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The Dallas Opera: 2010-11 season

On October 22, The Dallas Opera opens the 2010-11 season, its second in the glittering new Winspear Opera House.  With 30 performances in all, the new season comprises five productions exploring “Dangerous Desires” – themes of romantic drama and political intrigue – kicking off with Mozart’s Don Giovanni, which stars Tony® Award-winner Paolo Szot.  Szot’s appearance marks his Dallas Opera debut, which comes just months after his debut at the Metropolitan Opera.  Rounding out the season are a new production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena; Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette; Verdi’s Rigoletto; and, in a visiting Covent Garden production, Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov.  Opening in April 2011, Boris Godunov will be The Dallas Opera’s first-ever staging of the Russian epic and the first time it has been produced in Dallas for two generations.

The Dallas Opera’s 54th season sees the company with a burnished reputation and better-than-ever creative spirits.  The company was the talk of the opera world last season, with the opening of its Winspear Opera House and the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick (starring Ben Heppner) both being events that were celebrated by the international media as game-changers for opera in Dallas.  The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts opened to hosannas in October 2009 with a production of Verdi’s Otello.  Jonathan Pell, artistic director of The Dallas Opera, told the Dallas Morning News: “The move into the Winspear Opera House represents a major milestone in the history of The Dallas Opera.  For the first time, we will be performing in a purpose-built opera house, with an extraordinary sense of intimacy and superb acoustics… . It will encourage the company to greater heights.”  The Washington Post reported that the world premiere of Heggie’s Moby-Dick ratified those ambitions: “While new work is often seen by audiences as more a duty than a pleasure, the opening-night crowd in Dallas broke into spontaneous applause three times during the first half, and screamed and yelled its approval at the curtain calls.  It was a wonderful and rare reminder that new opera truly can excite people if it’s done right.”


The Dallas Opera: 2010-11 season

October 22, 24(m), 27, 30; November 5 & 7(m), 2010

The Dallas Opera season opens on October 22, 2010, when Tony Award-winner Paulo Szot – who starred as Emile de Becque in the acclaimed Broadway revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific – breathes new life into the dangerously seductive title role of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.  Mr. Szot, a Polish-Brazilian baritone born in Sao Paulo, will be making his Dallas Opera debut.

“Paulo is the epitome of ‘tall, dark, and handsome’ and debuts here in a role that could have been written with him in mind,” says artistic director Jonathan Pell.  “The Dallas Opera is extremely fortunate to be able to present this artist who has shown an amazing ability to connect on both a musical and emotional level with both his co-stars and members of the audience.  I expect him to create an indelible portrayal of Mozart’s rake as part of an astonishingly gifted ensemble.”

Soprano Georgia Jarman, described by Opera News as a singer who performs “with glittering precision and high-flying ease,” will appear as Donna Elvira in her company debut.  Claire Rutter, acclaimed for her “tonal splendor” by the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph, returns to The Dallas Opera as Donna Anna.  Tenor Bruce Ford will sing the role of the courageous Don Ottavio, a characterization described by the Times of London as “unusually intense.”  Baritone Mirco Palazzi will make his American debut as the harried Leporello, while soprano Ailyn Pérez (Zerlina) and Ben Wager (Masetto) will be making their Dallas Opera debuts.  Bass Morris Robinson’s “chilling” portrayal of the Commendatore has been praised by the Washington Times as a highlight of past productions; he will also be making his company debut.

Romanian Nicolae Moldoveanu, who made his Dallas Opera debut in 2004 leading a double bill of works by composer Manuel de Falla, will conduct the Dallas Opera Orchestra.  The Dallas Opera Chorus will be prepared by chorus master Alexander Rom.  The production was designed and will be directed by John Pascoe, with lighting design by Jeff Davis, in his company debut.


October 29, 31(m); November 3, 6, 12, & 14, 2010

The second production of the “Dangerous Desires” season, Donizetti’s lyric tragedy Anna Bolena opens on October 29, 2010, in a new production conducted by Dallas Opera music director Graeme Jenkins and staged by director Stephen Lawless.  Anna Bolena has only been performed twice at The Dallas Opera, in 1968 and 1975.

This compelling 1830 drama – the chapter of Donizetti’s “Tudor Trilogy” that details the final days of Anne Boleyn, controversial second wife of England’s King Henry VIII – stars Armenian soprano Hasmik Papian, who played Queen Elizabeth I in The Dallas Opera’s 2009 production of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux.  The tyrannical King Henry will be portrayed by Brooklyn-born bass Oren Gradus, a favorite of Metropolitan Opera audiences.  Boleyn’s rival for the King’s affections, Jane Seymour, will be sung by renowned American mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, whom the Washington Post describes as “a vital artist, a beautiful woman, a regal presence.”  Tenor Stephen Costello, who played the key role of Greenhorn in last season’s Dallas Opera premiere of Moby-Dick, portrays the tragic Lord Percy.  American bass Mark McCrory sings the role of Anne’s brother, Lord Rochefort; mezzo-soprano Elena Belfiore makes her American debut as the misguided Smeton, while California-born tenor Aaron Blake plays the secretive Hervey.

The production team includes scenic designer Benoit Dugardyn, costume designer Ingeborg Bernerth, associate costume designer Julia Müer, and lighting designer Mark McCullough.


February 11, 13(m), 16, 19, 25, & 27(m), 2011

The third production of the “Dangerous Desires” season is Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, one of the most successful stage adaptations of a work by William Shakespeare.  Conductor Marco Zambelli will make his Dallas Opera debut leading the Dallas Opera Orchestra and an international ensemble directed by Michael Kahn, artistic director of Washington DC’s Shakespeare Theatre Company.  The first of six performances will take place on February 11, 2011.

Starring as Juliette is Russian soprano Lyubov Petrova, whose recent appearance with The Dallas Opera in The Marriage of Figaro prompted music critic Scott Cantrell of the Dallas Morning News to write: “Petrova is an adorable dynamo of a Susanna, as sweet as she is feisty and playful… . Her soprano can blaze but also glow warmly.”  Her Romeo is American tenor Charles Castronovo, a frequent guest artist of Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Covent Garden, and Paris Opera, now making his Dallas Opera debut.  The remainder of the cast includes a host of international stars: British bass Robert Lloyd as Friar Lawrence; baritone Joshua Hopkins as Mercutio; mezzo-soprano Jane Bunnell as Gertrude; tenor Aaron Blake as Tybalt; bass Stephen Morscheck as Capulet; baritone Stephen LaBrie as Paris; and mezzo-soprano Roxana Constantinescu in her American operatic debut as Stephano.

This production, originally designed for Montréal Opera and never before seen in Dallas, is the creation of production designer Claude Girard and lighting designer Mark McCullough.


March 25, 27(m), 30; April 2, 7, & 10(m), 2011

One of the most popular works in the repertoire will return to the Dallas Opera stage on March 25, 2011, when the company presents the revival of Verdi’s Rigoletto for the powerhouse drama’s first performances in the Winspear Opera House.

Rigoletto will be conducted by Pietro Rizzo, who elicited excitement from local audiences when he made his American operatic debut leading The Dallas Opera’s most recent revival of Puccini’s La bohème.  The staging is by director Harry Silverstein, with sets by Tony Award-winning designer Michael Yeargan, costumes by Peter J. Hall and lighting by Stephen Strawbridge.

Italian baritone and Verdi specialist Paolo Gavanelli will be making his company debut in the title role.  Texas-born coloratura soprano Laura Claycomb will make her long-awaited Dallas Opera debut as Gilda.  Tenor James Valenti, who wowed North Texas audiences as Rodolfo in the 2009 production of La bohème and won that season’s Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year Award, portrays the magnetic but malevolent Duke.  Bass Raymond Aceto returns to the Dallas Opera stage as the cold-blooded assassin, Sparafucile.  Mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chávez makes her Dallas Opera debut as Maddalena, and tenor Aaron Blake – this season’s Dallas Opera Resident Young Artist – appears as Matteo Borsa.


April 1, 3(m), 6, 9, 15, & 17(m), 2011

It will be an historic season finale for The Dallas Opera, as the company presents for the very first time Mussorgsky’s towering masterpiece Boris Godunov, with the run of six performances beginning April 1, 2011.  The Dallas Opera will perform Boris – absent from any stage in Dallas since a Metropolitan Opera tour in 1978 – in a stunning production from the U.K.’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.  The Dallas Opera Orchestra and ensemble cast will be under the direction of music director Graeme Jenkins, with the chorus prepared by chorus master Alexander Rom. 

The huge ensemble cast includes bass Mikhail Kazakov, a highly regarded star of Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, making his Dallas Opera debut in the title role.  Mezzo-soprano Elena Bocharova, hailed for a voice that “blooms at both top and bottom” (Dayton Daily News), will make her company debut as Marina, and bass Vitaly Efanov makes his house debut as Pimen.  This production also marks the return of one of the world’s most renowned bass voices to the Dallas Opera stage: Sergei Leiferkus, who gave searing performances in earlier house productions of Beethoven’s Fidelio and Wagner’s Lohengrin, will play the role of Rangoni.

 “To produce Boris is like doing the Russian Ring,” says Graeme Jenkins.  “It’s one of the biggest pieces in the repertoire, and this is a fantastic opportunity to bring new audiences into the Winspear to see this epic.  I am so looking forward to it!”


The Dallas Opera 2010-11 season information

The Dallas Opera celebrates its 54th season with 30 performances of five productions in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in downtown Dallas.  Evening performances begin at 7:30pm, and Sunday matinees begin at 2pm.  English translations are projected above the stage at every performance.  Assistance is available for the hearing impaired; inquire at the front desk of the Winspear prior to the performance.

DON GIOVANNI by W.A. Mozart (“The Libertine Punished, or, Don Giovanni”)
Acclaimed as the perfect opera
October 22, 24(m), 27, 30; November 5 & 7(m), 2010
An opera in two acts, K.527, first performed in the National Theater in Prague on October 29, 1787.
Text by Lorenzo Da Ponte

Time: 18th century
Place: Seville, Spain
Conductor: Nicolae Moldoveanu
Stage director: John Pascoe
Production design: John Pascoe
Lighting design: Jeff Davis*
Wig and make-up design: David Zimmerman
Chorus master: Alexander Rom
Choreographer / Assistant director: John de los Santos
Fight choreographer: Bill Lengfelder

Starring: Paulo Szot (Don Giovanni), Claire Rutter (Donna Anna), Georgia Jarman* (Donna Elvira), Jonathan Boyd (Don Ottavio), Mirco Palazzi** (Leporello), Ailyn Perez* (Zerlina), Ben Wager* (Masetto), and Morris Robinson* (The Commendatore)
ANNA BOLENA by Gaetano Donizetti
October 29, 31(m); November 3, 6, 12, & 14(m), 2010
The company’s final installment in the famed “Tudor Trilogy”
An opera in two acts first performed in Teatro Carcano, Milan, December 26, 1830.
Text by Felice Romani

Time: 16th century
Place: London, England
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Stage director: Stephen Lawless
Scenic design: Benoit Dugardyn
Costume design: Ingeborg Bernerth
Associate costume design: Julia Müer
Lighting designer: Mark McCullough
Wig and make-up design: David Zimmerman
Chorus master: Alexander Rom

Starring: Hasmik Papian (Anne Boleyn), Denyce Graves (Jane Seymour), Stephen Costello (Lord Percy), Oren Gradus (King Henry VIII), Elena Belfiore** (Smeton), Mark McCrory (Lord Rochefort), and Aaron Blake* (Hervey)
ROMEO ET JULIETTE by Charles Gounod
February 11, 13(m), 16, 19, 25, & 27(m), 2011
Production from Opera de Montréal
An opera in five acts first performed in Paris’s Théatre Lyrique, April 27, 1867
Text by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré after William Shakespeare’s play

Time: Renaissance period
Place: Verona, Italy
Conductor: Marco Zambelli*
Stage director: Michael Kahn
Production design: Claude Girard*
Lighting design: Mark McCullough
Wig and make-up design: David Zimmerman
Chorus master: Alexander Rom
Choreographer: Candace Evans
Fight choreographer: Bill Lengfelder

Starring: Charles Castronovo* (Romeo), Lyubov Petrova (Juliet), Robert Lloyd (Friar Laurence), Joshua Hopkins* (Mercutio), Roxana Constantinescu* (Stephano), Stephen Morscheck (Capulet), Jane Bunnell (Gertrude), Mark McCrory (The Duke), Aaron Blake (Tybalt), and Stephen LaBrie* (Paris)
RIGOLETTO by Giuseppe Verdi
March 25, 27(m), 30; April 2, 7, & 10(m), 2011
A classic Dallas Opera revival
An opera in two acts first performed in Venice at Teatro La Fenice, March 11, 1851
Text by Francesco Maria Piave after Victor Hugo’s play, Le roi s’amuse

Time: Renaissance period
Place: Mantua, Italy
Conductor: Pietro Rizzo
Stage director: Harry Silverstein
Scenic design: Michael Yeargan
Costume design: Peter J. Hall
Lighting design: Stephen Strawbridge
Wig and make-up design: David Zimmerman
Chorus master: Alexander Rom
Choreographer / Assistant diector: Keturah Stickann

Starring: Paolo Gavanelli* (Rigoletto), Laura Claycomb* (Gilda), James Valenti (The Duke), Raymond Aceto (Sparafucile), Kirsten Chavez* (Maddalena), Stephen Hartley* (Marullo), Aaron Blake (Borsa), Bradley Garvin* (Count Monterone), Quinn Patrick* (Giovanna), and Katie Bolding* (Countess Ceprano)
BORIS GODUNOV by Modest Mussorgsky
April 1, 3(m), 6, 9, 15, & 17(m), 2011
Original production for Royal Opera, Covent Garden
Text by the composer based on a tragedy by Alexander Pushkin and supplemented by materials from the historical works of Nikolay Mikhailovich Karamzin and others

Time: 16th-17th centuries
Place: Russia and Poland
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Original production: Andrei Tarkovsky
Stage director: Stephen Lawless
Production design: Nicolas Dvigubsky*
Lighting design: Robert Bryan*
Wig and make-up design: David Zimmerman
Chorus master: Alexander Rom
Choreographer: Nicola Bowie

Starring: Mikail Kazakov* (Boris Godunov), Elena Bocharova* (Marina Mniszek), Evgeny Akimov* (The Pretender), Vitally Efanov* (Pimen), Mikhail Kolelishvili* (Varlaam), Sergei Leiferkus* (Rangoni), Allan Glassman (Shuysky), Oksana Shilova** (Xenia), Andrei Spekhov** (Schelkalov), Meredith Arwady* (The Hostess), Keith Jameson (The Simpleton), and Steven Haal (Missail).

* Dallas Opera Debut

** American Debut


Events and cast members may be subject to change. 

The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; TACA; 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.  Cartier is the official jeweler of The Dallas Opera.  Rosewood Crescent Hotel is the official hotel of The Dallas Opera.  The Dallas Morning News provides advertising support.  The T. Boone Pickens YMCA is a new supporting partner.  A special thanks is due to Mrs. William W. Winspear and the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for their continuing support.

For high-resolution digital photographs suitable for print, to arrange an interview, or for additional information, please contact Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR at (214) 443-1014 or [email protected]. 


Ticket information for the 2010-11 Dallas Opera season

All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, in the heart of the downtown Dallas Arts District at 2403 Flora St., Dallas TX 75201.  Subscriptions start at $90 and are on sale now.  Single tickets, subject to availability, begin at $25.  For more information, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at (214) 443-1000 or visit

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© 21C Media Group, September 2010

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