The Country Versus the Cough

by Megan Meister

Early this morning, four decades after it smashed box office records across the U.S., I finally got around to seeing “Love Story” when it snuck-up on my television screen.  Aside from a head-snapping appearance by a youthful Tommy Lee Jones, the movie was everything I expected and less: sappy, over-the-top music score; “hoot-worthy” dialogue, and a plucky young heroine with one foot planted on the ultimate banana peel, who could easily have been mistaken for either Mimi or Violetta – if only she had TB.

Much has been written about the romanticization of certain diseases; chief among them, the dreaded and once nearly untreatable consumption, better known today by its official name: Tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis was already a well-established disease among humans when it contributed to (or caused) the death of Egypt’s King Tutankhamen around 1323 B.C.E.  Even today, according to the Clinical Microbiology Newsletter, about one-third of the world’s population carry the bacteria that causes the disease and approximately two to three million people die from the infection each year, mostly in developing countries.  But over the centuries, Tuberculosis has struck both high and low: bringing down literary giants like Emily Bronte, Franz Kafka, Robert Louis Stevenson, Walt Whitman, George Orwell and (famously) Edgar Allan Poe; political figures like France’s Cardinal Richelieu, Henry Clay (the first person to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol), Napoleon II, Simón Bolívar and Eleanor Roosevelt; along with a host of influential artists from Frederic Chopin to actress Vivien Leigh.

Once the disease was discovered to be contagious rather than hereditary (1865) and its bacterial source identified (1882), this new knowledge led to the development of fashionable sanatoriums in addition to sparking significant changes in waste disposal, city planning and public policy that continue to guide public health authorities today.

Yet it was also an ailment with a certain cachet in 19th century society where the young and beautiful were among its many victims.  “You can never be too thin or too pale,” might have been the motto of the era in which, wrote Mark Caldwell in The Last Crusade, Tuberculosis “was a badge of refinement…it led your friends not to mourn your early death so much as to venerate you as one marked out for a fate of special distinction.”  The scandalous Lord Byron once expressed the wish that consumption would carry him off because it was thought to be “such an interesting death.”

The prototype for Alexandre Dumas’ Lady of the Camillias—who eventually morphed into Giuseppe Verdi’s “La traviata” (The Fallen Woman)—was a once-illiterate French farm-girl named Alphonsine Plessis who upgraded her name to “Marie Duplessis” after she arrived in Paris.  Her exotic features, long neck, tiny waist, ultra-pale complexion and dark locks led to a procession of lovers, each wealthier than the last—with the exception of the handsome young Dumas.  He spotted her in a box at the theater in 1844 and followed her to a party much like the soirée in Act One of Verdi’s opera, discovering Marie’s fatal secret when he found her lying face-down on a couch, coughing up blood.  Fascinated and filled with pity for this beautiful dying swan, Dumas became her lover, just like Alfredo.

However, here is where the opera and harsh reality begin to diverge: the real life lovers quarreled over infidelities, money, and other matters.  “Lies keep the teeth white,” explained Marie, before Dumas broke-off their affair in 1845.  The lady recovered swiftly after being introduced to pianist/composer Franz Liszt; however, his fear of being trapped by a woman or contracting the disease inevitably doomed their affair.  But Liszt never forgot her, describing Marie in his later years as “the most complete incarnation of womankind that has ever existed.”

The 23-year-old courtesan died during Mardi Gras Season in February of 1847, still an object of public curiosity, now virtually alone except for her faithful maid (just as in this opera).  The frenzied sale of her remaining jewels and belongings paid-off her outstanding debts and provided a tidy bequest to her niece in Normandy, who inherited Marie’s ill-gotten gains on the condition that she never set foot in Paris.

In Dumas’ book, his fictional heroine tells us, “I built a future life on your love; I dreamed of the country, of purity.”  If Tuberculosis is the character in the foreground of our drama, the French countryside is very much in the background.  In Verdi’s opera, Alfredo (the stand-in for Dumas fils) was raised far from the wicked city-life and, in his naiveté, barely comprehends the choices Marie—now called Violetta—has been forced to make in order to survive.

For both Verdi and the average 19th century physician, the country itself represented freshness, moral and physical cleanliness and good health.  Alfredo is the embodiment of those qualities and, particularly when he takes Violetta away to spend those romantic months in the country, during which she blossoms and improves.  It is only when Violetta abandons Alfredo and returns to the city—away from the light, love, and fresh air that restored her—that her consumption flares once more, sealing her fate.

Composer Giuseppe Verdi shared that dubious distrust of the city and preferred to spend most of his time on his country estate in his own unconventional living arrangement with Giuseppina Strepponi.  In La traviata, Verdi’s only contemporary opera, the composer weaves a moving masterpiece composed of threads connecting him not only to Dumas’ most heart-felt work, but to the composer’s beloved first wife—Margherita, a former student of Verdi’s—who sold her jewels to help pay the rent during lean times, and who died tragically (along with their two children) while still in her twenties.

These threads also tie him to the land itself, reflecting Verdi’s lifelong love of nature and his belief that the country life is a more likely source of contentment and meaning.  “A time will come,” he wrote, “and it’s not very far off, when I shall say ‘Farewell, my public; have a good time; my career is over: I’m going to plant cabbages.’”  Or, as Alfredo put it while clutching the dying Violetta in his arms, “To Paris, dearest, we bid adieu, in love united our days will flow.”  Despite the best-laid plans, Giuseppe Verdi died in an exclusive hotel in the heart of Milan, and Violetta, one of his most memorable heroines, never made it out of her room.

Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director of Media & PR for the Dallas Opera, is an award-winning journalist, producer, classical music broadcaster and playwright.  Most importantly, she tells you prior to each TDO performance to turn off your cellphone.  You were listening, right?

Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition Results

by Suzanne Calvin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Contact: Suzanne Calvin (214.443.1014/suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org)
Or Megan Meister (214.443.1071/megan.meister@dallasopera.org)

The 24th Annual
“Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition”
Awards $20,000 in Prize Monies!
~~~~
SOPRANO HEATHER HAWK
Takes Top Prize and $8,000 Cash!
~~~~
Second Place ($5,000) and “People’s Choice Award”
(An Additional $1,000) Goes to Soprano Amanda Woodbury
~~~~
Third Place ($3,000) Awarded to Elisabeth Rosenberg
~~~~
Event Honors Former Guild Presidents and Longtime
Dallas Opera Supporters and Board Members
Elaine and Bill Blaylock

DALLAS, MARCH 10, 2012 –The Dallas Opera Guild’s 24th Annual Vocal Competition for young opera singers ended on a high-note late this evening when ten outstanding finalists (with Texas connections) were awarded a total of $20,000 in prize monies. It is only the second time this much-anticipated spring musical event has graced the stage of the magnificent Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Arts District.
29-year-old soprano Heather Hawk of Weatherford, a graduate of Tarleton State University and Baylor University (where she earned her Master’s degree in Vocal Performance) is currently pursuing her doctorate in Musical Arts at the University of North Texas. There, she has sung the title role in Handel’s Alcina and was a finalist in last fall’s UNT Concerto Competition. She has also performed professionally at the University of North Texas Faculty Concert, Works of Jake Heggie, with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and at the 2011 Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indianapolis.
During the finals round of the competition, Miss Hawk held the audience transfixed with powerful renditions of “Il est doux, il est bon” from Massenet’s Hérodiade and “Ah, mio cor!” from Händel’s Alcina, accompanied by pianist Julian Reed. Earlier in the day, she performed selections from Così fan tutte and Adriana Lecouvreur during the semifinals.
Miss Hawk received her $8,000 First Place cash prize from this year’s special honorees: Elaine and Bill Blaylock.

The award for Second Place ($5,000) and the “People’s Choice Award” (an additional $1,000) went to 23-year-old soprano Amanda Woodbury, a graduate of Frisco High School, now working towards her Master’s degree at the Cincinnati College -- Conservatory of Music, where she has appeared onstage in the roles of Madame Lidoine in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Indiana University (2010) and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including Second Place in the 2010 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, and another Second Place Award in the 2011 Metropolitan Opera Mid-South Regional Competition.
Miss Woodbury gave a luminous finals round performance of arias from Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Puccini’s La Rondine, accompanied by Julian Reed.
Her award for Second Place was given to her by the Dallas Opera Guild’s Michael Phillips. The “People’s Choice Award,” based on secret ballots cast by members of the competition audience, was bestowed on Miss Woodbury by Dallas Opera Guild Presidents Jane and David McGinnis.

The Third Place Award and a $3,000 cash prize went to 29-year-old soprano Elisabeth Rosenberg, who also was accompanied by pianist Julian Reed. Following moving semi-finals round performances of “Ain’t it a Pretty Night” from Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah and “Morrai, si” from Händel’s Rodelinda, she gave breathtaking renditions of Micaëla’s aria from Act III of Georges Bizet’s Carmen and “Mi tradi quell’alma ingrate” from Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Miss Rosenberg has appeared onstage in numerous roles for Rice University (where she is currently pursuing her Master’s degree), Dicapo Opera, Opera UCLA and New Jersey Opera.
The multi-faceted singer also plays the violin and dances—ballet, tap, jazz, ballroom and Latin ballroom.
Miss Rosenberg’s prize was awarded by Contestant Co-Chair Don Jones.

This year’s optional “Encouragement Award” was given to 22-year-old soprano Vanessa Becerra, a senior at Texas Christian University who has already performed professionally with Fort Worth Opera, the Turtle Creek Chorale, Seagle Music Colony, OperaWorks, the A.I.M.S. Festival Orchestra, and Arlington Heights United Methodist Church in Fort Worth. At TCU, where Miss Becerra is a Nordan Full-Tuition Award winner, she has appeared in a variety of partial roles and will soon portray the vivacious Adele in Die Fledermaus. Tonight she performed “Kommt ein schlanker Bursch gegangen” from Weber’s Der Freischütz and “Caro nome” from Verdi’s Rigoletto, accompanied by pianist Jason Smith.
Her $1,500 cash prize was awarded by the Dallas Opera Guild’s Fran Burke.

“Fred and I have been impressed with the extraordinary level of talent revealed by these young Texas singers,” admits Dallas Opera Guild Competition Co-Chair Sandi Ciarochi.
“It’s also incredibly reassuring to see parents and grandparents,” she adds, “bringing their children and grandchildren to this competition as a means of introducing them to Opera. Aficionados understand that when they share that love of the art form with the next generations, it enriches them both.”

“With funding for the arts rapidly diminishing,” explains Guild Competition Co-Chair Fred Ciarochi, “it’s great to have this opportunity to recognize, honor and promote homegrown talent, particularly when you realize how many of our Guild Vocal Competition singers go on to become nationally and internationally recognized.
“Just sitting in the audience is a thrilling experience and when audience members cast their personal votes for the ‘People’s Choice Award’—now in its fifteenth year—you can detect how passionate people become when singers’ careers are at stake.”

Additionally, six finalists were honored with $250 grants:
Mezzo-soprano Ashley Cutright, age 26
Tenor Jeawook Lee, age 28
Baritone Justin Manalad, age 26
Soprano Julie Marx, age 23
Soprano Audra Methvin, age 25
Baritone Njabulo Mthimkhulu, age 30

~~~~
Judges for the semifinal and finals rounds of this year’s competition were:
• Scott Altman, General Director of Arizona Opera
• Christopher Hahn, General Director of Pittsburgh Opera
• Robin Thompson, Arts Consultant, Virginia Opera and additional companies
• Darren K. Woods, General Director of Fort Worth Opera
• And from The Dallas Opera, Artistic Director Jonathan Pell, who also acts as artistic advisor to this eagerly anticipated annual competition.

“Of all the things I do, over the course of the opera season, the vocal competition is one of the things I look forward to the most, because it gives me an enormous sense of personal satisfaction,” explains Mr. Pell.
“Being able to help identify, nurture, and develop young talent is the most wonderful part of my job,” Mr. Pell adds. “The Dallas Opera Guild Competition has helped quite a few struggling young singers, many of whom have gone on to forge significant international opera careers. People like Clifton Forbis, who earned critical acclaim in our sold-out performances of Tristan & Isolde, and Latonia Moore, who triumphed just days ago in her Metropolitan Opera debut as Aida, and who will open our next season in the Winspear Opera House in that exciting title role!”

This year’s honorees, Elaine and Bill Blaylock, have contributed their combined talents to the Dallas Opera in a variety of ways since 1993. Elaine became indispensable to the Guild as a member of the “Adopt-an-Artist” program and quickly hooked Bill on TDO and the art form in what eventually became a family affair (their youngest son, Stuart, served as a supernumerary in several Dallas Opera productions). In addition to serving as Presidents of the Guild in 1999-2000, the Blaylocks established “Dallas Mosaic” and created the Bessylee Penland Endowment Fund which continues to provide vital support to this annual vocal competition. Elaine has also served with distinction as Chairman of the Dallas Opera Board Education Committee, while Bill currently serves as on TDO’s Executive Committee as Chairman of the Audit Committee.

The Dallas Opera Guild’s Vocal Competition not only provides generous assistance to the young opera stars of tomorrow; it also creates an outstanding opportunity for people from every walk of life to hear exceptional up-and-coming talents, in free, public performances.
And tough economic times may even increase the value of these experiences for young singers, according to Dallas Opera General Director & CEO Keith Cerny: “We believe that competitions like this are extremely important for young singers, allowing them to build their experience levels and confidence in the midst of an increasingly difficult artistic environment.”

Select Stars of Earlier Competitions

Clifton Forbis (tenor), winner of our second annual Vocal Competition in 1990, has forged a dynamic international career. He sang the title role of Samson in Samson et Dalila at San Francisco Opera and Siegmund in the Canadian Opera Company’s 2006 production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen to open their new Four Seasons Opera House. He also performed Act I of Die Walküre in January 2006 with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. Mr. Forbis has sung Otello at La Scala and in numerous productions at the Metropolitan Opera and other important theaters around the world and – most notably -- brought his interpretation of the role to open the new Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at The Dallas Center for the Performing Arts in October of 2009. He also dazzled critics and audiences alike in a phenomenal new TDO production of Tristan & Isolde in February of this year.

1998 First Prize winner Latonia Moore (soprano), who also captured the inaugural People’s Choice Award that year, brought the audience to their feet in her memorable 2004 Dallas Opera debut as Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen, earning the Maria Callas Award for The Dallas Opera debut of the year. She “triumphed as a radiant-voiced Micaela” recreating that role for her debut with the New York City Opera. The New York Times wrote of “her radiant, warm sound and lovely phrasing,” saying, “What she has already is special: a distinctive, poignant sound that makes an audience sit up.” She made her Carnegie Hall debut in the title role of L’Arlesiana for Opera Orchestra of New York and not long ago made her debut at London’s Covent Garden as Liu in Turandot. She returns to the Dallas Opera to open next season in the title role of Verdi’s Aida, in which she triumphed in her dramatic Metropolitan Opera debut just one week ago.

Jesus Garcia (tenor) competed in The Dallas Opera Guild’s Vocal Competition in 1996, 1997, and 1999, winning Second Place that year. Long a favorite of Guild members, Jesus studied at the University of North Texas before attending the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2001 who starred as Rodolfo in Baz Luhrman’s La bohème on Broadway, Jesus has also sung the Berlioz Requiem at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the role of Prince Ramiro in La Cenerentola with the Washington National Opera at Kennedy Center, as well as in School matinee performances for The Dallas Opera. Mr. Garcia has performed at the Spoleto Festival, Houston Grand Opera, and Bordeaux Opera (France), among other venues.

Third Place winner Steven LaBrie (baritone) barely met the age requirement to enter our 2006 competition, then walked away with both the People’s Choice Award and a special Mozart Aria award given by TDO’s former General Director Karen Stone in honor of the composer’s 250th birthday. His win propelled him into a coveted spot at AVA, where he performed roles in Il barbiere de Siviglia and Eugene Onegin, in addition to his role as Antonio in Le Nozze de Figaro with The Living Opera. He went on to take First Place in an historic tie with baritone Michael Sumuel in the 2009 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition and made his official Dallas Opera debut last season in the role of Paris in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet.

Tenor Scott Scully, winner of the 2000 People’s Choice Award, has sung with Opera Ontario (Canada), San Francisco Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Arizona Opera and recently made his Dallas Opera debut in Lohengrin. He was a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program. Very active in concert, he has sung Carmina Burana with the Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra and Atlanta Ballet, Falstaff and Billy Budd with the Cleveland Orchestra, and has collaborated with a list of illustrious conductors. In addition to the Dallas Opera Guild award, he received the Pavarotti award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, among others.

Jennifer Black (soprano), winner of our 2001 Vocal Competition and the People’s Choice Award, has participated in the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. In 2006, she made her debut with the New York City Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, and sang at Carnegie Hall. She was previously a National Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and was described by The New York Times as “a sensitive, rich-voiced soprano.” This past season at the Metropolitan Opera she sang leading roles in Adriana Lecouvreur and La sonnambula.

Angela Neiderloh (mezzo soprano), Second Place winner of the 2002 competition, spent three years in the Houston Grand Opera Studio, and has sung with the San Francisco Opera Center, Wolf Trap Opera, and the Houston Grand Opera. Her concert credits include solos with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, and the Columbia Symphony, among others. The New York Times has praised her as “an engaging coloratura mezzo-soprano.”

Marjorie Owens, First Place winner of the 2002 competition and the People’s Choice Award, was a winner of the 2006 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She was a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lyric Opera Center for Young Artists, after spending three years with the Houston Grand Opera Studio. She has performed with the Fort Worth Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Wolf Trap Opera in Washington, D.C., and the Aspen Opera Theater. The New York Times included Marjorie in their compilation of “the upcoming Great Big American Voices.”

DALLAS OPERA GUILD VOCAL COMPETITION
2012 UNDERWRITERS

DIAMOND PATRONS
($5,000 and above)

Katherine and Michael Phillips

PLATINUM PATRONS
($2,500 and above)

Elaine and Bill Blaylock

GOLD PATRONS
($1,000-$2,499)

Patti and John T. Cody, Jr.
In honor of Helen Boehning
And in memory of her mother, Nancy Boehning

Robert Hendler and Kathleen Muldoon

Richard and Enika Schultz

James R. Seitz, Jr.

Texas Instruments International

SILVER PATRONS
($500-$999)

Dr. Robert and Martha Allday

Anne Bell
In honor of Elaine and Bill Blaylock
In memory of Nancy Boehning and Tom Lysaught

Helen Boehning
In memory of Nancy Boehning

Sandi and Fred Ciarochi
In memory of Nancy Boehning
In honor of Jeanette Wharton

Susan G. Fleming
In honor of Elaine and Bill Blaylock

William J. Hendrix

Jo Kurth Jagoda

Jan and John Matlack

Jane and David McGinnis
In honor of Elaine and Bill Blaylock
In memory of Nancy Boehning
In memory of Earl Carter, Jr.

Mae, Sharon, Andrew, Stefanie and Rose Suddeth
In memory of Nancy Boehning

Marnie and Kern Wildenthal
In memory of Nancy Boehning

PATRONS
($250-499)

Helen Boehning
Cecile and Fred Bonte
Victoria and Marvin Bradshaw
Consuelo B. Chavez
Ketty Fitzgerald
Marilyn and Ward Halla
Terri and Jesse Jones
Leria and Greg McConeghy
Lynn and Presley Mock
Linda Nelson
Angela D. Paulos
Gloria and Robert Rege
Nancy and Wayne Ritter
Pat and Jed Rosenthal
Honorable and Mrs. Wm. F. Sanderson, Jr.
Giancarlo and Maria Santarelli
Betty Secker
State Farm Good Neighbor Grant
Mr. and Mrs. Claude Thompson
The Wagner Society of Dallas
Bilye and Joe Werner
Jeanette and George Wharton
James L. Williams

ADDITIONAL UNDERWRITING FROM:

AT&T Performing Arts Center and Staff
Consuelo Chavez and Joe Dyer (Judges’ Dinner)
Jason’s Deli (Daytime Catering for contestants, judges, accompanists and volunteers)
Phyllis Glover, CRS, ABR, SRES, Dave Perry-Miller & Assoc. (stage greenery)
Hodge Printing Company (competition programs)
Connie Klemow (Patron/Honoree Party) Cherly Sanders, Margaret Souda, Pat Trimble,
Joanne Fay, Sandi Ciarochi, Jeanette Wharton, Bily Werner
Tom McGurren (still photography)
Luke McKenzie (video photography)
~~~~
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE TRAGIC OBSESSIONS SEASON
AND THE DALLAS OPERA GUILD
IS CONVENIENTLY AVAILABLE ONLINE, 24/7
VISIT WWW.DALLASOPERA.ORG

For high-resolution, digital photographs suitable for print
To arrange an interview
Or for additional information
Please contact Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR
214.443.1014 or suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org

THE DALLAS OPERA WISHES TO EXPRESS ITS GRATITUDE TO OUR EXCLUSIVE PARTNERS:

AMERICAN AIRLINES – OFFICIAL AIRLINE OF THE DALLAS OPERA
LEXUS – OFFICIAL VEHICLE OF THE DALLAS OPERA
CARTIER – OFFICIAL JEWELER & WATCHMAKER OF THE DALLAS OPERA
ROSEWOOD CRESCENT HOTEL – OFFICIAL HOTEL OF THE DALLAS OPERA

Ticket Information for the 2011-2012 Dallas Opera Season

All performances, unless otherwise stated, are in the acoustically acclaimed Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Season subscriptions start at just $76, FLEX subscriptions (three performances) begin at $75. Single tickets start at $25 apiece. For more information, contact the friendly staff at The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online at www.dallasopera.org. Principal cast members and events may be subject to change. All ticket sales are final.

THE DALLAS OPERA 2011-2012 SPRING SEASON INFORMATION
The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-Fifth International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in downtown Dallas. With the exception of Tristan & Isolde, evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees will begin at 2:00 p.m. Tristan’s evening performances will start at 7:00 p.m. and matinees at 2:00 p.m. Performances of The Lighthouse (new chamber opera series) will take place in the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre located directly across the street from the Winspear in the AT&T Performing Arts Center. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance. Assistance is available for the hearing impaired.

TRISTAN & ISOLDE by Richard Wagner
February 16, 19(m), 22 & 25, 2012
A Special Opera-in-Concert, with projections by Moby-Dick’s Elaine McCarthy!
Ancient Myths, Modern Cine-Magic! And a special curtain time: 7:00 p.m.!
An opera in two acts first performed in Munich, June 10, 1865.
Text by Richard Wagner, based on an ancient Celtic and Icelandic legend.
Time: Legendary
Place: A ship at sea; outside King Marke’s palace, Cornwall; Tristan’s castle at Kareol
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Stage Director: Christian Räth
Video Design: Elaine McCarthy
Lighting Design: Alan Burrett
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet (Isolde), Clifton Forbis (Tristan), Mary Phillips (Brangäne), Jukka Rasilainen** (Kurvenal), Kristinn Sigmundsson* (King Marke), Erik Nelson Werner (Melot), and Aaron Blake (A Young Sailor/A Shepherd).

THE LIGHTHOUSE by Peter Maxwell Davies
Inaugural production of the Dallas Opera Chamber Series
Presented in collaboration with the Dallas Theater Center
In the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center
March 16, 17 & 18(m), 2012
A chilling supernatural and psychological thriller!
Time: December 1900
Place: Edinburgh Court of Enquiry, Fladda Isle Lighthouse off the Scottish coast
Conductor: Nicole Paiement*
Stage Director: Kevin Moriarty* (opera directorial debut)
Scenic Design: Beowulf Boritt*
Costume Design: Claudia Stephens*
Starring: (in order of vocal appearance:) Andrew Bidlack* (Officer 1/Sandy), Robert Orth (Officer 2/Blazes), and Daniel Sumegi (Officer 3/Arthur/Voice of the Cards).

LA TRAVIATA by Giuseppe Verdi
April 13, 15(m), 18, 21, 27 & 29(m), 2012
Let’s Party Like It’s 1849!
An opera in three acts first performed in Venice at Teatro La Fenice, March 6, 1853
Text by Francesco Maria Piave, based on Alexandre Dumas’ play, La dame aux camélias
Time: 19th century
Place: Paris
Conductor: Marco Guidarini
Stage Director: Bliss Hebert
Production Design: Allen Charles Klein
Lighting Design: Thomas Hase
Choreographer: Rosa Mercedes*
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Myrtò Papatanasiu** (Violetta Valéry), James Valenti (Alfredo Germont), Laurent Naouri* (Giorgio Germont), Amanda Crider* (Flora Bervoix), Timothy Mix* (Baron Douphol), Mark McCrory (Marchese D’Obigny), Ethan Herschenfeld* (Doctor Grenvil), and Susan Nicely (Annina).

THE MAGIC FLUTE by W.A. Mozart
April 20, 22(m), 25, 28, May 4 & 6(m), 2012
Hearts Tested, Tried and True!
An opera in two acts first performed in Vienna, September 30, 1791.
Text by Emanuel Schikaneder.
Time: Legendary
Place: Mythological Egypt
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Production: August Everding
Stage Director: Matthew Lata
Scenic Design: Jörg Zimmermann*
Costume Design: Renate Kalanke*
Lighting Design: Duane Schuler
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Children’s Chorus Master: Melinda Cotten
Starring: Ava Pine (Pamina), Shawn Mathey* (Tamina), Patrick Carfizzi (Papageno), L’ubica Vargicová* (The Queen of the Night), Raymond Aceto (Sarastro), Kevin Langan (The Speaker), David Cangelosi (Monostatos), Angela Mannino* (Papagena), Caitlin Lynch* (First Lady), Lauren McNeese* (Second Lady), Maya Lahyani* (Third Lady), Aaron Blake (First Man in Armour) and Darren K. Stokes* (Second Man in Armour).

* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut

______________________________________________________________________________________
The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; TACA; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera. Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera. Cartier is the official jeweler and watchmaker of The Dallas Opera. Rosewood Crescent Hotel is the official hotel of The Dallas Opera. Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News. A special thanks to Mrs. William W. Winspear and the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for their continuing support.

###

Unbridled Enthusiasm

by Suzanne Calvin

There are a number of things I love in this world: kind-hearted children, pets that purr, well-designed furniture, glorious music enjoyed with the windows rolled down, walking anywhere, hundred-year-old linens, and the Meadows Museum--to name a few. But one of the things I’ve come to appreciate more and more is the man or woman who looks at the world with absolute, unsmooshable-unquenchable, enthusiasm.

Like Crewmantle at COMMANDOpera, discussing our upcoming production of Verdi’s “La traviata.”

(La traviata image by Richard Krall for the Dallas Opera)

Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media and PR

“La traviata” Comes to TDO!

by Suzanne Calvin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Contact: Suzanne Calvin (214.443.1014/suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org)
Or Megan Meister (214.443.1071/megan.meister@dallasopera.org)

THE DALLAS OPERA IS PROUD TO PRESENT
GIUSEPPE VERDI’S POIGNANT 1853 MASTERPIECE
LA TRAVIATA
LIBRETTO BY FRANCESCO MARIA PIAVE
~~~~
STARRING GREEK SOPRANO MYRTÒ PAPATANASIU IN HER AMERICAN DEBUT AS VIOLETTA, AMERICAN TENOR JAMES VALENTI AS ALFREDO, AND FRENCH BARITONE LAURENT NAOURI IN HIS DALLAS OPERA DEBUT AS GIORGIO GERMONT
~~~~
CONDUCTED BY MAESTRO MARCO GUIDARINI
STAGED BY DIRECTOR BLISS HEBERT
~~~~
OPENING NIGHT: FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2012 AT 7:30 PM
WITH ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES
April 15(m), 18, 21, 27, 29(m)
~~~~
PRODUCTION UNDERWRITERS:
MRS. WILLIAM W. WINSPEAR AND
JOY S. AND RONALD M. MANKOFF

DALLAS, MARCH 7, 2012 – The Dallas Opera is proud to present the third main stage production of the 2011-2012 “Tragic Obsessions” Season: Giuseppe Verdi’s tender and bittersweet romance, LA TRAVIATA, opening Friday, April 13, 2012 at 7:30 PM in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Downtown Dallas. This will be the first time Verdi’s “Fallen Woman” has appeared on the Winspear stage.

This gorgeous production, never before seen in Dallas, is made possible through the generosity of Dallas Opera production underwriters Joy S. and Ronald M. Mankoff and Mrs. William W. Winspear.

Subsequent performances of LA TRAVIATA are scheduled for April 15(m), 18, 21, 27, & 29(M), 2012. Single tickets start at $25. Contact the Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or purchase online, 24/7, at dallasopera.org.

Based on the play La dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils (the Younger), this 1853 masterpiece overflows with some of the opera’s most sensuous and beautiful melodies, the most memorable characters, and the most heart-rending drama, making it a popular favorite from that day to this.

The Dallas Opera’s LA TRAVIATA will star Greek Soprano Myrtò Papatanasiu in her American Opera Debut as the French courtesan, Violetta Valery. Seen & Heard International sang the praises of Miss Papatanasiu as Donna Elvira, in which she “sang touchingly of her abandonment, sensitively revealing her all-to-human capacity to be enthralled by Leporello disguised as Don Giovanni.” Miss Papatanasiu’s recent engagements have included Nedda in Pagliacci at Zurich’s Opernhaus, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Vienna State Opera, and the title role in Handel’s Alcina with the Stuttgart State Theater in Germany.

Romantically linked with Miss Papatanasiu’s Violetta is tenor James Valenti, who last seduced Dallas Opera audiences in our critically acclaimed 2011 production of Verdi’s Rigoletto. Mr. Valenti will be singing the role of the love-struck Alfredo Germont, a far cry from his last character on our stage. Marilee Vergati of Dallas Examiner applauded Valenti’s callous Duke last season as, “a believable scoundrel as exemplified in the famous song “La donna é mobile.” (Another) brilliant moment during the Dallas Opera’s production is the quartetto di Rigoletto, where a brokenhearted Gilda sees the true nature of the Duke as he attempts to seduce Maddalena.”

Making his Dallas Opera debut is celebrated French baritone Laurent Naouri as Giorgio Germont. Concertonet.com’s Paul Wooley commented on Naouri’s performance of Germont in an earlier production at Santa Fe Opera: “The Violetta-Germont scene showed Naouri at his best. As he dealt with the diminutive Dessay, this Germont didn’t bellow or bluster to get his way, but instead used lush, warm tones to create the aura of a weakened man in utter desperation. His elegant ‘Di Provenza’ was one of the highlights of the night, as Naouri pleaded with his son using careful diminuendi at the end of nearly every phrase.” Mr. Naouri’s recent engagements include the role of Goulaud in Pelleas et Melisande at Madrid’s Teatro Real, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, and the multiple roles of Lindorf/Coppelius/Miracle/Dapertutto in Les contes d’Hoffmann at La Scala in Milan.

“This is a remarkably beautiful production,” explains Dallas Opera Artistic Director Jonathan Pell, “created by the renowned team of designer Allen Charles Klein and director Bliss Hebert, and I have wanted to bring it to Dallas since I first saw Allen’s sketches.

“Furthermore, the singers at the heart of this Verdian masterpiece are among the best in the world. In the title role, we are thrilled to present Myrtò Papatanasiu, who has been compared to another Greek soprano famous for her portrayal of Violetta, Maria Callas, who will forever be intimately linked to the Dallas Opera. As her lover Alfredo, the American tenor James Valenti will bring warmth and a passionate yearning to the role, much as he did when he earned the ‘Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year Award’ for his portrayal of Rodolfo in La bohème. Finally,” adds Mr. Pell, “in the pivotal role of Giorgio Germont, opera lovers will experience the unique artistry of Laurent Naouri, one of France’s foremost singers, in his eagerly anticipated Dallas Opera debut.

“How many reasons do you need to purchase a ticket? However many that is—we have many more.”

American Mezzo-Soprano Amanda Crider will be making her Dallas Opera Debut as Violetta’s closest friend, Flora Bervoix. David Fleshler of the South Florida Classical Review wrote that Miss Crider “brought a rich, deeply expressive voice” to her performances. Earlier this season, Miss Crider made her debut with Opera Omaha in Rossini’s di matrimLa cambiale di matrimonio.

Baritone Timothy Mix will make his Dallas Opera Debut in the role of Baron Douphol. Mr. Mix was the 2008 Richard Tucker Career Grant recipient. He has been described as someone who “…sang and acted…strongly into the plot…interacting fully with the other characters. Aided by a powerful stage presence, he proved more a personage than the title character.” (intermissionmag.com)

Bass Mark McCrory will be singing the role of Marchese D’Obigny. Dallas Opera Resident Young Artist Aaron Blake will return to the Dallas Opera stage as Gastone, Viscomte de Letorières; and Mezzo-Soprano Susan Nicely, who portrayed the Nurse in our critically acclaimed production of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov last season, returns in the role of Annina.

Rounding out the cast is tenor Steven Haal as Giuseppe, Bass Bobby Tinnion as Flora’s servant and Bass Kyle Logan Hancock as the Messenger.

All six performances will be conducted by the Marco Guidarini in his first appearance at the Dallas Opera in more than a decade. He debuted with the company conducting performances of Il barbiere di Siviglia, starring Jennifer Larmore.

This lushly romantic Florida Grand Opera production was designed by Allen Charles Klein and will be staged by Bliss Hebert, The James R. Seitz, Jr., Stage Director in Honor of John Gage.

Mr. Hebert has staged over 200 productions of more than 80 operas with 25 different companies, including the Metropolitan Opera for Les contes d’Hoffmann with Joan Sutherland and Plácido Domingo; Lyric Opera of Chicago for Manon with Renata Scotto; San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera for a new production of Orpheus in the Underworld; the Dallas Opera for a Manuel de Falla triple bill (Master Peter’s Puppet Show, La vida breve, and El amor brujo), L’incoronazione di Poppea, Les contes d’Hoffmann, Lucia di Lammermoor, Werther, Romèo et Juliette, and L’Italiana in Algeri; L’Opera de Montreal for Samson et Dalila, Der Rosenkavalier, Turandot, and Manon Lescaut; Houston Grand Opera for Dialogues of the Carmelites and Turandot; Florida Grand Opera for The Turn of the Screw, Les contes d’Hoffmann, Tosca, Die Walküre, La Voix Humaine, Il tabarro, and La Gioconda; San Diego Opera for Salome, Werther, and Dialogues of the Carmelites, New Orleans Opera for Tristan und Isolde and Lohengrin; and Baltimore Opera for Turandot, Lucia di Lammermoor, Romèo et Juliette, and Norma.

Lighting design will be by Thomas C. Hase, with wig and make-up designs by David Zimmerman.
Chorus preparation will be by Dallas Opera Chorus Master Alexander Rom.
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Set in 19th-century Paris, where the young heir to a distinguished family name falls passionately in love with a woman of uncertain virtue, LA TRAVIATA is one of the most soulfully romantic works in the opera canon.

Modeled after the too-short life and times of one of Paris’ best-known 19th century beauties, Marie Duplessis (who later went on to have a torrid affair with composer Franz Liszt); this is the story of her sometimes stormy relationship with writer Alexander Dumas the Younger, who immortalized her as “The Lady of the Camellias” after she succumbed to tuberculosis at the tender age of 23. The frenzied sale of her remaining jewels and belongings paid-off her outstanding debts and provided a tidy bequest to her niece in Normandy, who inherited Marie’s ill-gotten gains on the condition that she never set foot in Paris.

In Dumas’ book, which served as the basis for his play, his fictional heroine tells us, “I built a future life on your love; I dreamed of the country, of purity.” In Verdi’s opera, Alfredo (the stand-in for Dumas fils) was raised far from the wicked city-life and, in his naiveté, barely comprehends the choices Marie—now called Violetta—has been forced to make in order to survive. However, composer Giuseppe Verdi, who then lived in his own unconventional arrangement with Giuseppina Strepponi, understood these characters completely and rendered them indelibly upon our hearts.
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EVENTS AND GUEST ARTISTS SUBJECT TO CHANGE

THE DALLAS OPERA GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGES
THE TEXAS INSTRUMENTS FOUNDATION,
PRESENTER OF THE 2011-2012 SEASON
~~~~
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT “MARCH AT THE DALLAS OPERA”
IS CONVENIENTLY AVAILABLE ONLINE, 24/7
VISIT WWW.DALLASOPERA.ORG AND CHECK THE CALENDAR LISTINGS

For high-resolution, digital photographs suitable for print
To arrange an interview
Or for additional information
Please contact Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR
214.443.1014 or suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org

THE DALLAS OPERA WISHES TO EXPRESS ITS GRATITUDE TO OUR EXCLUSIVE PARTNERS:

AMERICAN AIRLINES – OFFICIAL AIRLINE OF THE DALLAS OPERA
LEXUS – OFFICIAL VEHICLE OF THE DALLAS OPERA
CARTIER – OFFICIAL JEWELER & WATCHMAKER OF THE DALLAS OPERA
ROSEWOOD CRESCENT HOTEL – OFFICIAL HOTEL OF THE DALLAS OPERA

Ticket Information for the 2011-2012 Dallas Opera Season

All performances, unless otherwise stated, are in the acoustically acclaimed Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Season subscriptions start at just $76, FLEX subscriptions (three performances) begin at $75. Single tickets start at $25 apiece. For more information, contact the friendly staff at The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online at www.dallasopera.org. Principal cast members and events may be subject to change. All ticket sales are final.

THE DALLAS OPERA 2011-2012 SPRING SEASON INFORMATION
The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-Fifth International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in downtown Dallas. With the exception of Tristan & Isolde, evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees will begin at 2:00 p.m. Tristan’s evening performances will start at 7:00 p.m. and matinees at 2:00 p.m. Performances of The Lighthouse (new chamber opera series) will take place in the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre located directly across the street from the Winspear in the AT&T Performing Arts Center. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance. Assistance is available for the hearing impaired.

TRISTAN & ISOLDE by Richard Wagner
February 16, 19(m), 22 & 25, 2012
A Special Opera-in-Concert, with projections by Moby-Dick’s Elaine McCarthy!
Ancient Myths, Modern Cine-Magic! And a special curtain time: 7:00 p.m.!
An opera in two acts first performed in Munich, June 10, 1865.
Text by Richard Wagner, based on an ancient Celtic and Icelandic legend.
Time: Legendary
Place: A ship at sea; outside King Marke’s palace, Cornwall; Tristan’s castle at Kareol
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Stage Director: Christian Räth
Video Design: Elaine McCarthy
Lighting Design: Alan Burrett
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet (Isolde), Clifton Forbis (Tristan), Mary Phillips (Brangäne), Jukka Rasilainen** (Kurvenal), Kristinn Sigmundsson* (King Marke), Erik Nelson Werner (Melot), and Aaron Blake (A Young Sailor/A Shepherd).

THE LIGHTHOUSE by Peter Maxwell Davies
Inaugural production of the Dallas Opera Chamber Series
Presented in collaboration with the Dallas Theater Center
In the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center
March 16, 17 & 18(m), 2012
A chilling supernatural and psychological thriller!
Time: December 1900
Place: Edinburgh Court of Enquiry, Fladda Isle Lighthouse off the Scottish coast
Conductor: Nicole Paiement*
Stage Director: Kevin Moriarty* (opera directorial debut)
Scenic Design: Beowulf Boritt*
Costume Design: Claudia Stephens*
Cast to be announced this autumn.

LA TRAVIATA by Giuseppe Verdi
April 13, 15(m), 18, 21, 27 & 29(m), 2012
Let’s Party Like It’s 1849!
An opera in three acts first performed in Venice at Teatro La Fenice, March 6, 1853
Text by Francesco Maria Piave, based on Alexandre Dumas’ play, La dame aux camélias
Time: 19th century
Place: Paris
Conductor: Marco Guidarini
Stage Director: Bliss Hebert
Production Design: Allen Charles Klein
Lighting Design: Thomas Hase
Choreographer: Rosa Mercedes*
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Myrtò Papatanasiu** (Violetta Valéry), James Valenti (Alfredo Germont), Laurent Naouri* (Giorgio Germont), Amanda Crider* (Flora Bervoix), Timothy Mix* (Baron Douphol), Mark McCrory (Marchese D’Obigny), Ethan Herschenfeld* (Doctor Grenvil), and Susan Nicely (Annina).

THE MAGIC FLUTE by W.A. Mozart
April 20, 22(m), 25, 28, May 4 & 6(m), 2012
Hearts Tested, Tried and True!
An opera in two acts first performed in Vienna, September 30, 1791.
Text by Emanuel Schikaneder.
Time: Legendary
Place: Mythological Egypt
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Production: August Everding
Stage Director: Matthew Lata
Scenic Design: Jörg Zimmermann*
Costume Design: Renate Kalanke*
Lighting Design: Duane Schuler
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Children’s Chorus Master: Melinda Cotten
Starring: Ava Pine (Pamina), Shawn Mathey* (Tamina), Patrick Carfizzi (Papageno), L’ubica Vargicová* (The Queen of the Night), Raymond Aceto (Sarastro), Kevin Langan (The Speaker), David Cangelosi (Monostatos), Angela Mannino* (Papagena), Caitlin Lynch* (First Lady), Lauren McNeese* (Second Lady), Maya Lahyani* (Third Lady), Aaron Blake (First Man in Armour) and Darren K. Stokes* (Second Man in Armour).

* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut

______________________________________________________________________________________
The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; TACA; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera. Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera. Cartier is the official jeweler and watchmaker of The Dallas Opera. Rosewood Crescent Hotel is the official hotel of The Dallas Opera. Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News. A special thanks to Mrs. William W. Winspear and the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for their continuing support.

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All About THE LIGHTHOUSE

by Suzanne Calvin

Excellent feature on the Dallas Public Library blog, “Booked Solid” about our upcoming production, THE LIGHTHOUSE, by Peter Maxwell Davies -- a contemporary work that will inaugurate our new, dedicated chamber series in partnership with the Dallas Theater Center. Be sure to read it all the way to the end, as the final paragraph has a jaw-dropping bit of trivia -- downright spooky! Read Andrew Anderson’s entire article right here.

(Fladda Lighthouse photo from Wikipedia)

Suzanne Calvin, Manager Director Media & PR

The Lighthouse is Looming

by Suzanne Calvin

And it’s a new experience for every one of us to be working with members of the Dallas Theater Center’s production team (and vice versa!) under the direction of Maestra Nicole Paiement and stage director Kevin Moriarty.  There’s some heavy lifting to be done, certainly, but it’s clearly a labor of love for all concerned in this groundbreaking artistic partnership!

Find out how opera differs from theater, even in the pre-production phase, in this month’s cover story in “Art + Culture” Magazine by Gregory S. Isaacs entitled “Dissecting the Opera-tion.” Access the feature here.  You’ll also enjoy the working models by award-winning Broadway set designer Beowulf Boritt, like the one pictured above.

And get your tickets now for the very limited engagement, March 16-18.  If you want new works, don’t just talk about it -- vote with your credit card!  Your support for the inaugural production of the Dallas Opera’s new chamber series will keep this conversation going strong!

Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR

Free, Public Roundtable on the Impact of the Arts on Education

by Suzanne Calvin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, March 5, 2012
Contact: Suzanne Calvin
214-443-1014/suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org

THE DALLAS OPERA IS PROUD TO PRESENT
“THE GENERAL DIRECTOR’S ROUNDTABLE” ON
“THE IMPORTANCE OF ARTS IN EDUCATION”
FEATURING LEANN BINFORD, DIRECTOR, CREATIVE LEARNING WORKFORCE AT BIG THOUGHT, INC., AND ZANNIE VOSS, PhD PROFESSOR AND CHAIR OF ARTS ADMINISTRATION, SMU’S COX SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND MEADOWS SCHOOL OF THE ARTS
HOSTED BY
DALLAS OPERA GENERAL DIRECTOR & CEO KEITH CERNY
~~~~
FREE TO THE PUBLIC! RSVP AT 214.443.1044
MODERATED BY D MAGAZINE ARTS EDITOR PETER SIMEK
~~~~
TUESDAY, MARCH 27TH, 6:30 PM
NANCY B. HAMON HALL, THE MARGOT & BILL WINSPEAR OPERA HOUSE AT THE AT&T PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
~~~~
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH D MAGAZINE

DALLAS, MARCH 5, 2012 – The Dallas Opera is proud to present the fourth in a series of quarterly “General Director’s Roundtables,” featuring timely and in-depth discussion of issues affecting opera, contemporary audiences, and the greater performing arts community today. The brainchild of Dallas Opera General Director & CEO Keith Cerny, this series seeks to bring together the most knowledgeable voices in their fields in a genuine quest for answers.
The topic of this roundtable is “The Importance of Arts in Education,” presented in partnership with D magazine and thoughtfully moderated by D magazine Arts Editor Peter Simek at 6:30 PM, Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.
The panelists, in addition to the multifaceted Mr. Cerny who hosts these events, will include LeAnn Binford, Director of Creative Learning Workforce at Big Thought, Inc. and Zannie Voss, PhD Professor and Chair of Arts Administration at SMU’s Cox School of Business and Meadows School of the Arts.

“My wife Jennifer and I are raising four boys and have always considered arts education an integral part of our family learning experience, from music-lessons to museum excursions,” explains Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny. “I know, first-hand, how exposure to the arts touches the young and gives them insights into themselves and the world around them. Yet many questions remain: How do we measure the impact of the arts? How do we develop programs that are both appropriate and effective? How do we support arts education in schools, many of which are experiencing severe budget deficits? And most importantly,” Cerny adds, “how do we ensure that every child, regardless of background, has the opportunity for both artistic exposure and expression?
“These are just a few of the questions we will explore in our upcoming Roundtable.”

This General Director’s Roundtable will be held in the intimate salon setting of Nancy B. Hamon Hall, located within the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House. On-site paid parking for the General Director’s Roundtable is available beneath the Winspear Opera House in the Lexus Red Parking Garage.
Please note: Seating is limited; however, this special edition of the roundtable will be free and open to the public. Reservations are required; just call 214.443.1044 and leave your name and the number in your party or reserve your seat for the Roundtable online anytime, 24/7, at rsvp@dallasopera.org.
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BIOS:

LeAnn Binford, Director, Program Operations at Big Thought, Inc. is an arts administrator with over 20 years of practical experience in performing arts management who has initiated, designed, and implemented new programming, enhanced traditional programs with innovative approaches, and served as an advocate for the arts in diverse environments. A creative leader and accomplished speaker who is articulate, highly organized, and an excellent writer, she combines a focus on education with the ability to build strong relationships with artists, volunteers, trustees, and administrators.

Zannie Giraud Voss Ph.D., Institut d’Administration des Entreprises, Aix-en-Provence) is Chair and Professor of Arts Administration in the Meadows School of the Arts and the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, and an Affiliate Professor at the Euromed School of Management in Marseille, France. Prior to joining the SMU faculty, she was a professor in the Department of Theater Studies and an adjunct professor in management in the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, where she also served as producing director of Theater Previews at Duke, a professional theater company dedicated to the development and co-production of new works.
Zannie has a worked as consultant on projects for the Irvine Foundation, Theatre Development Fund and Theatre Communications Group, co-authoring TCG’s Theatre Facts since 1998. She has published articles examining the strategic factors that influence organizational performance in nonprofit professional theatres in the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Services Marketing, American Theatre, ArtsReach, and International Journal of Arts Management, for which she serves as an associate editor. She served as managing director of PlayMakers Repertory Company, associate manager of the Alley Theatre, assistant director of audience development at the Mark Taper Forum, and as a site visitor and panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. She has received research funding from the National Science Foundation, the Aspen Institute, the Marketing Science Foundation, the American Marketing Association and the Sheth Foundation.

Biographical information about Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny may be accessed online at http://www.dallasopera.org/the_company/general_director.php.

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Single tickets for the remaining main stage productions of the Dallas Opera’s “Tragic Obsessions” Season are on sale now, starting at just $25, through the Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or online at www.dallasopera.org. Student Rush best-available tickets can be purchased at the lobby box office for $25 (one per valid Student I.D.) ninety minutes prior to each performance.
Secure your seats today for the remaining spring mainstage productions: La traviata, and The Magic Flute, as well as the Dallas Opera’s brand-new production of a haunting 1980 chamber opera: The Lighthouse by Peter Maxwell Davies. Marking the operatic debut of director Kevin Moriarty, Artistic Director of the Dallas Theater Center, this work will play to intimate audiences in the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre across the street from the Winspear.

THE DALLAS OPERA GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGES
THE TEXAS INSTRUMENTS FOUNDATION,
PRESENTER OF THE 2011-2012 SEASON
~~~~
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT “GENERAL DIRECTOR’S ROUNDTABLE”
IS CONVENIENTLY AVAILABLE ONLINE, 24/7
VISIT WWW.DALLASOPERA.ORG AND CHECK THE CALENDAR LISTINGS

For high-resolution, digital photographs suitable for print
To arrange an interview
Or for additional information
Please contact Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR
214.443.1014 or suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org

THE DALLAS OPERA WISHES TO EXPRESS ITS GRATITUDE TO OUR EXCLUSIVE PARTNERS:

AMERICAN AIRLINES – OFFICIAL AIRLINE OF THE DALLAS OPERA
LEXUS – OFFICIAL VEHICLE OF THE DALLAS OPERA
CARTIER – OFFICIAL JEWELER & WATCHMAKER OF THE DALLAS OPERA
ROSEWOOD CRESCENT HOTEL – OFFICIAL HOTEL OF THE DALLAS OPERA

THE DALLAS OPERA 2011-2012 SEASON INFORMATION
The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-Fifth International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in downtown Dallas. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees will begin at 2:00 p.m. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance. Assistance is available for the hearing impaired.

THE LIGHTHOUSE by Peter Maxwell Davies
Inaugural production of the Dallas Opera Chamber Series
Presented in collaboration with the Dallas Theater Center
In the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre at the AT&T Performing Arts Center
March 16, 17 & 18(m), 2012
A chilling supernatural and psychological thriller!
Time: December 1900
Place: Edinburgh Court of Enquiry, Fladda Isle Lighthouse off the Scottish coast
Conductor: Nicole Paiement*
Stage Director: Kevin Moriarty* (opera directorial debut)
Scenic Design: Beowulf Boritt*
Costume Design: Claudia Stephens*
Starring: (in order of vocal appearance:) Andrew Bidlack* (Officer 1/Sandy), Robert Orth (Officer 2/Blazes), and Daniel Sumegi (Officer 3/Arthur/Voice of the Cards).

LA TRAVIATA by Giuseppe Verdi
April 13, 15(m), 18, 21, 27 & 29(m), 2012
Let’s Party Like It’s 1849!
An opera in three acts first performed in Venice at Teatro La Fenice, March 6, 1853
Text by Francesco Maria Piave, based on Alexandre Dumas’ play, La dame aux camélias
Time: 19th century
Place: Paris
Conductor: Marco Guidarini
Stage Director: Bliss Hebert
Production Design: Allen Charles Klein
Lighting Design: Thomas Hase
Choreographer: Rosa Mercedes*
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Myrtò Papatanasiu** (Violetta Valéry), James Valenti (Alfredo Germont), Laurent Naouri* (Giorgio Germont), Amanda Crider* (Flora Bervoix), Timothy Mix* (Baron Douphol), Mark McCrory (Marchese D’Obigny), Ethan Herschenfeld* (Doctor Grenvil), and Susan Nicely (Annina).

THE MAGIC FLUTE by W.A. Mozart
April 20, 22(m), 25, 28, May 4 & 6(m), 2012
Hearts Tested, Tried and True!
An opera in two acts first performed in Vienna, September 30, 1791.
Text by Emanuel Schikaneder.
Time: Legendary
Place: Mythological Egypt
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Production: August Everding
Stage Director: Matthew Lata
Scenic Design: Jörg Zimmermann*
Costume Design: Renate Kalanke*
Lighting Design: Duane Schuler
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Children’s Chorus Master: Melinda Cotten
Starring: Ava Pine (Pamina), Shawn Mathey* (Tamina), Patrick Carfizzi (Papageno), L’ubica Vargicová* (The Queen of the Night), Raymond Aceto (Sarastro), Kevin Langan (The Speaker), David Cangelosi (Monostatos), Angela Mannino* (Papagena), Caitlin Lynch* (First Lady), Lauren McNeese* (Second Lady), Maya Lahyani* (Third Lady), Aaron Blake (First Man in Armour) and Darren K. Stokes* (Second Man in Armour).

* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut

______________________________________________________________________________________
The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; TACA; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera. Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera. Cartier is the official jeweler and watchmaker of The Dallas Opera. Rosewood Crescent Hotel is the official hotel of The Dallas Opera. Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News. A special thanks to Mrs. William W. Winspear and the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for their continuing support.

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“…And Come Back a Star!”

by Suzanne Calvin

She was the 2005 “Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year” award winner for her Dallas Opera debut in the role of the long-suffering Micaela in “Carmen.” That was half-a-dozen years after winning the 1998 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. And now, with about a day’s notice, Houston-born soprano Latonia Moore made her glorious Metropolitan Opera debut in the title role of “Aida” last Saturday -- a performance broadcast around the world and one that will be talked about by opera aficionados for years to come.

Get the full report from Anthony Tommasini of “The New York Times” right here.

(Photo courtesy of Cory Weaver, the Metropolitan Opera)

Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR

A Week in the Life – And One to Remember Always!

by Megan Meister

 Latonia Moore taking a solo bow after her triumphant Metroplitan Opera debut as Verdi’s AIDA on the Saturday afternoon radio broadcast, March 3, 2012

This has been an incredibly exciting week.  Saturday night’s final performance of TRISTAN was a triumphant finale to perhaps the most highly praised production at The Dallas Opera in recent memory.   I was sorry to see the run come to an end, but relieved that we got through it without illness or injury, and each performance was a privilege to attend.  Everything about the production was memorable, from the playing of the Dallas Opera Orchestra to the phenomenal singing of every member of the dedicated cast to the stunning concept and cutting edge technology used in the design of the show.  Bravi to everyone involved!

Monday afternoon was the first rehearsal for our chamber opera production of Peter Maxwell Davies’ THE LIGHTHOUSE and the energy in the rehearsal room was electrifying. Everyone involved in the project is excited, and this production promises to be something truly special.

On Tuesday I flew to Chicago to see the highly acclaimed new Francesca Zambello production of SHOW BOAT at Lyric Opera, starring Nathan Gunn and Morris Robinson, both familiar to Dallas Opera audiences.  Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein’s groundbreaking 1927 musical might seem an unlikely undertaking for an opera company, but Lyric lavished a great deal of attention (and money !) on the production, and it was a pleasure to hear this music performed by trained voices the way it was meant to be heard, and with the original orchestration.

Wednesday night was the premiere of a new production of Handel’s RINALDO directed by Francisco Negrin and wonderfully conducted by Harry Bicket.  The production was very clever and entertaining, and superbly sung by David Daniels, Luca Pisaroni and in her Lyric Opera debut, South African soprano Elza van den Heever, who made her Dallas Opera debut two years ago as “Fiordiligi” in Mozart’s COSI FAN TUTTE for the opening season of the Winspear.

I flew back to Dallas on Thursday to check on rehearsals for THE LIGHTHOUSE, and then late Friday afternoon flew to New York for what was really the highlight of my week, Latonia Moore’s debut at the Metropolitan Opera in the radio broadcast of Verdi’s AIDA.  I sat in that audience feeling like a proud father, watching this amazing performance by an artist I first discovered as a sophomore at UNT almost 15 years ago.  She was one of the youngest winners of the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition in 1998, and at my suggestion, she went on to study with Bill Schuman at Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts.  I then nominated her for a study grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, which she won, and then she returned to Dallas in 2004 to sing an unforgettable “Micaela” in CARMEN, and won the Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year selected by Dallas Opera subscribers.  She has subsequently gone on to a major international career, including her critically acclaimed performances as AIDA last year at London’s Royal Opera.

She returns to Dallas in the fall to open our season as AIDA, so when I learned that she was going to make her Met debut on 24 hours notice to replace an ailing Violeta Urmana, you can bet I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

The audience reaction to her first aria, “Ritorna vincitor” was a roaring ovation that literally stopped the show.  Any of you fortunate enough to have heard the radio broadcast know that this was something truly special.

Latonia confided in me afterward that she hadn’t slept in two days since she first heard that she was going “on” and was incredibly nervous.  To make a debut at the Met is daunting enough under the best of circumstances, but on an international radio broadcast with virtually no rehearsal, I can only imagine the pressure.

What a triumph!  I sat there and listened to the ovations she received with enormous pleasure knowing that Dallas Opera audiences were going to get to hear Latonia in this role in October.

22,000 and Still Counting

by Suzanne Calvin

 

There is still time to mark your calendar and plan to be there at Cowboys Stadium for the first ever Dallas Opera Simulcast in a sports venue. The production is Mozart’s THE MAGIC FLUTE, featuring an all-star cast, and it’s a great introduction to opera. Get more details from KERA’s Jerome Weeks here or Classical Music Critic Scott Cantrell of “The Dallas Morning News.”

On a related note: The Dallas Opera’s renowned Principle Oboist, Rogene Russell, sent a story I’d heard previously but never tracked down. A recent edition of the monthly magazine “Mental Floss” had a cover story on the “25 Most Powerful Songs”…including Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.”

Here’s the deal: A sewage treatment plant in Treuenbrietzen, Germany, experimented with music to determine if it could help sludge-eating microbes do their job any faster and more efficiently. The answer, it appeared, was “The Magic Flute.” Mozart’s masterpiece evidently has extraordinary power -- at the cellular level -- and saves the plant money every month by keeping teeny, tiny critters excited and active. Now, if this music is that good for sludge-eating microbes, just imagine what it can do for you and your loved ones, blasting from the big screens of Cowboys Stadium!

And the concessions will be ever so much better than anything the microbes get to chow down upon.

(Image courtesy of the University of Arizona)

Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR