Still Bigger Than the Lone Star State!
Finals Round Scheduled for Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House
The AT&T Performing Arts Center, Dallas, Texas
DALLAS, TX, NOVEMBER 20, 2015 – The Dallas Opera wishes to remind potential candidates that applications for the expanded and revised Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, scheduled to take place on Friday, April 29, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. (Semi-Final Round) and Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. (Finals Round) will be accepted through tomorrow – Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.
Applications MUST be submitted via YAP Tracker, along with a $35 entry fee: https://www.yaptracker.com/applications/dallas-opera-guild-2016.
Those chosen by preliminary round judges to advance to the Semifinals Round in the acoustically acclaimed Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center will be notified on February 2, 2016.
Competitors in the critically acclaimed 2015 Competition took home prize monies totaling $18,500. Although this competition has as its primary focus, artists in the 18 to 34 age range, singers of any age may apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
As the competition sought to gain even greater prominence and significance, The Dallas Opera and The Dallas Opera Guild made two significant changes last year, prompting Dallas Morning News Classical Music Critic Scott Cantrell to write that the competition had “considerably upped its ante”:
- In order to attract the most talented applicant pool with the greatest potential, the eligibility criteria for applicants changed. Today, it is open to residents of all 50 states and U.S. Territories (including residents with a valid Green Card or H-1, H-2, H-3, I-20, K-1, O-1, P-2 and P-3 visas).
- The Finals Round, taking place on Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 6:30 pm in the Winspear Opera House, will be accompanied by The Dallas Opera Orchestra, conducted by TDO’s acclaimed Music Director, Emmanuel Villaume. Up to six finalists will participate, singing two arias each.
The impact of these changes was immediately perceived. Senior Classical Music Critic Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of theaterjones.com wrote: “The results surely exceeded expectations for this newly re-envisioned competition…It won’t take long to situate itself at the top of such events and become an important gold star on any young artist’s résumé.”
Judges for the expanded 28th Annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition have been drawn from distinguished performers and opera administrators and will also include General Director & CEO Keith Cerny, Music Director Emmanuel Villaume and TDO Artistic Administrator Ian Derrer.
The Dallas Opera is very pleased to announce the return of renowned arts administrator, educator and adjudicator Dr. Brian Zeger as Chair of the Judges Panel for the 2016 Vocal Competition.
Commented General Director & CEO Keith Cerny: “The Guild Competition took a bold step forward last year and the result was electrifying! Emmanuel Villaume and The Dallas Opera Orchestra brought a tangible level of excitement to these performances and clearly inspired the finalists to do their absolute best.
“I’m quite certain that this year’s competition will bring a whole new set of challenges and give us new opportunities to build on our previous success. Working closely with Dr. Brian Zeger, our esteemed adjudicators, and the Guild, we are well on our way to creating an event that attracts the very finest young singers of this generation.”
Judges for the 2016 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition:
Brian Zeger, Chair
Artistic Director of Juilliard’s Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts and Executive Director for the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera
General Director and CEO, The Dallas Opera
Music Director, The Dallas Opera
Artistic Administrator, The Dallas Opera
General Director, Seattle Opera
Associate Artistic Administrator, The Metropolitan Opera
Senior Director of Artistic Planning, Los Angeles Opera
Director of Artistic Administration, Houston Grand Opera
Dallas Opera Guild Co-President Jana Irwin explained that “the life of The Dallas Opera Guild revolves around this annual competition, because all of us feel so strongly about the need to support the future of opera. Greater prominence within the music industry can only translate into greater benefits for those lucky enough to be selected to participate, making this a win-win situation for all concerned.”
Dallas Opera Guild 2016 Vocal Competition Chair Ketty Fitzgerald explains that “the ultimate goal – now and always – is to serve the artists and this art form by creating a showcase for their talents that will help to advance their careers. We are equally dedicated to providing financial assistance (with no strings attached) allowing the singer to determine exactly how that money should be spent. In short, we give them room to breathe.”
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE DALLAS OPERA
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TEXAS INSTRUMENTS, 2015-2016 SEASON SPONSOR FOR THE DALLAS OPERA’S “SEEKING THE HUMAN ELEMENT” SEASON
The Dallas Opera Family Performances are generously supported by
Texas Instruments and the Betty and Steve Suellentrop Educational Outreach Fund.
TDO Family Performances are a part of the
Perot Foundation Education and Community Outreach Programs
Ticket Information for the 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 indicated. Single Tickets range from $19 to $275. Full Subscriptions start at $99, Flex Subscriptions (three-performances of your choice) begin at $75. Family performance tickets are just $5. For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at www.dallasopera.org.
The Dallas Opera is presenting the delightful children’s opera The Billy Goats Gruff at Dallas Children’s Theater, Sunday, July 26, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person and are available by calling 214-443-1000 or by visiting www.dallasopera.org/family.
The story centers on three friends, Lucy, Dandini, and Ernesto, who are bullied as they walk home from school. Lucy’s doll is stolen by the bully, Osmin, who also prevents the students from crossing a bridge to get home. The students work together to handle the situation and ultimately teach Osmin about the importance of kindness. At one point, toward the end of the opera, the three friends hold up chalk boards with the words “Kindness is Contagious.”
The Billy Goats Gruff is an adaptation by John Davies of the popular folk tale based on scenes from operas by well-known composers W.A. Mozart, G. Donizetti and G. Rossini. It is performed in English and reinforces messages of anti-bullying, the importance of kindness and attending school regularly. Telling the story through the magic of opera with professionally trained, talented young performers singing and acting, delightful music, costumes, a set and piano accompaniment captivates the children and holds their attention as important messages are conveyed through exciting, live entertainment.
Dallas Children’s Theater is located at 5938 Skillman Street, Dallas, 75231.
The Dallas Opera’s Family Performances are presented by Texas Instruments with additional support by Lockheed Martin and are part of The Perot Foundation Education and Community Outreach Programs. They are generously supported by The Betty and Steve Suellentrop Educational Outreach Fund.
The Dallas Opera is committed to bringing quality family programs to North Texas.
By Celeste Hart, Communications Manager, The Dallas Opera
A Fashion Show like no other! Gorgeous custom gowns inspired by our “Heights of Passion” season, dozens of incredible Roberto Cavalli evening wear designs, a delectable Wolfgang Puck Luncheon, all presented at the Winspear Opera House. Reservations now being taken! Read more →
As someone who tends to look at things with a critical eye, I often read rave reviews with a certain amount of suspicion. The reviewer must have missed something, I think, or maybe he simply has low standards. It can’t have been as good as he says.
Now I find myself in the enemy camp, as it were. I am about to write an uncustomary rave for The Dallas Opera’s production of Boris Godunov. And I must try to convince my readers that it really was that good.
Until last week, I was relatively unfamiliar with Mussorgsky’s magnum opus. I knew that it was considered the great Russian opera, but did not know a note of it until when I checked the old Herbert von Karajan recording out of the library a few days prior to the performance. It is very different from the perennially popular Italian operas, resembling French grand opera in its scope and structure, and Wagnerian opera in its emphasis on orchestral commentary and a long musical line. But comparisons do not do it justice; it is a completely unique creation. Before the performance, I was given the opportunity of interviewing cast member Stephen Haal, who had some interesting thoughts about the music. With some composers, he said, you can discern a master plan for the work even while you’re in the middle of singing it; Mussorgsky, on the other hand, seemed almost to be “composing from reflexes,” letting his “nationalistic gut” carry the day.
Dallas mounts a production originally conceived by the late Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky for Covent Garden. It utilizes one basic set as a backdrop for the action, a practice that seems to be growing more and more popular in opera productions; thankfully, this one is both tasteful and accurate to the period: a courtyard with fortifications still under construction, manifestly the work of generations. It is, moreover, easily manipulated; lighting, props, and choreography differentiate the individual scenes. Some of the symbolism eluded me (the business in the background during Pimen’s narration, the appearance of an angelic figure at the end of the opera) eluded me, but I understood and appreciated enough of it to trust Tarkovsky with the rest.
To help bring his vision to life, TDO has assembled a fantastic cast consisting mostly of singers from Russia and other ex-Soviet countries, with a few Americans aiding and abetting. Most can act as well as they can sing, and there’s not a weak link among them.
In particular, Mikhail Kazakov gives a towering performance in the title role. He possesses what is simply one of the most beautiful bass voices I have ever had the pleasure of hearing, and is as effective in lyrical passages as in those calling for dramatic declamation. Kazakov’s tsar is charismatic and authoritative, gentle with his children, and haunted by the memories of his bloody rise to power. His downward spiral into madness was completely convincing. Two moments especially stood out to me: his crazed, wide-eyed “Why aren’t you laughing, Shuisky?” and, in the last scene, his defiant “I am still tsar!”
Boris is an opera much beloved by basses, for it includes two more leading roles for that voice type. Vitaly Efanov sings magisterially as Pimen, the chronicler-monk, but doesn’t generate as much excitement as his fellow cast members; this could be due as much to the role as his performance, as it isn’t a particularly interesting part. As yet another monk—this one a drunkard and a vagabond—Mikhail Kolelishvilli provides superb comic relief and a powerful voice. His Ballad of Kazan was the only number that was greeted with mid-scene applause.
In the crucial part of the novice Grigory, later the Pretender Dmitri, tenor Evgeny Akimov offers thrilling and inspired vocalism—perhaps the best in the show, after Kazakov’s. The other high-lying male role is filled by David Cangelosi. His voice is unusually rich and powerful for a character tenor, and he and Kazakov make their Act II confrontation a highlight merely through the excellence of their acting.
The two remaining principals dominated the famous Polish act. Elena Bochariva as Marina makes an excellent argument for casting the role with a mezzo (as the sole female lead, it is sometimes given to sopranos instead). She brings to the music a welcome exoticism, and her range encompasses both chesty lows and blazing highs. Baritone Sergei Leiferkus does not have the loveliest voice, but he plays the part of the Jesuit Rangoni with glittering, evil gusto. Stalking about with a shaved head and dark robes, he scarcely seems human, and at one point hovers gargoyle-like over Marina’s prone body.
The Dallas Opera chorus and children’s chorus do an excellent job portraying the other important character in Mussorgsky’s vision, that of the Russian people. Meanwhile, the opera’s General Music Director, Graeme Jenkins, leads stirringly in the pit, eliciting some powerful and expressive playing from the orchestra.
Obviously, a Russian opera, lasting nearly four hours with one intermission, will not be for everybody. But if you think it might be, and are not completely sure, go and allow The Dallas Opera to convince you. They certainly succeeded with me.
Dallas, TX – In its second season at the new Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, the Dallas Opera presented the opening night of Rigoletto on March 25, 2011. Rigoletto, by Giuseppe Verdi with libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, was based on a play by Victor Hugo. Rigoletto originally opened in 1851 in Venice.
Maestro Pietro Rizzo, who received his master’s degree in Violin Performance from Dallas’ own Southern Methodist University, conducted. Harry Silverstein, Stage Director, has directed several contemporary works, including those by Phillip Glass. Mr. Silberstein’s superb stage direction helped make this nineteenth century opera riveting and meaningful to modern audiences. Michael Yeargan designed the stunning set. The expressive costumed were designed by Peter Hall.
Internationally acclaimed Italian baritone, Paolo Gavanelli performed title role expertly. Mr. Gavanelli has a mournful pathos to his voice, which compelled sympathy from the audience. Dallas native, Soprano Laura Claycomb, played Rigoletto’s daughter, Gilda. It is a role she has played internationally in several acclaimed opera houses. Her clear soprano voice lent a poignant innocence to the role. Tenor James Valenti played the lecherous Duke of Mantua. Dashing and seductive, he sang with confidence.
The Dallas Opera’s enthralling production of Rigoletto captured the helplessness of a lower class, whose lives were cursed by the whims of bored courtiers. Rage was the only weapon against this tyranny and a completely useless one. This is a universal story of a father who has seen the horrors of an oppressive society and who desperately tries to protect his innocent, naive daughter.
A deformed hunchback, Rigoletto has only one choice to support himself and his only daughter; he must be the jester to the Duke of Mantua and hurl sarcastic insults to whomever the Duke commands.
In his modest, private home, Rigoletto is a different man. He is a tender father to Gilda and mourns the loss of his wife, Gilda’s mother. Having seen the brutish entertainment of the courts firsthand, Rigoletto wants to shield his daughter. He refuses to let her leave their modest home, except to go to church. She naively falls in love with a handsome man she sees at church, unaware this is the Duke.
The focus of this production was the tender relationship between Rigoletto and Gilda. Their scenes were downstage as they were bathed in warm light, often while other characters were in shadowy light.
The curtain opened onto a large mural of a deep blackish-blue storm over hills and a lake. The mural was made of concentric proscenium arches. During the overture, the center square opened to reveal a shockingly red center with a tortured Rigoletto, as he put on his jester costume. It takes a strong actor to display such depths of emotion without words and Mr. Gavanelli delivered. Gavanelli depicted a grown man tortured by circumstances and forced to wear the demeaning costume of court jester.
In the home scene, Rigoletto and Gilda interact only with each other, the lights on them as Giovanna (Quinn Patrick) sits alone in shadow, waiting and looking out the window. As Rigoletto and Gilda sing of their love for each other, one could not help but wonder why Giovanna sits staring out the window. What or whom is she expecting? When the Duke appears and gives Giovanna a bag of money, it becomes clear she has been expecting the Duke, having long ago planned the betrayal.
Gilda, thinking the Duke is a poor student, falls in love with him. She sings Caro nome with breathtaking innocence and joy of first love. She sings the notes not merely as exercises in the singers’ ability to execute them, but an outgrowing of the emotion of a young innocent in love for the first time. A particularly impressive moment was when Ms. Claycomb sang the highest notes of the aria while lying on her back.
After her seduction, Gilda runs to her father, wrapped in a heavy blanket with the Duke’s crest on it. She is no longer herself, but covered in the Duke’s identity.
Why did the opera open with a dark, stormy mural? Why did the mural center open onto a tortured Rigoletto bathed in light and standing in a bright red box? Was this his prison? Did the director want to show Rigoletto imprisoned in the degrading stunts he had to perform at court?
Why was Giovanna waiting at the window? Was she eager to betray her charge or desperate for the money the Duke would bring? Was she desperate for money because Rigoletto had so little to give her?
In Act Three, the Duke visits the inn of the assassin, Sparafucile. Bass Raymond Aceto lent a frighteningly eeriness to the role. When the Duke enters, he commands Sparafucile to bring his sister, Maddalena (Kirstin Chavez). They comply. Why were Sparafucile and Maddalena agreeable to accommodate the Duke’s debauchery? Were they desperate for his money, too? Later, after Sparafucile accepts money to kill the Duke, Maddalena begs her brother to spare the Duke’s life. Were they thinking of sparing his life out of concern for him or did they want to get more money out of him?
Rigoletto also showcased the work of Resident Artist, tenor Aaron Blake. Mr. Blake sang as one of the fickle courtiers, a role he learned in only two days.
The Dallas Opera’s production of Rigoletto is a poignant examination of class. The poorer classes resorted to desperate measures in order to survive yet were crushed by those attempts. Curses upon Rigoletto did not seem mythical, but a harsh commentary of class and oppression.