Opera, the Scottish Opera, Opera North, the Australian Opera, the Canadian Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, as well as, the Paris Opera. At The Dallas Opera, where he was music director for 20 seasons, he celebrated success with the Ring des Nibelungen, Wozzeck, Jenufa, Ariodante, Lohengrin, Pique Dame, Macbeth, Fledermaus, and Roberto Devereux. As an orchestral conductor, he has stood and continues to stand among others on the podium of the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Melbourne and West Australian Symphony Orchestras, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo as well as numerous American orchestras.
Loren Meeker (Stage Director) has served on the directing staff at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Portland Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Central City Opera where she was the 2006 recipient of the John Moriarty Award. Recent engagements include a collaboration with composer William Bolcom on Lucrezia for the Boston University Opera Institute, Cloclo for Chicago Folks Operetta, Don Giovanni for the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Die Fledermaus for San Francisco Opera and Penn State University, and Albert Herring for Red House Opera Group. Also known as a choreographer, her work includes Vanessa at Central City Opera, Orpheus in the Underworld at Glimmerglass Opera and The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni with Houston Grand Opera.
Sir David McVicar (Original Production), a Scottish director born in Glasgow, is acclaimed as one of the world’s foremost opera directors. His productions are regularly seen worldwide as well as on television and DVD. He trained at the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Scottish Academy as actor, designer and director. Productions include performances at The Met, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco, Opera Australia, Festival D’Aix En Provence, Royal Opera House Strasbourg, New National Theatre of Tokyo, Wiener Staatsoper, English National Opera, Scottish Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Glyndebourne, Opera North, Theatre Champs Elysee, Paris, La Monnaie, Brussels, Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Madrid, Dallas, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Berlin State Opera and the Salzburg Festival. He was knighted in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday honours list for Services to Opera and has been nominated for several Olivier Awards.
Ailyn Pérez (Manon Lescaut), American soprano, made her Dallas Opera debut as Zerlina in Le nozze di Figaro in 2010 and recently created the role of Tatyana Bakst in the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Great Scott. She is the winner of the 2012 Richard Tucker Award. Other career highlights include Violetta at the Royal Opera and San Francisco Opera, Amelia (Simon Boccanegra) at Teatro alla Scala, Berlin Staatsoper, and Zurich; Mimì (La bohème) with Los Angeles Opera and Zurich; Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) and Countess Almaviva at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival; the title role of Manon in Valencia; and Juliette (Roméo et Juliette) in Philadelphia. Ms. Pérez is a recipient of the George London Foundation’s Leonie Rysanek Award, a 2007 winner of a Shoshana Foundation Career Grant, and placed second in the 2006 Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition.
Stephen Costello (Chevalier des Grieux) The Philadelphia-born tenor quickly established a reputation as a “first-class talent” (Opera News) after coming to national attention in 2007, when, aged 26, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut on the company’s season-opening night. Two years later Mr. Costello won the prestigious Richard Tucker Award. He subsequently made his debuts at a number of the world’s most important opera houses and music festivals. In 2010 he created the role of Greenhorn (Ishmael) in the Dallas Opera’s world-premiere production of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick. This season, he returned to the Met for his company role debut as the Duke of Mantua in Michael Mayer’s Vegas setting of Verdi’s Rigoletto and as Lord Percy in a revival of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena. He also returns to The Dallas Opera to make his house role debut as Ses Grieux.
Edwin Crossley-Mercer (Lescaut), baritone, has already played in some of the most distinguished opera houses in Europe. Mr. Crossley-Mercer has appeared at the Komische Oper and Berlin Staatsoper, Glyndebourne Festival, Grand Theatre de Genève, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, Opéra Comique in Paris, and Paris Opera. In addition to the opera, he performs consistently as a recitalist in venues such as Dom Musiki in Moscow, Aix-en-Provence, the Opéra de Lille, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Saint Petersburg festival, Bayreuth, the Louvre Auditorium, Bad Kissingen and the Festival de Colmar and Carnegie Hall in New York. On the concert stage he has appeared with the Bayerischer Rundfunkorchester, Los Angeles Philharmonic and this upcoming season will debut with the Berlin Philharmonic.
David Pittsinger (Count des Grieux) The American bass is renowned as a stage performer of the greatest distinction, appearing in the world’s major opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Portland Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, and Teatro Real. His voice has been heard in the summer festivals of the world notably in Salzburg, Dresden, Macerata, Tanglewood, and Santa Fe. Other orchestral engagements have included appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic, the L.A. Philharmonic. He has sung at the Metropolitan Opera, and can be heard on the Virgin Classics recording of Carlyle Floyd’s Susannah, and Cavalli’s La Calisto on the Harmonia Mundi label. He recently sang this role in Manon at the Metropolitan Opera House and Los Angeles Opera and is reprising his role in Dallas.
William Ferguson (Guillot de Morfontaine) Acclaimed for his versatility, the tenor has become an artist in demand all over the world. Highlights include his recent acclaimed appearance with The Dallas Opera as Spoletta in Tosca, debuts with the Santa Fe Opera, Opera Australia, The Metropolitan, New York City Opera, The Aspen Music Festival, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Virginia Opera, Opera Omaha, Gotham Chamber Opera, Music Academy of the West, Tanglewood Music Center and the Chautauqua Institution. Mr. Ferguson has also performed with Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall on several occasions. He is also known as a compelling interpreter of new music. He holds both a Bachelor’s and Masters of Music degree from The Juilliard School and is a native of Richmond, Virginia.
Troy Cook (de Brétigny), baritone, has anticipated performances this season with The Dallas Opera as de Brétigny in Manon, Austin Lyric Opera as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Virginia Opera, as Jupiter in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld. On the concert stage, he appears with the Pacific Symphony for Handel’s Messiah. Future seasons include a debut with San Diego Opera. Last season brought several notable role debuts, including Sharpless in Madama Butterfly (Utah Opera), Germont in La traviata (Central City Opera), and Rodrigo in Don Carlo (Opera Philadelphia). Concert engagements included the San Francisco Symphony, Portland Symphony, and Winston Salem Symphony.
Tanya McCallin (Set and Costume Designer) is a distinguished theatre and opera designer who works extensively in Europe, the U.S.A., and Australia. She has been associated with many important London theatre productions including premieres of works by Arthur Miller, Pam Gems, Mike Leigh, Chekhov, Sheridan, and Shakespeare. Jonathan Miller´s production of The Barber of Seville for English National Opera was her first major opera design and is still in the repertoire. In collaboration with Sir David McVicar she has designed Le nozze di Figaro (Royal Opera), Macbeth (Mariinsky Theatre, London, Washington, and Metropolitan Opera), Manon (ENO, Dallas, New Zealand and Houston Grand Opera), Les contes d´Hoffmann (Salzburger Festspiele), Semele at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Così fan tutte (Opéra National du Rhin), Rigoletto at the Royal Opera, and Der Rosenkavalier at Scottish Opera.
Kevin Sleep (Lighting Designer) is currently Head of Lighting for English National Opera. His West End credits include: The House of Bernarda Alba, Up on the Roof, and many more. He has frequently lit shows for the Lyric Hammersmith, the Royal Lyceum, Bristol Old Vic, Pitlochry Festival Edinburgh; the Crucible, Sheffield; and the Royal Exchange, Manchester. Mr. Sleep’s opera work includes: the Wexford Opera Festival; the premiere of Greek in Munich and Edinburgh and then at the Coliseum for the ENO; Rigoletto (Welsh National Opera small-scale tour); Eugene Onegin (Scottish Opera Go Round); the premiere of 63 Dream Palace in Munich; and Pilgrim’s Progress for the Royal Northern college of Music Manchester.
Colm Seery (Revival Choreographer), born in Dublin, was trained at the Irish National College of Dance before attending the Royal Ballet School. He danced with Dublin City Ballet, Irish National Ballet, Vienna Festival Ballet and was a founding member of Fabulous Beast Dance Company. In the opera world, Mr. Seery has performed with the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera Ireland, Garsington Opera, and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Internationally, he has worked in Lille, Paris, Dijon, Antwerp, Barcelona, Oviedo, Beijing, Geneva, Dallas, and at the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires. Future plans include Andrea Chénier in San Francisco and choreographing a new production of Gloriana at the Teatro Real, Madrid.
Alexander Rom (Chorus Master) is a native of Kharkov, Ukraine, and holds a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from Leningrad Conservatory of Music. Since immigrating to the U.S., he has worked as a performer, conductor, educator, voice teacher, opera coach, and composer. He has been the chorus master for The Dallas Opera since 1990 and an opera coach with the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Savonlinna Opera Festival, Cincinnati Festival, and Ravinia Festival. He has worked with world renowned singers including Paul Plishka, Mirella Freni, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Jorma Hynninen, Helga Dernesch, Martti Talvela, Joyce DiDonato, and
Jerry Hadley. Maestro Rom is an honorary Visiting Professor at Sibelius Academy Helsinki Conservatory and was a Visiting Professor at Savonlinna Opera Festival Music Institute.
David Zimmerman (Wig and Make-up Designer) has worked with The Dallas Opera and other opera companies around the world. These include the Metropolitan Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Santa Fe Opera, Paris National Opera, and Opera Santa Barbara. Mr. Zimmerman’s career extends to Broadway as well, where he has worked on shows including Wicked, Rocky Horror, Show Boat, South Pacific and Evita. His personal clients include Deborah Voigt, Joyce DiDonato, Patricia Racette, Martha Stewart, Olympia Dukakis, and Ricky Martin. He has also done the make-up for the DIFFA Fashion Runway, Dallas Fashion and Art Charity, and the Yelp.com fashion event. His print credits include two features in Opera News plus features in both Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Television and film credits include Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year and a feature film.
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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. 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 www.dallasopera.org.