One (and Two) for Theater Jones!

by tdoadmin

As the year ends at “Theater Jones,” critic Gregory Sullivan Isaacs selected the Dallas Opera’s 2011 revival of Verdi’s “Rigoletto” as the number one classical music event of the year! However, he admits it was something of a coin toss, as he was just about equally knocked out by our epic production of Modest Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” that ended last season. Here’s the complete lowdown from “Theater Jones” about the phenomenal year of North Texas performances, from organizations both large and small. Congratulations to each and every one who made the final cut, and to all those people and organizations who contribute so much to the life of the arts in these parts!

(Photo of “Rigoletto” stars by Daylon Walton for “Theater Jones”)

Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media and PR

Love at First Sight (and Sound)

by Suzanne Calvin

It’s always eye-opening to hear from first-time operagoers, particularly when they go into detail about their expectations versus their actual experience. A case in point is this piece by Alex Hoskins just published in SMU’s “The Daily Campus” on his recent excursion to “Lucia di Lammermoor” at the Dallas Opera.

Read it right here.  (Photo of Elena Mosuc as Lucia di Lammermoor courtesy of Karen Almond, Dallas Opera)

Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR

Occupy Opera

by Suzanne Calvin

A new work by British composer Peter Maxwell Davies for the Juilliard School got off with a bang last week. Heidi Waleson, writing for “The Wall Street Journal” noted: “With timid tonality pervading so many new operas, it was refreshing to hear the edgy, acerbic sounds of Peter Maxwell Davies’s “Kommilitonen!” presented by the Juilliard School last week. Mr. Maxwell Davies and librettist David Pountney, who also directed, used that agitated quality and a range of musical styles to deftly weave together three tales of student political action. Jointly commissioned by Juilliard and the Royal Academy of Music in London, where it had its premiere last spring, the opera was written specifically for conservatory students, and the large Juilliard cast captured the energy of these young characters and their commitment to their causes, for better or for worse, along with their age-appropriate temerity and sense of invincibility.”

You can check out the rest of Ms. Waleson’s review here…Maxwell Davies, by the way, is the man behind THE LIGHTHOUSE, the Dallas Opera’s inaugural production for our new chamber opera series, premiering in March.

Tickets go on sale to the general public in December.

Suzanne Calvin, Manager Director Media & PR

Subscriber Perk: Another Rave for Racette

by Suzanne Calvin

Seriously, there are lots of reasons to subscribe to the Dallas Opera but the perks this year seem, to me, some of the best ever. Especially the “Cabaret Evening with Patricia Racette” praised by Marilee Vergati in this issue of “Dallas Dance Examiner:”

“Racette’s renditions transformed classic songs into picturesque scenes reminiscent of the golden years of Broadway, romantic heroines in 1940s films and touching love lost memories from everyone’s personal experience. The smart lyrics by Hart, Berlin, Gershwin, Piaf, Sondheim, Arlen and Porter were beautifully interpreted and nuanced.”

Read the rest of her review here. I hope you enjoyed it in person but, if not, subscribe and become one of the patrons we thank with a night of unforgettable music…next season.  (Photo by Devon Cass)

Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media and PR

Colorful Mini-Opera Cracks Jokes and Eggs

by Megan Meister

The cast of Doctor Miracle sign autographs after the October 30 performance at the Winspear Opera House. Photo by Luke McKenzie.

Colorful Mini-Opera Cracks Jokes and Eggs by Sally-Page Stuck

Just as a generous adult would share her opera glasses, the two-year-old opera patron to my left kindly offered to share her pacifier. Surely, she presumed opera could be intimidating and wanted to spare me distress. She needn’t have worried. The Dallas Opera’s production of Dr. Miracle was intended to be accessible to audiences of all ages. Gone are the intimidating, large sets and full orchestra.  A pint-sized, yet meticulous set gave just enough color and sense of place. Julian Reed elegantly played the entire accompaniment on a single piano. Only four singers performed an English-translated libretto.  There was nothing childish about the construction of the costumes. Tommy Bourgeois’ finely crafted costumes had the bright colors – chartreuse, peach, and maroon – which capture a child’s short attention. The house hummed with the well-behaved, excited murmurs of children eager to experience opera.

Only forty-five minutes long, Bizet’s one act opera is just the right length for introducing someone – child or adult -- to opera. Dr. Miracle is about a young man who goes to desperate lengths to marry his true love, outwitting her over-protective father.

Juxtaposed English libretto and classical singing emphasized the hilarious silliness of the text. An operatic quartet about an omelet received many giggles.  After considerable harmonizing over eggs and fresh butter, Veronica (Julie Ann Dieltz) finally stated the obvious; if they kept singing the omelet would get cold.

Julie Marx (Laurette) sang with crystal clear diction. Her voice was strong, delicate and beautiful, like fine bone china.

Zach Hess (Pasquin / Captain Silvio / Doctor Miracle) had the challenge of playing three characters, from grotesque to handsome. He did so with creativity and versatility. His voice had the smoothness and strength of fine vellum.

Njabulo Mthimkhulu played The Mayor as an overprotective, too-stern father. His slight African accent lent the character an even greater sense of authority. When he bellowed to his daughter, Laurette, “I’ll have a talk with your boyfriend,” it gets a laugh. Who hasn’t known a too-possessive father? Mr. Mthimkhulu’s comedic timing was on point. With a rich, velvet voice, great comedic timing and well-thought characterization, I expect great things from Mr. Mthimkhulu.

Produced in partnership with Dallas Children’s Theatre, SMU vocal Department and UNT Opera Program, the Dallas Opera’s Dr. Miracle runs through February with a varied cast.

"Raving" Lucia

by tdoadmin

The rave reviews for the Dallas Opera’s revival of “Lucia di Lammermoor” (playing through Sunday, November 6th in the Winspear Opera House) continue to pour in. The latest is from Marilee Vergati of “Dallas Dance Examiner” who found the production “musically rich” as well as well-acted.

Read her review here.  (Photo courtesy of Michael L. Haynes)

Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR

“Raving” Lucia

by Suzanne Calvin

The rave reviews for the Dallas Opera’s revival of “Lucia di Lammermoor” (playing through Sunday, November 6th in the Winspear Opera House) continue to pour in. The latest is from Marilee Vergati of “Dallas Dance Examiner” who found the production “musically rich” as well as well-acted.

Read her review here.  (Photo courtesy of Michael L. Haynes)

Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR

Loving Lucia, Turtle Creek News

by Suzanne Calvin

In case you can’t easily put your hands on “The Turtle Creek News,” here’s Martha Heimberg’s review of our season opening production:

TURTLE CREEK NEWS

Dallas Opera opens season with grand sets, costumes and a thrilling diva
Lucia de Lammermoor delivers the grand opera experience on opening night

Review by Martha Heimberg

I see a lot of first-rate theater in our city – and the Dallas Symphony is a fabulous experience. Still, the very ambition of grand opera – with it’s gorgeous costumes and lush sets and lighting and the swell of orchestra and voice – provides a special kind of transport to a realm of hyper beauty and sadness, where feelings often stifled are made suddenly rich and full.

Dallas Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Lucia Di Lammermoor directed by Garnett Bruce, at the glamorous and resonant Winspear Opera House, thrusts the audience into a thrilling world of brilliant color and high emotion – and holds us there for the entire evening. From music director and conductor Graeme Jenkins’s opening salvos in the pit, through the delicate matching of flute and voice mid-score to the final crescendos – opera happens!

The story is based on Sit Walter Scott’s fateful romance about a 19th Scottish lord who tricks his beautiful sister into giving up the man she loves, with tragic consequences for all. Donizetti’s songs are one wants from opera – melodious and filled with longing and expectation.

So much depends on the title character in this opera, and Romanian soprano Elena Mosuc’s lovely coloratura voice lifts off with the opening aria and carries us through the night. Mosuc has a vulnerable beauty about her, although her soaring voice also shows strength and daring. She’s perfect for the role of Lucia, both in her acting style and delivery of the songs of a woman reckless enough to defy her ambitious and powerful brother Enrico, played with style and menace by baritone Luca Grassi.

Mosuc’ s exquisite voice and presence is stunning in her solo arias, but it bends and lilts beautifully in her duets with her lover Edgardo, played by the handsome and full-voiced tenor Bryan Hymel. Even though their love is doomed, when they are singing together they evoke something eternal in the often fleeting perception of beauty in the love of a man and woman. Donizetti’s music has that quality – and these two singers truly embody this ideal.

All the singers have strong voices, and the chorus, under the direction chorus master Alexander Rom, sounds fabulous and look like a Renaissance painting when they gather in the great hall of the Lammermoor castle or at the graveyard in the final scene. Peter Hall’s rich and deeply colored costumes for men and women are works of art in themselves. Embroidered velvet, dashing boots and buckles and gleaming jewels are perfectly matched for chorus members and stars alike.

Henry Bardon’s magnificent set is built around high huge columns, lit in atmospheric muted and gloomy tones by lighting designer Marie Barnett. It all comes together magnificently in Act III when Edgardo laments Lucia’s supposed betrayal, and Hymel’s full tenor voice is touchingly gruffer by grief.

Lucia di Lammermoor, presented by the Dallas Opera, is onstage at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora, through Sunday November 6. Tickets are $25 to $275; for times and tickets, call 214-443-1000 or check www.dallasopera.org

A Lucia “Firing on All Cylinders”

by Suzanne Calvin

Another rave review for the Dallas Opera season opener, “Lucia di Lammermoor” which continues tonight at the Winspear Opera House at 7:30 PM. Here’s the view from a local critic already well-known to you for the quality of his work:  Olin Chism, writing on special assignment for the “Star-Telegram.”

It reads, in part:

“Sunday afternoon’s performance displayed top-rank singing in the major roles, solid performances among the supporting characters, excellent singing and playing by the chorus and orchestra, appropriately gloomy sets contrasted with bright period costumes, and understated stage direction (in Lucia’s most famous scene, she was mad but not rug-chewing mad).”

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/10/25/3473476/dallas-operas-lucia-is-great-across.html#tvg#ixzz1buLqi7jz

(Photo by Karen Almond)

Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR

A Lucia "Firing on All Cylinders"

by tdoadmin

Another rave review for the Dallas Opera season opener, “Lucia di Lammermoor” which continues tonight at the Winspear Opera House at 7:30 PM. Here’s the view from a local critic already well-known to you for the quality of his work:  Olin Chism, writing on special assignment for the “Star-Telegram.”

It reads, in part:

“Sunday afternoon’s performance displayed top-rank singing in the major roles, solid performances among the supporting characters, excellent singing and playing by the chorus and orchestra, appropriately gloomy sets contrasted with bright period costumes, and understated stage direction (in Lucia’s most famous scene, she was mad but not rug-chewing mad).”

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/10/25/3473476/dallas-operas-lucia-is-great-across.html#tvg#ixzz1buLqi7jz

(Photo by Karen Almond)

Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR