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Dallas Opera to Simulcast 'Magic Flute' in Cowboys Stadium

by Jerome Weeks 26 Jan 2012 3:00 PM

Cowboys Stadium is already known for the contemporary art on its walls. Now it’ll have an opera on its massive video screen – Mozart’s The Magic Flute, live from the Dallas Opera’s production at the Winspear Opera House.


Separated at birth?

Cowboys Stadium has gotten national attention for the contemporary artworks on its walls. Now it’ll have an opera on its video screen. KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports this April, the Dallas Opera will simulcast Mozart’s The Magic Flute — in Cowboys Stadium.

KERA radio report:

Expanded online report:

The Dallas Opera has opened its last two seasons with video simulcasts in the Arts District. On April 28th, it joins the big leagues. And noooo, the aim is not to make lots of money trying to fill Cowboy Stadium’s 100,000 seats. Keith Cerny is the opera’s general director.

Cerny: “I’ll say right now that we don’t expect to fill the entire stadium.”

For the simulcast on just one of the stadium’s huge, hi-def video screens, the stadium will be set up so that only 7500 seats will be available. Ticketholders will watch a live feed from the Winspear Opera House of that evening’s performance of The Magic Flute.

What’s more, tickets to the stadium simulcast (not the Winspear performance) are free – though they are reserved and can be obtained only through the Dallas Opera’s website. So if they’re free, and if the Dallas Opera has had to reduce its season programs for financial reasons, why are they doing this?

Keith Cerny explains.

Cerny: “Opera simulcasts are not direct, revenue-generating opportunities. It’s a chance for us to introduce people new to opera to what we do and over time, turn them into single-ticket buyers.”

Large-scale simulcasts in sports venues have been done by other opera companies. They’re used, in a way, as a giant marketing effort. The San Francisco Opera has even been able to gain enough new patrons that increased ticket sales have paid for its simulcasts.

Of course, any free event is easier – when you have the support of the stadium owner.

Cerny: “We have been very pleased with the support we’ve had for this event from the Jones family. They are providing the facility for us at a very deeply discounted rate.”

The operatically long press release follows.




SATURDAY, APRIL 28, 2012 at 7:30 PM




ARLINGTON, TX, JANUARY 26, 2012 – The Dallas Opera, in partnership with Cowboys Stadium, is extremely proud to announce the first classical music simulcast ever conducted in a North Texas sports venue.  The announcement was made earlier today by representatives of both organizations—Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny and Charlotte Jones Anderson, Executive Vice-President Brand Management/President of Charities—following a meeting of Dallas Opera Board held on-site at the stadium.

Gene Jones (the wife of Dallas Cowboys Owner, President and General Manager Jerry Jones), whose vision led to the Stadium’s museum-quality collection of contemporary art, was on-hand to welcome guests and attending media.  Setting the stage for today’s announcement, Ms. Jones explained, “Sports and art are not typically thought of as belonging together.  Yet sporting events and great art do something similar—they get people talking.”

The Dallas Opera’s 2012 Cowboys Stadium Simulcast of Mozart’s THE MAGIC FLUTE will take place on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 7:30 PM (doors open at 6:00 PM) at the high-tech home of the Dallas Cowboys at One Legends Way in Arlington, Texas.  Patrons will be able to enjoy a complete, unabridged live performance on the world’s largest high-definition video board structure, comprised of four massive viewing screens (the largest, 72 feet tall and 160 feet wide) suspended directly above the playing field.

Seating will be reserved and free tickets can be obtained through the Dallas Opera website, effective immediately, at

“We are excited to partner with the Dallas Opera on such a distinctive event,” said Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President of Brand Management Charlotte Anderson.  “Our organization admires and respects The Dallas Opera’s original thinking and stewardship in making a ground-breaking event like this a reality.  We truly value the importance of the arts in our community, and we hope that this first-of-its-kind opera broadcast gives us a way of sharing our love of the arts with a new audience at Cowboys Stadium.”

“One of the goals of the Dallas Opera is to bring great singing and world-class theater to the widest possible audience,” explains Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny.  “As part of our commitment to expanding our community outreach we are thrilled to announce an unprecedented, ‘game-changing’ collaboration with the Cowboys organization.  Let me also say that the Dallas Opera is especially grateful for the generous support of the Jones Family, encouraging our efforts to create one of the most unique and memorable events in the history of this opera company.

“I hope that the centralized location of Cowboys Stadium will draw music and theater lovers from all across North Texas to this free simulcast of Mozart’s action-packed masterpiece,” Mr. Cerny adds, “especially those who, for a variety of reasons, have perceived opera as an intimidating or challenging art form, rather than the fantastic entertainment experience it is.”


THE MAGIC FLUTE will star soprano Ava Pine, the Dallas Opera’s very first Resident Young Artist, in the role of Pamina—one of her personal favorites.  Ms. Pine, a Baroque specialist with a tremendous local fan base, made her Dallas Opera debut as Anna in our 2006 production of Nabucco, and has appeared on our stage in numerous roles including Adele in Die Fledermaus, Zozo in The Merry Widow, Elvira in L’italiana in Algeri, the Slave in Salome and, most recently, as one of three featured artists in the Dallas Opera’s Family Concert, performed in the Winspear last November.

Wherever she goes, Ms. Pine makes the critics struggle for superlatives.  Of her 2008 role debut as Adele, Dallas Morning News Classical Music Critic Scott Cantrell wrote: “She can sparkle through coloratura, but also radiate lower-register warmth.  And she’s no less dazzling an actress, dancing, flirting and pretty much tying everyone around her little finger.”

Earlier this season, Ms. Pine appeared with the DSO in Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2 conducted by Jaap van Zweden, Bach cantatas with the New Jersey Symphony, and Handel’s Messiah with Boston Baroque and Duke University.  She also made her role debut as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at Opera Colorado and sang the title role in Handel’s Theodora at the University of North Texas with Dallas Opera Music Director Graeme Jenkins conducting.

Ava Pine’s performance is made possible with support from The Charron and Peter Denker Rising Stars Endowment Fund.

Alongside Ms. Pine, the Dallas Opera has cast celebrated tenor Shawn Mathey as Tamino.  “He is simply one of the finest Mozartean tenors in the world,” explains Artistic Director Jonathan Pell “and we have spent years trying to tempt him to come to Dallas for his long-awaited debut on our stage.  I think audiences will find him absolutely thrilling, from his first note to his last.”

Mr. Mathey’s 2011-12 Season engagements have included debuts with San Francisco Opera as Don Ottavio and with Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera as Lysander in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  He is also slated to record Bruckner’s Mass No. 3 in F minor with Marek Janowski conducting the Orchestre de la Suisse Romand.  Praised by Lawrence A. Johnson of Chicago Classical Review for “displaying a honeyed tenor and proving both ardent and amusing,” Mr. Mathey is in tremendous demand overseas (Germany, Switzerland, France, Austria, Italy, and Sweden) as well as at opera companies across the U.S.

Bass-baritone Patrick Carfizzi, a comic genius who nearly galloped away with the Dallas Opera’s final production in the Music Hall, The Italian Girl in Algiers, returns in the role of the original Birdman, Papageno, Tamino’s love-sick companion.  The multifaceted Mr. Carfizzi’s recent engagements include Paolo in Simon Boccanegra with San Francisco Opera, Brander in Le damnation de Faust (Berlioz) at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Nourabad in Les pêcheurs de perles for Seattle Opera, Dr. Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia for the Canadian Opera Company, and additional roles at the Met including Schaunard in La bohème, the Mandarin in Turandot, Masetto in Don Giovanni, Haly in L’italiana in Algeri and Peter Quince in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Slovakian soprano L’ubica Vargicová, praised by the international media for her remarkable technique, her glittering high notes, and her commanding stage presence has made the Queen of the Night a signature role since her operatic debut while still a student in Bratislava, and she has left audiences gasping around the world.  The New York Times wrote of her Metropolitan Opera debut in this role, that Ms. Vargicová “dispatched the Queen of the Night’s devilish coloratura with fearless attack, bright tone, and impressive accuracy.”  That she is breathtakingly beautiful is merely the icing on the cake; it is her artistry in the coloratura repertoire that has enabled her to earn rave reviews as Lucia di Lammermoor, Ophelia, Amina in Bellini’s La sonnambula, and Marie in La Fille du régiment opposite Juan Diego Flórez.  She has appeared in prestigious venues from Carnegie Hall to Japan’s finest concert halls, in the wake of her dazzling 2003 Salzburg Festival debut as Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann (a landmark production staged by David McVicar and conducted by Kent Nagano).

Bass Raymond Aceto, the chilling Sparafucile in the Dallas Opera’s acclaimed 2011 production of Rigoletto, has appeared in more than a dozen productions with TDO since his 1995 debut as Monterone, portraying a host of unforgettable characters from Leporello in Don Giovanni (2003), Colline in La bohème (1999), and Fafner in Siegfried (2000) to Lodovico in the Dallas Opera’s 2009 inaugural production in the Winspear Opera House: Verdi’s Otello.

Opera News reported in November 2008 “The American bass has a magnificently warm, round and full voice coupled to a compelling stage presence.”  He was also identified as one of the “world class” artists in the Dallas Opera’s cast of Rigoletto (Opera Warhorses) and his performance was termed “a rare treat.”

Engagements this season have included the roles of Banquo in Macbeth at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Timur in Turandot for San Francisco Opera.  This summer, after appearing as Sarastro in our production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Mr. Aceto will portray the cruel Baron Scarpia in the Santa Fe Opera Festival production of Tosca.

Bass Kevin J. Langan, who has sung numerous roles with the Dallas Opera, will appear in the role of The Speaker.  He was recently described as “the complete package: vibrant, ringing tone, polished phrasing, incisive diction and convincing, unfussy acting” (

Mr. Langan has nearly 1300 performances to his credit and a vast repertoire (more than 80 roles from the early Baroque through the 20th century) that has made him a leading bass for San Francisco Opera for three decades.  Recently, he became the first artist in SFO history to sing 300 performances in leading roles.  Mr. Langan has also been a leading bass for Lyric Opera of Chicago for the past eleven years, in addition to fourteen seasons—and 165 performances—at Santa Fe.  It was at Sante Fe Opera that he created the role of Henry Mosher in the 1996 world premiere of Tobias Picker’s Emmeline, broadcast on PBS.

A native of New York City, Mr. Langan’s talents can be enjoyed on numerous opera DVD releases.  His orchestral appearances have ranged from the Cincinnati May Festival as Rocco in Fidelio under Music Director James Conlon, The Caramoor Festival as Rocco in Leonore under John Nelson, The Pittsburgh Symphony in Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied, and the Chicago Symphony in Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass (both under Michael Tilson Thomas).  Other appearances include Trulove in The Rake’s Progress with The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra under Edo de Waart, and Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex with The National Symphony in Washington.

Tenor David Cangelosi, one of the most consistently insightful opera artist bloggers in cyberspace, will sing the role of Monostatos.  Heaped with critical plaudits for his contributions to the success of the recent San Francisco Ring Cycle, Heard and Seen International declared him: “…possibly the greatest Mime ever.  Nobody has ever been more effective or as amusing as David Cangelosi…he made every minute of this often annoying role a total pleasure.”  He most recently appeared with the Dallas Opera in our monumental, widely acclaimed 2011 production of Boris Godunov.  Prior to the role of Shuisky, Mr. Cangelosi made a memorable marriage broker in TDO’s revival of the Francesca Zambello production of Madama Butterfly that closed the 2010 Season.

David Cangelosi has firmly established himself as an artist who combines both excellent singing and winning characterizations with opera companies and symphony orchestras, worldwide.  In 2004, Mr. Cangelosi made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Mime in Das Rheingold, conducted by James Levine, and returned in recent seasons for performances of Incredibile in Andrea Chenier, Tinca in Il tabarro, and the dual role of Nathanael/Spalanzani in Les Contes d’Hoffmann.  Other roles at the Metropolitan Opera have included Basilio (The Marriage of Figaro), Goro (Madama Butterfly), and Spoletta (Tosca).

“This production from Lyric Opera of Chicago,” says Dallas Opera Artistic Director Jonathan Pell “is the most magical Magic Flute I’ve ever experienced.  It’s been revived there, time and again, because it’s so immensely popular but it’s a production that could never have been done in our previous performance venue.

“Our move to the Winspear Opera House has finally made it possible to bring this incredibly charming, classic, August Everding production to Dallas and we’ve gone out of our way to stack-the-deck with the addition of a delightful cast.”

Mozart’s 1791 masterpiece is one of the greatest comic operas of all time, made all the more interesting by the poignant—even disturbing—moments endured by the lead characters, as they attempt to earn their “happy ending.”

The Magic Flute comes by its zany plot honestly, having been inspired not only by 18th century Masonic practices, but by literature reflecting several different traditions.  Among these is the 1731 Viennese essay (supposedly translated from an ancient Greek source) about an Egyptian prince named “Sethos” who is called upon to endure an initiation by the four elements: fire, water, earth and air.  He is also forced to battle a giant serpent.

The Magic Flute also contains hints of an Arthurian Romance from the late Middle Ages, in which the hero is discovered and aided by three mysterious ladies.  Later in the tale, the hero encounters a curious character covered in animal skins that bears more than a passing resemblance to this opera’s famously endearing birdman, Papageno.

The music, on the other hand, couldn’t be more polished or more focused.  Reflecting the highest ideals of the Age of Enlightenment and filled with wit, warmth, and genuine humanity, The Magic Flute continues to bewitch audiences with its variety of perfectly expressed musical moods—from utterly comic to soaring and sublime.


Soprano Angela Mannino will make her Dallas Opera debut in the role of Papagena, and the Three Ladies will be sung by soprano Caitlin Lynch, mezzo-soprano Lauren McNeese, and mezzo-soprano Maya Lahyani in their company debuts.

Resident Young Artist Aaron Blake will return to the Dallas Opera stage in the dual role of Second Priest and First Man in Armor.  Bass Darren K. Stokes will sing the role of the Second Man in Armor.

The simulcast performance will be conducted at the Winspear Opera House by the Dallas Opera’s Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director Graeme Jenkins, who most recently raised the baton on our season opening production of Lucia di Lammermoor.

Maestro Jenkins drew tremendous praise for the work that brought our 2010-2011 Season to a close: Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov.  According to Dallas Morning News Classical Music Critic Scott Cantrell, it was “a triumph for any opera house, anywhere.”

Jenkins has conducted more than a hundred different operas from Australia to Amsterdam to Vienna, and has served as music director for this company since 1994.

This production will be staged by Matthew Lata, making his TDO debut.

Mr. Lata has staged more than a hundred productions with leading opera companies throughout the U.S.  He began his career as a director on the staff of the Lyric Opera of Chicago for five seasons. During that time he directed revivals and special productions for the Lyric Opera of Chicago Center for American Artists.  Mr. Lata served as an apprentice with Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, Frank Corsaro and Lotfi Mansouri under the auspices of the National Opera Institute, and as production stage manager and assistant director for a number of theaters, prior to joining the staff in Chicago.

He has been a script consultant for various theaters, including the New Playwright’s Theater in Washington and the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, in addition to regularly staging works for Lyric Opera of Chicago, Hawaii Opera Theatre, and Florida Grand Opera.  Mr. Lata also directed the world premiere of Anton Coppola’s Sacco and Vanzetti to international acclaim at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center and staged New York City Opera’s National Tour of La Fille du régiment.

He has taught at the University of Missouri/Kansas City and guested at Northwestern and Yale.  Currently, he serves as Director of Opera at Florida State University.  Mr. Lata is married to the noted mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella.

Scenic design for The Magic Flute is by Jörg Zimmermann in his company debut, with costumes designed by Renata Kalanke.

Lighting design will be by Duane Schuler, with wig and make-up designs by David Zimmerman.

Chorus preparation will be by Dallas Opera Chorus Master Alexander Rom and Children’s Chorus Master Melinda Cotton.


Single tickets for the remaining mainstage productions of the Dallas Opera’s “Tragic Obsessions” Season are on sale now, starting at just $25, through the Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or online at  Student Rush best-available tickets can be purchased at the lobby box office for $25 (one per valid Student I.D.) ninety minutes prior to each performance.

FLEX Subscriptions for the opera lovers in your life secures seats for all spring mainstage productions: Tristan & Isolde, La traviata, and The Magic Flute.  It also gives you the first chance to obtain one or more of the limited number of tickets available to see the Dallas Opera’s new production of a haunting1980 chamber opera: The Lighthouse by Peter Maxwell Davies.  Marking the operatic debut of director Kevin Moriarty, Artistic Director of the Dallas Theater Center, this work will play to intimate audiences in the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre across the street from the Winspear.









  • Anonymous

    The original date given in the story — April 29th — has been corrected. The simulcast is Saturday, April 28th. What happens when you’re working three stories at once.

  • JeromeWeeks

    The original date given in the story — April 29th — has been corrected. The simulcast is Saturday, April 28th. What happens when you’re working three stories at once.