Press Room

The Dallas Opera: 2011-12 season

DALLAS, JANUARY 13, 2011The Dallas Opera is pleased to announce the five darkly dazzling operas that comprise the company’s 2011-12 season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.  With opening night on Friday, October 21, 2011, the 55th international season“Tragic Obsessions” – will showcase compelling works by Donizetti, Janácek, Wagner, Verdi, and Mozart, and will include an outstanding Dallas opera-in-concert, important debuts, and some of the company’s most renowned productions.  Each opera will feature the superbly talented Dallas Opera Orchestra and Dallas Opera Chorus and will be performed in its original language, with English translations projected above the stage at every performance.  Exclusive subscriber extras include “A Cabaret Evening with Patricia Racette” and a fun-filled family concert starring soprano Ava Pine and the Dallas Opera Orchestra.
The Dallas Opera: 2011-12 season
Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor: October 21, 23(m), 26, 29; & November 6(m), 2011
Janácek’s Katya Kabanova: October 28, 30(m); November 2, 5, & 13(m), 2011
Wagner’s Tristan & Isolde: February 16, 19(m), 22, & 25, 2012
Verdi’s La traviata: April 13, 15(m), 18, 21, 27, & 29(m), 2012
Mozart’s The Magic Flute: April 20, 22(m), 25, 28; May 4, & 6(m), 2012
The benefits of becoming a Dallas Opera subscriber will take a significant leap during the 2011-12 season.  In addition to perks that already include priority seating, lost ticket replacement, invitations to special events, and dramatic savings over the price of single tickets, the company is adding two new FREE incentives for full-season (five-performance) subscribers:

An exclusive patron recital on November 9, 2011“A Cabaret Evening with Patricia Racette” featuring the luminous Racette performing selections from the Great American Songbook in the intimacy of the Winspear Opera House.
A lively, fun-filled Family Concert on November 12, 2011, featuring stellar soprano Ava Pine, tenor Aaron Blake, and mezzo Sasha Cooke in performance with the esteemed Dallas Opera Orchestra.
Writing about a recent Patricia Racette cabaret performance, Joe Banno of the Washington Post found the singer “so magnetic, so naturally inside the style, she left other opera singers’ stiff-backed attempts at this repertoire in the dust,” and insisted, “She needs to be heard in this material.”
Full season subscriptions (five performances) for the 2011-12 season will range in price from $85 to $1,015.  Inner Circle seating may be higher.  More information is available from the Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at (214) 443-1000 and online at
“During the upcoming season,” explains Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny, “we’ll be exploring ways to refresh and re-imagine our approach to some of the most popular and compelling works in the repertoire.  At the same time, we will also strive to keep the company on a bold, 21st-century trajectory through the use of exciting new technologies, innovative new use of the extraordinary production capabilities of the Winspear Opera House, and a renewed emphasis on strengthening connections with our existing patrons while also developing new audiences.”
The 2011-12 season officially opens on the evening of Friday, October 21 at 7:30pm with The Dallas Opera’s first Lucia di Lammermoor in a decade, and the very first in the critically acclaimed acoustics of the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House.
Set in 18th-century Scotland, Gaetano Donizetti’s 1835 Romantic masterpiece is considered the high-water mark of the bel canto repertoire, and The Dallas Opera’s revival boasts an impressive cast.  Romanian soprano Elena Mosuc, one of the world’s most expressive sopranos, who was praised by the legendary Renata Scotto as the “ideal interpreter of Lucia di Lammermoor,” will make her Dallas Opera debut in the title role.  Sharing center stage will be New Orleans-born tenor Bryan Hymel (“of clarion tone and a ringing top,” as per Opera magazine), in his company debut as the passionate Edgardo, and Italian baritone Luca Grassi, who makes his hotly-anticipated American debut as Lord Enrico Ashton.  The production also stars bass Jordan Bisch in his Dallas Opera debut as Raimondo, while Texan tenor Scott Quinn, a former Resident Young Artist, returns to The Dallas Opera stage in the role of Normanno.  The company’s current Resident Young Artist, tenor Aaron Blake, appears as Arturo Bucklaw, after making a memorable mark in a host of principal roles this season.
This Dallas Opera revival will be conducted by Italian Maestro Riccardo Frizza, who prompted Tim Page of the Washington Post to write: “Riccardo Frizza’s conducting is sure and idiomatic.  He provides solid support for the singers, balances the ensembles impeccably, and takes a convincing lead in the purely orchestral passages.”  The season opener will be staged by esteemed director Garnett Bruce, who most recently directed the stunning Francesca Zambello production of Madama Butterfly that closed The Dallas Opera’s inaugural season in the Winspear.  Scenic design is by Henry Bardon, costumes by the late Peter J. Hall, and lighting design is by Marie Barrett.  The Dallas Opera Chorus will be prepared by Chorus Master Alexander Rom.  Performances will continue on October 23(m), 26, 29; and November 6(m), 2011 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, which was recently selected by Southern Living as the best new venue for opera.  All evening performances will begin at 7:30pm, while Sunday matinees will start at 2pm.
A free, pre-performance lecture (“The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Opera Overtures”) will be conducted one hour prior to curtain.  The Dallas Opera Guild also hosts “Opera Insights,” a lively panel discussion featuring artists, directors, and designers, on the Sunday afternoon prior to opening.  For more details, visit
The second production of the “Tragic Obsessions” season, opening Friday, October 28, 2011, is a revival of The Dallas Opera’s celebrated 1997 production of Leos Janácek’s searing 1921 masterpiece, Katya Kabanova.  Inspired by the composer’s passionate obsession with a much younger woman, Katya tells the tale of a wife trapped in a loveless and constricting marriage who seeks freedom in the arms of another man.
This production marks the long-awaited return, in the title role, of soprano Patricia Racette, who broke hearts with her devastating portrayal of the scarred yet forgiving heroine of The Dallas Opera’s 2004 production of Jenufa.  “In detail after fine detail,” wrote the Baltimore Sun, “the soprano opens up windows into Jenufa’s soul and uncovers the dark lyricism of Janácek’s music in a voice of remarkable warmth, nuance, and freedom.”  The production will also star soprano Susan Bickley in her Dallas Opera debut as the mother-in-law from hell, in which role she was praised at the English National Opera for her “finely drawn portrait of malicious hypocrisy” (Opera Britannia).  Tenors Roger Honeywell, “who brought burnished sound and crisp diction to the sweeping vocal lines” of his performances (Anthony Tommasini, New York Times), and Anthony Dean Griffey, who “gently but firmly commands the stage at every moment” (Peter G. Davis, New York magazine), will make their Dallas Opera debuts as Boris and Tikhon, respectively.  The international ensemble also features tenor John Tessier as Kudrjas, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke in her company debut as Varvara, bass Andrew Shore as Dikoy, and baritone Matthew Boehler in his Dallas Opera debut as Kuligin.  Dallas Opera Resident Young Artist Aaron Blake will sing the role of a Passerby.
This production will be conducted by Dallas Opera Music Director Graeme Jenkins and staged by internationally esteemed director David Alden, who originally created it for The Dallas Opera in 1997, with scenic design by Charles Edwards, costumes by John Morrell, and lighting design by Adam Silverman in his company debut.  Chorus preparation will be by Dallas Opera Chorus Master Alexander Rom.
Sung in Czech, with English language translations projected above the stage, Katya Kabanova will continue with performances on October 30(m); November 2, 5, & 13(m), 2011.
The third production of the “Tragic Obsessions” season is a departure for The Dallas Opera, an imaginatively staged concert presentation of Richard Wagner’s epic love story, Tristan & Isolde, featuring a phenomenal international cast.
Dallas Opera Music Director Graeme Jenkins will conduct the cast and the Dallas Opera Orchestra, with staging by German director Christian Räth, who led Dallas’s highly-praised 2002 production of Beethoven’s Fidelio, prompting the Dallas Morning News’s Scott Cantrell to write: “Never has the action seemed so genuinely spontaneous.  At moments it even comes to awkward halts, as if no one knows what to do, and the effect is electrifying.”  Starring in the Celtic legend’s title roles are American soprano Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet (Isolde), who last appeared with The Dallas Opera as Ortrud in the mind-blowing, much-admired 2007 production of Wagner’s Lohengrin, and tenor Clifton Forbis (Tristan), who inaugurated Dallas Opera’s performances in the new Winspear Opera House as Verdi’s Otello in October 2009.  The opera-in-concert will also star mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bishop in her welcome return to The Dallas Opera as Brangäne; Finnish bass-baritone Jukka Rasilainen, a renowned Wagner specialist, in his American debut as Kurvenal; Iceland’s foremost bass, Kristinn Sigmundsson, in his Dallas Opera debut as King Marke; and Dallas Opera Resident Young Artist Aaron Blake, who is appearing in four of this season’s productions, in the roles of Young Sailor and Shepherd.
“We’ve assembled an incredibly exciting cast to bring Wagner’s towering achievement to life,” says Dallas Opera Artistic Director Jonathan Pell.  “This is a work we haven’t touched since 1975 because it is so extremely difficult to cast – and to cast well.  I am supremely confident that we have put together an ensemble that will take center stage at the Winspear and transport us to a time and place beyond our imagining.”  He adds, “I think it’s going to be more than a concert production, and will be filled with exquisite beauty.”
The four opera-in-concert performances, sung in German with English language translations projected above the stage, will take place on February 16, 19(m), 22, and 25, 2012 in the magnificent Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House.
One of the most popular works in the repertoire will return to the stage on the evening of Friday, April 13, 2012, when The Dallas Opera presents a revival of Giuseppe Verdi’s tragic romance, La traviata, for its first performances in the Winspear Opera House.  The company’s fourth offering of the season, conducted by Italian Maestro Marco Guidarini, is a powerhouse drama about a mesmerizing courtesan who strikes up a scandalous affair with the son and heir of a respectable family.  Originally created for the Florida Grand Opera, this production has never before been seen in Dallas.  La traviata will be staged by director Bliss Hebert, with sets and costumes by his longtime collaborator, designer Allen Charles Klein, and lighting design by Thomas Hase.
La traviata will showcase the American debut of Greek soprano Myrtò Papatanasiu, who triumphed in the title role at both Welsh National Opera and in the recent Franco Zeffirelli production at Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera, where Italy’s Corriere della Sera praised her “beautiful coloratura and balance.”  Tenor James Valenti, who wowed North Texas audiences as Rodolfo in the 2009 production of La bohème, winning that season’s “Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year Award,” portrays Violetta’s idealistic lover, Alfredo Germont.  Valenti also returns this season as the magnetic but malevolent Duke in Rigoletto.  French baritone Laurent Naouri, whose “memorable Di Provenza was a highlight of the evening” at Santa Fe Opera (Chicago Classical Review), will sing the role of Giorgio Germont.  Chorus preparation is by Dallas Opera Chorus Master Alexander Rom.
Additional performances will take place on April 15(m), 18, 21, 27, & 29(m), 2012La traviata was last performed by The Dallas Opera in 2004.  It will be sung in the original language – Italian – with English language translations projected above the stage.
The joyous season finale will be Mozart’s final masterpiece, The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte).  Completed in 1791, the year of the composer’s death, The Magic Flute is set in mysterious, timeless Egypt while overflowing with a delightful hodge-podge of 18th-century ideas and Enlightenment ideals, ranging from hot-air balloons and magic to Freemasonry.
Opening on Friday, April 20, 2012, The Magic Flute will star local favorite Ava Pine, a current Grammy Award nominee, in the role of the heart-wrenching Pamina.  Shawn Mathey, “a honeyed tenor…, both ardent and amusing” (Lawrence A. Johnson) and a highly regarded Mozart specialist will make his Dallas Opera debut as Tamino.  Baritone Patrick Carfizzi, who practically stole the show in the company’s final production in the Music Hall, makes an eagerly awaited return in the role of the lovesick Papageno.  “A master of movement and gesture, whose grace seemed worthy of a trained dancer or mime, Carfizzi gave a brilliant rendition of the loveable bird-catcher,” reported Opera News.  Other notable company debuts include Slovak soprano L’ubica Vargicová as the Queen of the Night, whose “devilish coloratura” she dispatched at the Metropolitan Opera “with fearless attack, bright tone, and impressive accuracy” (New York Times).  And Italian bass Andrea Silvestrelli, whose “enormous vocal presence” in the role impressed the Washington Post, will perform the formidable sorcerer Sarastro.  Bass Kevin Langan will appear as the Speaker/First Priest, distinguished character tenor David Cangelosi will sing the uncontrollable Monostatos, and The Dallas Opera’s 2010-11 Resident Young Artist, Aaron Blake, will undertake the roles of Second Priest and First Man in Armor.
This August Everding production, originally created for Lyric Opera of Chicago, will be staged by director Matthew Lata, with scenic designs by Jörg Zimmermann and costumes by Renate Kalanke, both making their Dallas Opera debuts.  Lighting design will be by Duane Schuler.  The Dallas Opera Orchestra and ensemble cast will be under the direction of Music Director Graeme Jenkins, with chorus preparation by Chorus Master Alexander Rom, and children’s chorus preparation by Melinda Cotten.
Additional performances of The Magic Flute will take place on April 22(m), 25, 28; May 4, & 6, 2012 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House.
The Dallas Opera has presented five American premieres, as well as three world premiere works in its illustrious 54-year-history.  It also continues to create fresh new productions of established masterpieces of the genre.
Evening performances during the 2011-12 season productions will begin at 7:30pm.  All Sunday matinees will begin at 2pm.  The “Joy and Ronald Mankoff Opera Overture,” a free background lecture for the opera being performed that day, takes place in Nancy B. Hamon Hall in the Winspear Opera House one hour prior to the performance.  Easy-to-read English translations are projected above the stage during every Dallas Opera performance and special headsets are available at coat-check for the hearing impaired.
All events and artists are subject to change.
Additional information about “January at The Dallas Opera” may be found online by visiting and checking the calendar listings.
The Dallas Opera wishes to express its gratitude to the following exclusive partners:
AMERICAN AIRLINES – official airline of The Dallas Opera
LEXUS – official vehicle of The Dallas Opera
CARTIER – official jeweler and watchmaker of The Dallas Opera
ROSEWOOD CRESCENT HOTEL – official hotel of The Dallas Opera
In grateful appreciation of their service and commitment, The Dallas Opera dedicates this season to Joanna and Peter Townsend.
For high-resolution, digital photographs suitable for print, to arrange an interview, or for additional information, please contact Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR on (214) 443-1014 or [email protected].
Ticket information for the current, 2010-11 Dallas Opera season
All performances are in the new Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.  Opera Three-Packs start at just $75.  Single tickets start at just $25 and students with a valid ID can obtain “best available seats” for the same price 90 minutes prior to curtain at every Dallas Opera performance.  For more information, contact the Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office during normal business hours at (214) 443-1000 or visit
The Dallas Opera: 2010-11 season information
The Dallas Opera is currently celebrating its 54th international 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 at 2pm.  English translations are projected above the stage at every performance.  Assistance is available for the hearing impaired; inquiries should be made at the front desk of the Winspear prior to the performance.
2011 spring season:
ROMEO & JULIET by Charles Gounod
February 11, 13(m), 16, 19, 25, & 27(m), 2011
Production from Montréal Opera
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
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 director: 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
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, SmartWater, and the Stephen Pyles Restaurant are new supporting partners.  A special thanks is due to Mrs. William W. Winspear and the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for their continuing support. 

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