THE U.S. PREMIERE OF MICHEL VAN DER AA’s
OPENING FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2018
The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House
AT&T Performing Arts Center
AN “OCCULT MYSTERY FILM OPERA”
WITH A LIBRETTO BY DAVID MITCHELL
CONDUCTED BY NICOLE PAIEMENT
ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES: March 11, 14, 17, 2018
Sunken Garden is made possible by an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation
DALLAS, TX, FEBRUARY 16, 2018 – This may be the first time in the U.S. that 3-D glasses will be handed out to patrons as they enter an opera house. The fourth production of The Dallas Opera’s decidedly adventurous 61st Season is SUNKEN GARDEN, an opera by Dutch composer/director Michel van der Aa with a libretto by acclaimed Science Fiction novelist David Mitchell.
This production opens on Friday, March 9, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center for the first of four performances.
Michel van der Aa’s contemporary operatic masterpiece has been applauded by both critics and audiences as “a fantastical tale to set the ears and eyes popping” (New York Times headline). The U.S. premiere of this groundbreaking opera will be directed by the composer himself—working with live singers interacting with both 2-D and 3-D film.
Described by its creator as an “occult mystery film opera,” Sunken Garden fuses film and live performance to deliver what Steve Smith of The New York Times called “a bold, rewarding venture” during its 2013 English National Opera world premiere at the Barbican. The production coming to Dallas was reworked for a successful 2015 relaunch of the production at Opéra de Lyon.
A film maker’s obsession with the disappearance of a young girl leads to the discovery of a walled garden, which is the barrier between life and death. Does this place actually exist or is it just a stunning journey of the imagination? Either way, it immerses audiences into a world of crime and mystery to create a one-of-a-kind production unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.
Sunken Garden will star English baritone Roderick Williams as Toby Kramer,
British soprano Katherine Manley as Zenna Briggs, and renowned Swedish soprano Miah Persson (the Marnie and Kern Wildenthal Principal Artist) as Iris Marinus. It also stars (on film) crossover singer-composer Kate Miller-Heidke (The Rabbits) as Amber Jaquemain, and British baritone Jonathan McGovern as Simon Vines. All will be making their Dallas Opera debuts in this production.
Williams has been praised for “his astonishing ability to perform highly emotional music…from the top of his vocal range (where he was clear as a bell and his diction impeccable) to rich, low notes that stirred the heart” (Laura Kate Wilson, Bachtrack).
Sunken Garden will be conducted by the Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement, who has developed an international reputation as a conductor of contemporary music and opera.
Wayne Lee Gay of D Magazine’s Front Row wrote of The Dallas Opera’s 2015 world premiere of Everest: “(Paiement) combined old-fashioned precision and discipline with up-to-the-minute insight into the complex modernity of the score.” Recent engagements for Maestra Paiement have included Kevin Puts’ Silent Night at Atlanta Opera, Handel’s Xerxes at Glimmerglass, a revival of Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer’s Everest for Lyric Opera of Kansas City and a double bill of Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti and Jake Heggie’s At the Statue of Venus for Opera Parallèle, where she serves as Artistic Director.
Upcoming conducting engagements for Nicole Paiement include Bernstein’s Candide for Washington National Opera, Kevin Puts’ Silent Night for both Glimmerglass and WNO, Mason Bates’ The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs for Seattle Opera and Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking for Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Set and lighting design for Sunken Garden is by Theun Mosk with costumes by Astrid Schulz and sound design by Tom Gelissen in their company debuts. Wig and make-up design is by Dawn Rivard.
The Dallas Opera 2018 production of Sunken Garden is made possible by an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. The Dallas Opera’s newest restaurant partner, Musume, is sponsoring the production’s 3-D glasses.
Sunken Garden was originally a co-commission/co-production of English National Opera and London’s Barbican Centre, Opéra National de Lyon, the Toronto Festival of Arts Culture and Creativity, and associate co-producer – the Holland Festival. This opera also marked the first collaboration between the composer and British novelist David Mitchell (The Bone Clocks, Cloud Atlas).
Heidi Waleson, reviewing for The Wall Street Journal described the experience: “The inventive and haunting music is acoustic and electronic, live and prerecorded, classical and pop…Film and music align seamlessly; neither would make sense without the other…When the live singers enter the 3-D garden, the music grows richer and more expansive…The images here are spectacular: the opulent trees and flowers; the quivering holograms of the two captives, Amber and Simon; and the vertical pool through which Zenna enters and departs, which explodes out toward the audience as a shower of droplets or a giant, whirling funnel.
“The fine singers—live and on film—adeptly captured the ferocity and pathos in Sunken Garden. And the lively actors…were completely believable…technical wizardry enhanced the humanity of the piece rather than overwhelming it,” Ms. Waleson added.
Antony Craig of Gramophone (UK) emphasized that SUNKEN GARDEN is a compelling theatrical work: “This is real drama and it works dramatically. The mystery is as complex as TV film noir. The spoken interviews work as film and the 3D successfully drew me right into the sunken garden. Crucially, Sunken Garden works as opera, with Van der Aa’s fusion of musical styles matching the fusion of mediums.”
And Andrew Clement of The Guardian added, “Van der Aa has directed the show as well as the often sumptuous-looking film sequences. As always he’s done it with immense technical skill, and both his orchestral writing and the electronic soundtrack are strikingly effective.”
Sunken Garden runs approximately one hour and fifty minutes. It is presented without an intermission.
Three additional performances of Michel van der Aa’s Sunken Garden will take place on March 11(2:00 p.m. matinee), 14, and 17, 2018. Single tickets begin at just $19. Current season subscribers may renew their seats for 2018-2019 by contacting The Dallas Opera Ticket Office, at 214.443.1000.
Sunken Garden will be performed in English with English supertitles projected above the stage at each performance.
ABOUT THE DALLAS OPERA
Founded in 1957, The Dallas Opera is an internationally-recognized innovator dedicated to the overall advancement of the operatic art form and the support of established and emerging artists, as well as the education and development of new opera audiences in North Texas—and beyond. These goals are achieved by commissioning and producing world-class opera; through ground-breaking institutes, national competitions and topical programs; and by presenting opera in both traditional and non-traditional formats and venues in order to attract patrons of every age, background, educational level, and ethnicity—while engaging with more than 87,000 people in our community each year. TDO is equally committed to the task of responsible stewardship and is managed with efficiency and accountability, to the highest possible standards.
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The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: Elsa von Seggern Foundation, Texas Instruments Foundation, the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs; the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera. Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera.
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THE DALLAS OPERA 2017-2018 SPRING SEASON MAINSTAGE INFORMATION
The Dallas Opera celebrates its Sixty-First International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 p.m. unless otherwise stated. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance and assistance is available for the hearing impaired. With the exception of FIRST NIGHT, The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talk will begin one hour prior to curtain, at most performances.
THE RING OF POLYKRATES & VIOLIN CONCERTO IN D MAJOR
A sweeping Viennese concerto paired with a charming domestic comedy!
By Erich Wolfgang Korngold
February 9, 11 (m), 14 and 17, 2018
Violin Soloist (KORNGOLD CONCERTO): Augustin Dumay*
The Dallas Opera Orchestra conducted by Emmanuel Villaume
THE RING OF POLYKRATES
Sumptuous Viennese music laced with orchestral color and wit!
Libretto by Leo Feld
Time:Early 20th century
Set Designer: Donald Eastman*
Costume Designer: Tommy Bourgeois
Lighting Designer:Krista Billings
Wig & Make-up Designer:Dawn Rivard
Starring:Paul Groves* (Wilhelm Arndt), Laura Wilde* (Laura), Brenton Ryan (Florian Döbllinger), Susannah Biller* (Lieschen), and Craig Colclough* (Peter Vogel).
One of the most rarely performed opera gems! In its third professional U.S. production!
SUNKEN GARDEN by Michel van der Aa
March 9, 11 (m), 14 and 17, 2018
A phenomenal visual, musical and emotional adventure – live and in 3-D!
Libretto by David Mitchell
Time: Present Day
Conductor: Nicole Paiement
Director: Michel van der Aa*
Set Designer: Theun Mosk**
Costume Designer: Astrid Schulz**
Lighting Designer: Theun Mosk**
Sound Designer: Tom Gelissen*
Wig & Make-up Designer: Dawn Rivard
Starring: Roderick Williams* (Toby Kramer), Katherine Manley* (Zenna Briggs), and Miah Persson* (Iris Marinus).
Combining live actors and 2-D and 3-D film, to take you where opera has never gone before!
DON GIOVANNI by W.A. Mozart
April 13, 15 (m), 18, 21, 27 and 29 (m), 2018
Mozart’s operatic masterpiece brought vividly to life under the baton of Music Director Emmanuel Villaume!
Time: 20th century
Place: Seville, Spain and the surrounding countryside
Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume
Director: Robert Falls*
Set Designer: Walt Spangler*
Costume Designer: Ana Kuzmanic*
Original Lighting Designer: Duane Schuler
Lighting Designer: Chris Maravich
Wig & Make-up Designer: Dawn Rivard
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Mariusz Kwiecień (Don Giovanni), Laura Claycomb (Donna Anna), David Portillo* (Don Ottavio), Katie Van Kooten* (Donna Elvira), Kyle Ketelsen* (Leporello), Virginie Verrez (Zerlina), Craig Verm (Masetto), and Morris Robinson (The Commendatore).
An evocative and thrilling production from Lyric Opera of Chicago!
* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut