For the First Time in Fifteen Years
TDO Records Three Balanced Budgets in a Row
Company Well-Positioned to Run the Demanding Gauntlet of Two World Premieres, Major Community Outreach Initiatives And an Innovative New Institute for Women Conductors this Fall
DALLAS, TX, SEPTEMBER 11, 2015 – Building on two previous seasons that ended “in the black,” The Dallas Opera is very proud to announce that it has maintained a balanced operating result for a third consecutive fiscal year, as of June 30, 2015.
The company ended the year on firm financial footing, even as TDO continued to raise the artistic bar with such celebrated productions as Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer’s critically acclaimed 2015 world premiere, Everest, and a stunning new production of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta.
This marks the first time in fifteen years that TDO has been able to report three back-to-back balanced operating results, an outcome that positions the company for an especially inspiring 2015 Fall Season that includes two eagerly anticipated world premieres, the FIRST SIGHT/FIRST NIGHT celebrations, community engagement events, and the opera world’s first Institute for Women Conductors (Nov. 28 – Dec. 6, 2015) which drew more than a hundred applicants from around the world.
In the season just ended, The Dallas Opera continued to put our peers on notice with a thorough re-structuring and expansion of The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. “The results surely exceeded expectations for this newly re-envisioned competition,” wrote Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of Theater Jones. “It won’t take long for the Dallas Opera’s vocal competition to situate itself at the top of the list of such events and become an important gold star on any young artist’s résumé.”
Among other highlights was TDO’s release of its first Blu-Ray, Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers, recorded live on the Winspear Opera House stage during performances in February 2014. “This is easily the most stunningly realized video production I’ve seen anywhere,” wrote Dallas Morning News Classical Music Critic Scott Cantrell, going on to describe the science-fiction opera as “a brilliant production” and a great accomplishment for the company.
And, of course, there were the mainstage productions, including timeless classics like Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, conducted by Music Director Emmanuel Villaume and staged by director Kevin Moriarty of the Dallas Theater Center. Noted Catherine Womack of D Magazine, TDO rose above the work’s inherent challenges to create performances “both musically satiating and utterly entertaining.” The season also provided North Texas audiences with a rare opportunity to experience a Tchaikovsky opera relatively unknown in the West, Iolanta, described by David Weuste of Opera Pulse as “a brilliant ending to a wonderful season.”
However, the season’s high point may have been last winter’s world premiere of Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer’s Everest, garnering nearly universal critical acclaim from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, Opera News, Financial Times, American Record Guide, Opera, Opernwelt and Outside magazines.
TDO’s emerging leadership role was confirmed most recently by Classical Music Critic David Patrick Stearns of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who stated “opera careers are now made in Dallas” in his assessment of current trends in contemporary American Opera production.
An elevated public profile in the second decade of the 21st century has enabled The Dallas Opera to attract more substantial media attention, generate greater community awareness, and launch important new programs and commissions – all of which have spurred single ticket sales and encouraged a steady stream of major gifts to the company from engaged individuals, foundations, corporations and trusts.
“Highly effective leadership from our Board and Trustees, including Board Chair Steve Suellentrop, his predecessors, and the indefatigable Holly Mayer, Board Chair-Elect, have contributed dramatically to the company’s hard-earned financial stability” explains General Director and CEO Keith Cerny.
“Significant multi-year gifts from the Titus Family (allowing us to create the much-needed Robert E. and Jean Ann Titus Art Song Recital Series) and other generous donations, including a $2.5 million gift from Betty and Steve Suellentrop and Hunt Consolidated, Inc. in support of The Dallas Opera’s education and community outreach programs have given us an opportunity to ‘think outside the opera box’ while improving our chances for continued artistic success in this rapidly changing cultural landscape,” Cerny adds.
Over the past season, The Dallas Opera made more than 100,000 contacts across North Texas through its mainstage opera performances, free public simulcasts, and community outreach and family performances, in addition to education programs designed for children, teens and adults.
“Although the company has made great strides, there is still heavy lifting to be done,” cautions Board Chair Steve Suellentrop. “It is my hope that music lovers from throughout the area will recognize the exceptional quality of what we have accomplished onstage, and want to share in the excitement of world-class opera with their generous support, their regular patronage and their enthusiastic word of mouth.”
In addition to the recitals, family performances and Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Great Scott, the mainstage production that will kick off the 2015-2016 Season, “Seeking the Human Element,” The Dallas Opera is also in the midst of preparing for one of the most eagerly anticipated social events of the fall: FIRST SIGHT/FIRST NIGHT (chaired by Ellen and Don Winspear) taking place on Thursday, October 29th and Friday, October 30th.
Our revival of the company’s tremendously popular production of Puccini’s Tosca (Nov. 6th through the 22nd ) will be followed by the inaugural Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera culminating in a public concert on Saturday, December 5th. The world premiere of Mark Adamo’s wise and witty Becoming Santa Claus opens that same weekend with performances scheduled for Friday, December 4th, a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Sunday, December 6th, and additional performances on December 9th and 12th conducted by Emmanuel Villaume, with direction and choreography by Paul Curran.