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Cowboy Stadium Opera Simulcast Hits 21,000 Requests – So Far

by Jerome Weeks 1 Mar 2012 3:30 PM

The Dallas Opera quickly blew past the original limit of 7500 free tickets for its live simulcast of The Magic Flute in Cowboys Stadium. Even better, their devious plan is working: Most people will be seeing the Dallas Opera for the first time. So … what’s the record attendance for such a sports venue operacast, anyway?


The Dallas Opera has received 21,000 requests for free tickets to its live simulcast of The Magic Flute in Cowboys Stadium. KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports the company’s plan is working: Most of the people will be seeing the Dallas Opera for the first time.

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In January, when the Dallas Opera announced its live simulcast in Cowboys Stadium, only 7500 seats were available. Those seats were quickly snatched up. Dallas Opera general director Keith Cerny says they really didn’t know what to expect.

Cerny: “This is the first time that the Dallas Opera has held this kind of event in a stadium, and we didn’t really have anything to go on in terms of estimating numbers. I will say I’ve been particularly delighted in seeing how quickly this audience has come together in the metroplex.”

With 21,000 requests, the Opera has decided to open up both sides of the stadium. People will watch the live feed from the Winspear Opera House of the April 28th performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. An additional 5,000 seats are now being reserved for schools and student groups.

Requests for the free tickets are still being accepted, but they can only be done through the Dallas Opera’s website. So far, the requests have come from 23 states and Canada. And 93 percent have come from people not found in the opera company’s own database.

Cerny: “Which is very much part of the goal here. We’re trying to tap into a new set of people. And of course, over time, we hope to build them into single ticket buyers.”

Several opera companies around the country have had success with such sports venue simulcasts. The San Francisco Opera is believed to have attracted the largest single audience with 32,000 people in AT&T Park.

Image outfront from The Onion Sports Network.

Full press release follows:




SATURDAY, APRIL 28, 2012 at 7:30 PM






DALLAS, TX, MARCH 1, 2012 – The Dallas Opera, in partnership with Cowboys Stadium, is thrilled to announce that more than 21,000 tickets to the Dallas Opera’s April 28th Cowboys Stadium Simulcast have been requested by opera lovers from throughout Texas and 23 additional states.  Ticket requests have also come in from the District of Columbia and Canada, since the joint announcement was made one month ago on January 26th at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Additional data collected from those making ticket requests indicate that, as of today, 93% of participating households have no previous purchasing history with the Dallas Opera.  For many, the Cowboys Stadium Simulcast will mark their first, live experience of the art form in any venue.

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, set the stage for the announcement explaining, “Sports and art are not typically thought of as belonging together.  Yet sporting events and great art do something similar—they get people talking.”

Now, people are talking about family outings to the Dallas Opera at Cowboys Stadium, many to experience a live classical performance or opera for the very first time.

An additional five thousand reserved seats will be made available to area schools and student groups as part of the Dallas Opera’s newly expanded educational efforts.

Mozart’s THE MAGIC FLUTE will be simulcast live 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.

Reserved seating is still available (up to 10 seats per person) through the Dallas Opera website 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,” explained 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.”

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.

“This production from Lyric Opera of Chicago,” says Mr. 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.”

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.


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.

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.”  Additional plaudits came his way for his superb conducting of the Dallas Opera’s triumphant new production of Wagner’s Tristan & Isolde, which played to sold-out houses this month.

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.  Currently, he serves as Director of Opera at Florida State University.

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.

Secure your seats today for the remaining spring mainstage productions: La traviata, and The Magic Flute, as well as the Dallas Opera’s brand-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.