FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, February 22, 2019
Contact: Suzanne Calvin 214.443.1014
The Dallas Opera is Proud to Present
PUCCINI: A MARCH MINI-FEST
Beginning One Week from Today!
Manon Lescaut (Semi-Staged) March 1-9, 2019
La bohème (Full Production) March 15-31, 2019
Conducted by Music Director Emmanuel Villaume and Guest Conductor Giuliano Carella (Bohème)
Directed by Edward Berkeley and Tomer Zvulun
Stellar International Casts!
Manon Lescaut: Kristin Lewis, Gregory Kunde, Musa Ngqungwana, Andrea Silvestrelli, Jonas Hacker and Mark S. Doss
La Bohème: Jean-François Borras, Pumeza Matshikiza, Anthony Clark Evans, Sara Gartland, Will Liverman, Nicholas Brownlee and Samuel Ramey
Manon Lescaut Underwriters: Marnie and Kern Wildenthal
La bohème – The Eleanor Ford Penrose Mainstage Production
Underwriters: Phyllis and Tom McCasland, James R. Seitz, Jr.
Tickets and Information at dallasopera.org
Prices start at Just $19
DALLAS, TX, FEBRUARY 22, 2019 – The Dallas Opera is extremely pleased to present a month-long mini-fest during the month of March, in celebration of one of the greatest and most influential composers in the history of opera: Giacomo Puccini. Two of Puccini’s most important operas will be presented: a semi-staged version of Manon Lescaut, the work that established Puccini as heir to Verdi’s mantle, and a fully-staged production of La bohème, the opera that catapulted the composer to the ranks of the immortals. Created just three years apart, both operas overflow with lush, unforgettable melodies and poignant, heart-rending drama.
Manon Lescaut will open for the first of four performances on Friday, March 1, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center (with additional performances on March 3(m), 6 and 9) conducted by Music Director Emmanuel Villaume and directed by Edward Berkeley in his company debut.
La bohème, the Eleanor Ford Penrose Mainstage Production, will open for the first of six performances on Friday, March 15, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. (with additional performances March 17(m) – The Amy and Vernon Faulconer Performance, March 20, 23, 29 & 31(m) in the Winspear) conducted by Guest Conductor Giuliano Carella and staged by director Tomer Zvulun.
Ticket prices start at just $19 and can be purchased online at www.dallasopera.org or through The Dallas Opera Ticket Office at 214.443.1000.
The outstanding international casts for these two operas include Kristin Lewis in the title role of Manon Lescaut, Gregory Kunde as Des Grieux, Jean-François Borras as Rodolfo (performances made possible with support from The Charron and Peter Denker Rising Stars Endowment Fund), Pumeza Matshikiza in her American debut as Mimì, Anthony Clark Evans as Marcello, Sara Gartland as Musetta, Musa Ngqungwana as Lescaut, Andrea Silvestrelli as Geronte de Revoir, Will Liverman as Schaunard, Nicholas Brownlee as Colline, Jonas Hacker as Edmondo and the legendary Samuel Ramey (The Greg Swalwell and Terry Connor Featured Soloist) in the dual roles of Benoit/Alcindoro.
The semi-staged production of Manon Lescaut, set in France and America in the second half of the 18th century, is designed by Tommy Bourgeois and will incorporate several images from the collections of The Dallas Museum of Art.
This production of Manon Lescaut is underwritten by Marnie and Kern Wildenthal and dedicated by The Dallas Opera “to the loving memory of Margaret McDermott, whose spirit of arts collaboration in Dallas is beautifully displayed in these performances.”
“Manon Lescaut, in addition to being Puccini’s first major success, contains within it all those distinct compositional elements and the extraordinary musical inspiration that he later brought to La bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly and La fanciulla del West,” says Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume. “It’s like a gorgeous diamond in the raw—mesmerizing and even more powerful before those later refinements.
“And all the more poignant,” Villaume adds.
This will be Maestro Villaume’s third TDO production this season, after guiding patron-pleasing, critically acclaimed performances of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman and Bizet’s Carmen last fall. He returned to New York’s Metropolitan Opera in November to conduct The Pearl Fishers followed by winter engagements with the PKF Prague Philharmonia, where he serves as Music Director and Chief Conductor. Villaume returns to Europe this spring to conduct Massenet’s Don Quichotte for Deutsche Oper Berlin and continues to be very much in demand in the recording studio, as well.
Manon Lescaut’s director, Edward Berkeley, is on the faculty of The Juilliard School and teaches courses on Shakespeare at Circle in the Square Theater School and at Pace University. Mr. Berkeley also serves as Artistic Director of Willow Cabin Theatre Company in New York City, where he directed the Tony-and-Drama Desk-nominated Wilder, Wilder, Wilder and other heralded productions.
The title role will be portrayed by American lyrico-spinto soprano Kristin Lewis, known for her rich, well focused, and “luminous” sound. Named 2010 Artist of the Year by Savonlinna Opera Festival, Ms. Lewis recently conquered audiences in Berlin as Elisabetta in Don Carlo and earned rave reviews for her star turn as Aida at the Gstaad Menuhin Festival and in Hong Kong. “There seemed to be nothing her spinto soprano couldn’t do,” wrote ClassicalSource.com “travelling effortlessly from her capacious mezzo voice to her gleaming heights and spinning miraculous control of tone and dynamics.”
Tenor Gregory Kunde is regarded as one of the most accomplished singers on the opera stage today. This operatic “iron man” was named “Male Singer of the Year” at the 2016 International Opera Awards and maintains an impressive schedule of engagements at major houses and venues around the world. This season alone, Mr. Kunde is singing in Japan, Madrid, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and at Vienna State Opera (not to mention Dallas, where he will sing the role of Chevalier des Grieux).
South African bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana, praised by The New York Times for his “rich, glowing voice and elegant legato,” first captivated TDO audiences as Queequeg in the 2016 revival of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick. Recent career highlights include singing Angelotti in Tosca with the Canadian Opera Company, Gottardo in La gazza ladra at the Glimmerglass Festival, and Stephen Komalo in Lost in the Stars at Washington National Opera.
Italian bass Andrea Silvestrelli, “a veritable powerhouse” of a performer (Houston Chronicle) will sing the role of Des Grieux’s romantic rival for Manon’s favors, Geronte de Revoir. This much sought-after bassi profundi recently gave darkly dazzling performances of Fasolt in Das Rheingold and Hagen in Götterdämmerung for San Francisco Opera; Nourabad in The Pearl Fishers and Timur in Turandot at Lyric Opera of Chicago; the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo for Washington National Opera; and Hunding in Die Walküre at the National Taichung Theater in Taiwan.
Tenor Jonas Hacker earned rave reviews for his portrayal of Timothy Laughlin in Fellow Travelers at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and his Opera San Jose debut in Cinderella, an opera by Alma Deutscher. His 2018-19 Schedule includes a role debut as Almaviva in The Barber of Seville at Annapolis Opera, as well as engagements with Music of the Baroque and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mr. Hacker makes his TDO debut in the role of Edmondo.
Grammy Award-winning bass-baritone Mark S. Doss (Innkeeper) has performed 95 roles with more than 60 major opera companies from La Scala to Covent Garden to San Francisco. Earlier this season, he debuted in our season opener, The Flying Dutchman, as Senta’s father, the greedy Daland, prompting Wayne Lee Gay of Texas Classical Review to write that he “matched the power and gorgeous tone of (Greer) Grimsley’s Dutchman.”
Rounding out the cast are mezzo-soprano Alyssa Martin as the Singer; tenor Matthew Grills as the Dance Master; tenor Clay Hilley as the Lamplighter; bass-baritone Mark McCrory as Sergeant of the Royal Archers; and bass David Leigh as a Naval Captain.
Lighting design is by Krista Billings; wig and make up design by Dawn Rivard; and chorus preparation by Dallas Opera Chorus Master Alexander Rom.
La bohème makes a welcome return to the Winspear stage in the second half of TDO’s March Mini-Fest. Giuliano Carella, President of I Solisti Veneti since 1990 and a conductor known throughout the world, will guide this production from the podium, with stage direction by the renowned Tomer Zvulun, General and Artistic Director of Atlanta Opera. Zvulun has been praised as one of the most exciting directors of his generation.
Thrilling French tenor Jean-François Borras stars as the romantic poet Rodolfo. Mr. Borras made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Werther to enormous critical acclaim—a role he will reprise at Vienna State Opera (along with Alfredo in La traviata). Other upcoming engagements include Faust at Hamburg State Opera and Carmen at Opera Hong Kong.
South African soprano Pumeza Matshikiza will be making her U.S. debut on the Winspear stage in the role of Mimì, the fragile seamstress. A member of Stuttgart State Opera, her engagements today take her far and wide and include both classic repertoire and world premieres like Giorgio Battistelli’s CO2 at La Scala and Luca Francesconi’s Bread, Water and Salt, based on the famous speech by Nelson Mandela. After hearing her, a critic for Britain’s The Spectator wrote, “I think I’ve found the new Maria Callas.”
This production of La bohème is generously underwritten by Phyllis and Tom McCasland and James R. Seitz, Jr.
“We selected a relatively young cast in order to better tell the story of the principal characters themselves,” explains Dallas Opera Artistic Administrator David Lomeli, and I’m thrilled to discover the depth of personal experience they bring to these roles. Pumeza is an incredibly-gifted soprano, born in South Africa during the Era of Apartheid, who brings intelligence, exquisite artistry and profound human emotion to her characterizations.
“I consider Jean-François Borras the ‘Cal Ripken’ of opera, having earned a place as one of the top tenors onstage today through the exceptional artistry and consistency he brings to his roles.
“Anthony Clark Evans,” Lomeli adds, “is one of the finest voices America has produced in the last decade. His Marcello will undoubtedly be one to remember.
“Sara Gartland brings vocal warmth and genuine humanity to her portrayal of the flighty Musetta, while Will Liverman and Nicolas Brownlee bring charisma, balance and gravitas to the supporting roles of Colline and Schaunard.
“In a final bit of luxury casting,” Lomeli notes, “we have the great Samuel Ramey, generally recognized as the American basso of the 20th century, in a dual role.
“Tomer Zvulun is one of the most-watched directors of our day. Combined with the experience of Maestro Giuliano Carella—who has wrestled with the demands of Puccini many times in the course of his career—they will give this young cast a very firm foundation on which to create.”
2017 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World main prize finalist Anthony Clark Evans will sing the role of the impetuous Marcello. The accomplished baritone supported himself, for a time, by selling cars while he continued to pursue his dream of becoming an opera singer. After winning major prizes, he dropped his day job and has since debuted at San Francisco Opera in the role of Sharpless, New York’s Metropolitan Opera as the Huntsman in Rusalka, and Montano in Otello at Lyric Opera of Chicago—recently returning to sing Riccardo in I Puritani.
Soprano Sara Gartland (Musetta) recently earned rave reviews in the title role of Rusalka for Des Moines Metro Opera, a role she also performed at Arizona Opera. Other recent highlights include Musetta at San Diego Opera, Marzelline in Fidelio for Opera Omaha, Adina in L’elisir d’amore at Austin Lyric Opera, Violetta for both Arizona and Utah Opera and her memorable TDO debut as Micaëla in Carmen, which prompted Dallas Morning News Classical Music Critic Scott Cantrell to call her “a soprano of immediately arresting strength, clarity and expressive nuance.”
The role of the musican, Schaunard, will be shared by two exceptional singers: baritones Will Liverman (in his company debut) and, for the March 20th performance only, Gideon Dabi who appeared as Morales in TDO’s Carmen earlier this season (“a highlight” of the production according to Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of TheaterJones.com).
Mr. Liverman is an artist of great versatility, appearing as Malcolm Fleet in the Metropolitan Opera’s recent production of Marnie, the key role of The Pilot in Tulsa Opera’s revival of The Little Prince, and as Dizzy Gillespie in the world premiere of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird with Opera Philadelphia. He was recently awarded the 2019 Sphinx Medal of Excellence.
Bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee makes his company debut as the book-loving scholar, Colline, about whom Maria Nockin of Opera Today wrote: “Nicholas Brownlee sang his Overcoat Aria with burnished bronze tones.” He is a first prize winner of the Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition, winner of the Zarzuela prize at Operalia, and Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Prize Winner. Recently, Mr. Brownlee made his Met Opera debut as the First Soldier in Salome. This Rice University alumnus has made numerous appearances at L.A. Opera under the baton of James Colon, and is in demand, worldwide, on both the opera and concert stage.
Bass Samuel Ramey needs no introduction. This legendary American artist who is believed to be the most-recorded operatic bass of all time, will appear in the dual role of Benoit/Alcindoro. Mr. Ramey’s interpretations embrace the bel canto of Bellini, Rossini, and Donizetti; the lyric and dramatic roles of Mozart and Verdi; and the heroic roles of the Russian and French repertoires. His astounding artistry and versatility has electrified opera audiences for decades.
Tenor Don O’Neal LeBlanc is the toy seller Parpignol, following his appearances as a soloist in The Dallas Opera’s 2015 Inaugural Concert for the Institute for Women Conductors and in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.
Also appearing are bass-baritone Andrew Ward as a Custom House Officer; bass-baritone Christopher Harrison as a Sergeant; treble Michael Blumenthal as a Child; and tenor Dan Crowell as the Prune Seller.
The upcoming production of La bohème features sets originally designed for Opera Theatre of St. Louis by Erhard Rom with costumes designed by Peter J. Hall for The Dallas Opera. Lighting design is by Robert Wierzel; wigs and make-up by Dawn Rivard, with chorus preparation by Chorus Master Alexander Rom and Children’s Chorus Master/Associate Artistic Administrator Meredith Wallace.
Tickets and information are available, 24/7, at dallasopera.org. You may also consult the friendly specialists in The Dallas Opera Ticket Office at 214-443-1000 during regular business hours. Pricing for single tickets begin at just $19.
2018-2019 SEASON SPONSOR
The Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Family
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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TICKET INFORMATION FOR THE 2018-2019 DALLAS OPERA SEASON
All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise indicated. Flex Subscriptions are on sale now; single tickets range from $19 to $289 (excluding boxes). Family performance tickets are just $5. For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at www.dallasopera.org.
THE DALLAS OPERA 2018-2019 MAINSTAGE SEASON: SPRING
The Dallas Opera celebrates its 62nd 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.
MANON LESCAUT by Giacomo Puccini
Semi-Staged Concert, March 1, 3 (m), 6, 9, 2019
Featuring images of select art works from the collections of The Dallas Museum of Art!
The woman who has everything discovers too late that she has nothing – without true love!
Libretto by Domenico Oliva and Luigi Illica
Time: Late 18th century
Place: France and America
Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume
Director: Edward Berkeley
Costume Designer: Tommy Bourgeois
Lighting Designer: Krista Billings
Wig & Make-up Designer: Dawn Rivard
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Kristin Lewis* (Manon Lescaut), Musa Ngqungwana (Lescaut), Gregory Kunde (Chevalier des Grieux), Andrea Silvestrelli (Geronte de Ravoir), Jonas Hacker* (Edmondo), Mark S. Doss (Innkeeper), Alyssa Martin (Singer), Matthew Grills* (Dance Master), Clay Hilley* (Lamplighter), Mark McCrory (Sergeant of the Royal Archers) and David Leigh* (Naval Captain).
LA BOHÈME by Giacomo Puccini
March 15, 17 (m), 20, 23, 29, 31 (m), 2019
The most timeless love story in all of opera returns to break your heart!
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
Time: 19th century
Place: The Latin Quarter of Paris, France
Conductor: Giuliano Carella
Director: Tomer Zvulun
Set Designer: Erhard Rom
Costume Designer: Peter J. Hall
Lighting Designer: Robert Wierzel
Wig & Make-up Designer: Dawn Rivard
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Jean-François Borras* (Rodolfo), Pumeza Matshikiza** (Mimi), Anthony Clark Evans* (Marcello), Sara Gartland (Musetta), Will Liverman* (Schaunard), Nicholas Brownlee* (Colline), and Samuel Ramey (Benoit/Alcindoro).
FALSTAFF by Giuseppe Verdi
April 26, 28 (m), May 1, 4, 2019
Shakespeare’s uproarious comedy brought to musical life!
Libretto by Arrigo Boito
Time: During the reign of Henry IV of England
Conductor: Riccardo Frizza
Original Director: Lee Blakeley
Revival Director: Shawna Lucey*
Set and Costume Designer: Adrian Linford*
Lighting Designer: Rick Fisher*
Wig & Make-up Designer: Dawn Rivard
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Mark Delavan* (Sir John Falstaff), Angela Meade (Alice Ford), Quinn Kelsey* (Ford), Mojca Erdmann* (Nanetta), Airam Hernández* (Fenton), Stephanie Blythe* (Dame Quickly), Megan Marino* (Meg Page), Alex Mansoori* (Bardolfo), Andrea Silvestrelli (Pistola), and Robert Brubaker (Dr. Caius).
* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut