KERA Arts Story Search

Looking for events? Click here for the Go See DFW events calendar.

Bugs Bunny’s Shenanigans Return To Dallas Opera Simulcast

by Jerome Weeks 21 Jan 2014 2:05 PM

Oh yeah, and the Dallas Opera is returning to five mainstage shows next season, including DTC artistic director Kevin Moriarty directing the season opener, The Marriage of Figaro.


keith at stadiumThis season’s The Barber of Seville (March 28-April 13) will be the Dallas Opera’s latest free simulcast at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. And like the second simulcast — Puccini’s Turandot in February last year, which screened the Bugs Bunny cartoon, What’s Opera, Doc? — the main event of this April 11th simulcast will be preceded by a Chuck Jones classic, another Looney Tunes opera parody with Bugs and Elmer Fudd. It’s the 1950 cartoon, Rabbit of Seville.

Free general admission tickets for the simulcast can be obtained — now — here.

Oh yeah, and next season, the Dallas Opera is returning to presenting five mainstage shows — after having cut back to only three in 2012. In September, the DO announced that it had achieved a balanced operating budget — two years ahead of schedule. So the return to five shows is a nice, big deal but not entirely unexpected.

And in a press conference today held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington (not to be confused with AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas), Dallas Opera general director Keith Cerny (above) revealed the details of the 2014-15 season, which will include the long-awaited world premiere, Everest, the opera debut of British composer Jody Talbot, written by Gene Sheer (librettist for Moby-Dick). And the season will open with The Marriage of Figaro, which was a Lyric Opera of Chicago production. It’ll  be staged by Dallas Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty. Moriarty directed The Lighthouse at the Wyly Theatre for the company in 2012. Figaro will star Italian bass-baritone Mirco Palazzi in the title role and Austrian soprano Beatte Ritter in her American debut as Susanna — and it’ll be Moriarty’s Winspear Opera House debut. Perhaps the most unusual selection in the season is Tchaikovsky’s rarely performed Iolanta from 1892 — his final opera and this is the first time the company has done. It will close the DO’s season.

Cerny also pointed out that calendar year 2015 will be remarkable for the company: It will include three world premieres, Everest, Great Scott with composer Jake Heggie and a currently unnamed “holidary opera” by composer Mark Adamo.

Here’s the full calendar for 2014-15, and then all the details about visiting stars, conductors and debuts will come after the jump:


  • THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO by W.A. Mozart — October 24, 26(m), 29, Nov. 1, 7 & 9(m), 2014
  • SALOME by Richard Strauss — October 30, Nov. 2(m), 5, 8, & 16, 2014
  • LA WALLY (Act IV) by Alfredo Catalani — on a double bill with a Dallas Opera world premiere,

EVEREST by Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer — January 30, Feb. 1(m), 4, 7, 2015

  • LA BOHÈME by Giacomo Puccini — March 13, 15(m), 18, 21, 27 & 29(m), 2015
  • IOLANTA by P.I. Tchaikovsky — April 10, 12(m), 15 & 18, 2015











FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2013 AT 8:00 PM



               DALLAS, FEBRUARY 12, 2013 — The Dallas Opera is proud to announce its return to five mainstage productions (including one double-bill) for the company’s adventurous 2014-2015 Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

The 58th International Season, “HEIGHTS OF PASSION” consists of eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century masterpieces—in addition to a new Dallas Opera world premiere.  All told, two passionately loved romances, a groundbreaking twentieth-century opera, rarely performed gems from the repertoire and an important world premiere inspired by a modern-day tragedy on Mount Everest.

The 2014-2015 Season will commence the evening of Friday, October 24, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. (please note special time for the Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance in conjunction with the Dallas Opera’s traditional FIRST NIGHT celebrations) and continue through the final curtain calls on Sunday, April 18, 2015.

“Together we will scale the “Heights of Passion” in six outstanding works designed to showcase some of the world’s highest musical achievements,” explains Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny.  “However, in our continuing quest for balance,” Cerny adds, “we are proud to explore less familiar terrain this season: two works never before produced by the Dallas Opera—in addition to an eagerly anticipated 2015 world premiere of the first opera by acclaimed British composer Joby Talbot, with a brilliant libretto by Gene Scheer.

“With careful planning, we’ve managed to expand the Dallas Opera season for the second consecutive year to include a variety of new productions, family performances and special programs as we work to achieve sensational new heights of artistry, innovation, imagination and design.”

Among the upcoming season highlights are four noteworthy American debuts; however, every Dallas Opera performance will feature internationally renowned singers, exceptional conductors, and other artists of the top rank.

Each TDO production will feature the outstanding talents of the Dallas Opera Orchestra and Dallas Opera Chorus, led by some of the finest conductors at work in the world today.

As always, these masterpieces will be performed in their original languages, with English translations projected above the stage at every performance.              Renewal packets for season subscribers are being mailed to patrons shortly; however, Dallas Opera Season Subscribers are eligible to renew their seats for the 2014-2015 Season, beginning today, January 21, 2013, and an email with renewal instructions and options will be sent this afternoon.

New Dallas Opera patrons can purchase their subscriptions for the 2014-2015 Season as of June 1, 2014Subscriptions all six productions (including a double bill of the final act of La Wally and the new one-act opera, Everest) can be purchased for as little as $76.


Single tickets are expected to go on sale to the general public in July, starting at just $19.  All single tickets for individual performances are subject to availability.  Tickets may be purchased at the door – throughout the 2014-2015 Season – or in advance by calling 214.443.1000.  Subscriptions and single tickets will also be available for purchase online throughout the season at

The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera house is located in the heart of the Arts District at 2403 Flora St., Dallas TX 75201.


For more information, consult the friendly staff in the Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214-443-1000 or visit us online at     




The 2014-2015 “Heights of Passion” Season officially opens on the evening of Friday, October 24 at 8:00 PM—The Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance—with Mozart’s THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO in the critically acclaimed acoustic of the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House.


Figaro loves Susanna, but he’s not the only one.  In a single crazy, romantic day, doors will be locked and unlocked, disguises donned, kisses exchanged and innermost hearts revealed—to some of the most memorable music Mozart ever composed.  Leading this merry band is Italian bass-baritone Mirco Palazzi (Figaro), who charmed us out of our seats as Leporello in his 2010 U.S. debut showing “great spirit and comic timing” (Mike Silverman, Associated Press) and Austrian soprano, Beate Ritter, a European favorite in her American debut as the lovely Susanna.

This stellar international cast includes Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins as Count Almaviva.  Jay Nordlinger of The New Criterion wrote: “He owns a gorgeous voice, a voice with gold in it.  I am not talking about its bankability but rather its tone…and he filled the Koch Theater with this gold, this glow.”  Mr. Hopkins was selected by Opera News magazine as one of the twenty-five artists poised to define opera for this generation.

His melancholy Countess will be portrayed by the much-discussed Australian soprano, Nicole Car, in her exciting American debut.  She’s been described by Opera Insider as “sensational, with one of the most beautifully lyric, full-bodied and honeyed voices I have ever heard.”

Mezzo-soprano Emily Fons, a former member of the Ryan Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, charmed The Chicago Tribune’s John von Rhein as the love-struck Cherubino, the role she will reprise here in Dallas: “has there ever been a more winning impersonation?  Her “Voi che sapete” is enough to melt the Countess’ heart, and our own as well.”

Another world renowned mezzo, Britain’s Diana Montague will be making her TDO debut as Marcellina.  Last season, she appeared to great critical acclaim in the Welsh National Opera production of Handel’s Jephtha prompting the Manchester Salon to write: “there were gasps throughout the house when she had finished.  I’ve seen and heard many great moments in Handel’s works but nothing, that I recall, to match this.”

And as Doctor Bartolo, one of America’s most sought-after basses: Kevin Langan, praised by Opera magazine and The New York Times for his “revelatory” performances in this role with his “deep, toffee-smooth voice and convincing interpretive abilities.”

The other principal artists in this outstanding ensemble cast are acclaimed character tenor Doug Jones as Don Basilio, soprano Deanna Breiwick in her company debut as Barbarina, bass Adam Lau in his TDO debut as Antonio, the gardener and tenor Jon Kolbet as Don Curzio.


Conducted by our distinguished Music Director Emmanuel Villaume and staged by acclaimed Dallas Theater Center Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty (The Lighthouse)—this Figaro could very well be a marriage made in heaven!

“In 2012 I had the great pleasure of directing an opera for the first time, when The Dallas Opera produced The Lighthouse,” explained Mr. Moriarty.  “Inspired by that experience of collaborating with Maestro Paiement on a modern musical masterpiece, I was overjoyed when Keith Cerny invited me to return to direct Le nozze de Figaro.

“This will be my first opportunity to direct a major work of the standard repertoire,” he added “and will allow everyone involved to kick up our heels with laughter at the hilarious plot, marvel at the musical wonders of Mozart’s beautiful score, and delve into bringing these wonderfully rich characters to life on the Winspear stage. “What a joy it will be!”

Production design for The Marriage of Figaro is by John Bury in this classic production from Lyric Opera of Chicago. The Dallas Opera Chorus will be prepared by Chorus Master Alexander Rom.

Performances will continue on October 26(m), 29, November 1, 7 & 9(m), 2014 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, selected by Southern Living as the best new venue for opera.  All evening performances besides the Opening Night of the Season will begin promptly at 7:30 PM.  Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 PM.

A free, pre-performance lecture (“The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talks”) will be conducted one hour prior to curtain at most performances.  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 Dallas Opera’s “HEIGHTS OF PASSION” Season, opening on Friday, October 31, 2014 at 7:30 p.m., is Richard Strauss’ groundbreaking 20th century opera, SALOME.

For once, the term “over the top” doesn’t seem nearly high enough.

A king’s unbridled lust and his step-daughter’s obsession with John the Baptist combine with explosive force in this lushly passionate rendering of Oscar Wilde’s play, set in Ancient Judea.  It’s a work that requires a phenomenal cast and the Dallas Opera delivers, starting with soprano Deborah Voigt in the controversial title role and baritone Greer Grimsley as the prophet in their long-awaited company debuts!

Throughout her illustrious career, Ms. Voigt has given the world definitive performances of iconic roles in German opera, including this one.  Anne Midgette of The Washington Post wrote: “Voigt has a lovely voice, and she has worked to make this role her own…she channels the freshness of a teenager.”

The Dallas Opera is thrilled to welcome back tenor Robert Brubaker, who dazzled Dallas audiences opposite Patricia Racette in our 2004 production of Jenufa, to sing the role of the lustful King Herod.  His portrayal in this role earned raves from the Louisville Journal Courier: “Brubaker sang with exceptional control over color and dynamic projection, reveling in one of Strauss’ most intricate acting assignments.”

Bass-baritone Greer Grimsley, one of the most acclaimed Wagnerian singers of our day, will bring the prophet Jokanaan to life on the Dallas Opera stage.  Better known as “John the Baptist,” Grimsley has earned raves for singing “with a rare combination of power and suavity” (Huffington Post).

Every degenerate king needs a corrupt and corrosive queen, and TDO’s Herodias will be sung by the extraordinary British mezzo-soprano, Susan Bickley, in her long-awaited company debut.  Critic Andrew Clements of The Guardian calls her performances “heartstoppingly direct, seamlessly expressive, and perfectly even in tone…a marvel in every respect.”

Texas-born tenor Scott Quinn, a former TDO Artist-in-Residence, returns to Dallas in the role of the lovelorn Narraboth, after appearing on our stage as Tybalt, Roderigo, Lord Cecil and Normanno.

Mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson will portray Herodias’ Page.  This season, she sings the title role in Boston Lyric’s new production of Lizzie Borden and she has already been hailed by Opera News as “a dramatic singer in the truest sense.”

The brilliant ensemble cast includes bass Bradley Garvin as the First Nazarene; bass Grigory Soloviov in his company debut as First Soldier; bass Jason Grant as Second Soldier; tenor Joseph Hu as First Jew; tenor Jay Gardner as Second Jew; tenor Julius Ahn in his TDO debut as Third Jew; tenor Steven Haal as Fourth Jew; bass Patrick Guetti as Fifth Jew in his company debut and tenor Tyler Simpson as Second Nazarene in his Dallas Opera debut.

Conducted by Evan Rogister, praised by The New York Times for drawing “nuanced and voluptuous playing from the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra,” and directed by the legendary Francesco Zambello, this Biblical tale of lust and betrayal in the court of King Herod promises to reveal humanity at its most depraved and to uncover our deepest, darkest secrets…one veil at a time.

Scenic design is by Peter J. Davison with costumes by Anita Yavich in this production created for Washington National Opera.  Lighting design will be by Mark McCullough and choreography for the all-important “Dance of the Seven Veils” by Yael Levitin, another TDO debut.


Sung in German, with English language translations projected above the stage, SALOME can be experienced at one of four additional performances: November 2(m), 5, 8 & 16, 2014 in the Winspear Opera House.

The third production of the 2014-2015 “Heights of Passion” Season is an unusual double bill: the eagerly anticipated world premiere of EVEREST—the first opera by renowned British composer Joby Talbot with a superb libretto by Gene Scheer (Moby-Dick)—preceded by the climactic final act of an 1892 rarity: Alfred Catalani’s LA WALLY (Act IV) set on an Alpine mountaintop.

The first half of the evening, LA WALLY, will star the Dallas Opera’s triumphant 2012 Aida, soprano Latonia Moore, in the title role.  Critic Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of Theater Jones called her performance last season “transcendent” with a “big and beautiful voice that easily soared over cast, chorus and orchestra.  On top of that, her acting was riveting.”

Tenor Carl Tanner will make his Dallas Opera debut as Giuseppe Hagenbach.  Following his 2010 Metropolitan Opera debut, Uptempo Magazine proclaimed “the quality of Tanner’s voice gave a lasting impression with its vastly dynamic and resonant timbre.”

Conducted by Anthony Barrese and staged in this abridged production by director Candace Evans, this is the tale of a free-spirited and fiercely passionate young woman who realizes, too late, that love delayed isn’t always love denied.

On the slopes of Mount Everest, luck and the weather can turn with equal ferocity and swiftness, and dreams die even for the most valiant of men.  British composer Joby Talbot’s first opera—EVEREST—a Dallas Opera world premiere with a libretto by Gene Scheer (Moby-Dick)—confronts the tragic events surrounding an ill-fated Everest expedition with a cast that includes tenor Andrew Bidlack and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, as well as bass Kevin Burdette and baritone Craig Verm in their company debuts.  This much-anticipated Dallas Opera world premiere will be conducted by contemporary music specialist Nicole Paiement and staged by director Leonard Foglia (Moby-Dick) with stunning projections by Elaine J. McCarthy (Moby-Dick, Tristan & Isolde) to carry us to the one of the highest, most awe-inspiring, and dangerous places on earth.

Maestra Paiement made a profound impression on theatergoers during the 2012 launch of our chamber opera series: The Lighthouse by Peter Maxwell Davies.  Wrote Willard Spiegelman of Opera News, “Nicole Paiement led the ensemble briskly through a score that is rhythmically as well as harmonically complex.”  Dallas Observer Classical Music Critic Katie Womack expounded further: “The success of Friday’s performance was largely due to Nicole Paiement, who conducted the orchestra skillfully and artistically, and DTC’s artistic director, Kevin Moriarty, who’s staging of this work marked his opera directorial debut. Moriarty’s transition to this genre seemed effortless and his work at home in the Wylie Theatre space. Together, the two produced one of the most interesting hours of opera I’ve seen in a while.”

Andrew Bidlack, praised by David Fleshler of The Miami Herald for his “smooth legato and heroic top notes,” prompted Classical Voice of New England to proclaim that he has “vocal color to match one of the original ‘Three Tenors”.”  Mr. Bidlack made his TDO debut as Sandy in The Lighthouse, which launched our chamber opera series in 2012.

Mezzo Sasha Cooke, who debuted with Dallas Opera in last season’s acclaimed new production of Dominick Argento’s The Aspern Papers before creating the role of Mary Magdalene in the SFO world premiere of Mark Adamo’s most recent work, “made a brilliant impression,” according to Georgia Rowe of Opera News.  “Cooke sang with complete conviction, sounding unforced and lustrous.”  While San Francisco Chronicle Critic Joshua Kosman wrote that her singing was “eloquent and shimmeringly rich.”

Kevin Burdette will be making his company debut but he’s already attracting a lot of attention for his “large powerful voice with a burnished robust sound” and a “vibrant personality that pervaded the entire theater” (Opera Today).

Baritone Craig Verm, who will also be making his TDO debut in this production, has earned raves for his “brilliantly performed” roles and “consistently solid and well-colored” singing” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Performances of this unique double bill (LA WALLY sung in Italian, EVEREST sung in English, with English language supertitles projected above the stage) will take place in the magnificent Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House on January 30, February 1, 4 & 7, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.  These works will be separated by an intermission.  Patrons can also expect special opportunities to learn more about this Dallas Opera world premiere in the months to come.


The fourth production in the Dallas Opera’s upcoming season is a revival of one of the best-loved works in the entire repertoire: Puccini’s 1896 masterpiece, LA BOHÈME.  This Dallas Opera production designed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, with costumes by Peter J. Hall, will be guided by Italian conductor Riccardo Frizza in his TDO debut and staged by director Harry Silverstein.

And what a cast!

Grammy Award-winning Latin American soprano Ana María Martínez returns to the Dallas Opera stage following her star turn in our 2008 production of Die Fledermaus to sing the role of the frail seamstress, Mimi.  According to Mark Thomas Ketterson of Opera News, Ms. Martinez has shown herself to be “a radiantly vulnerable Mimi, consistently employing her darkly textured lyric soprano with great sensitivity to dynamics and text.”

Described as Britain’s “go-to tenor for grand opera,” New Orleans native Bryan Hymel will portray the poet Rodolfo with a voice described by Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times as “dark-hued and muscular, with a quick vibrato and earthy texture…Mr. Hymel sang with unflagging stamina and impetuous abandon, capped with some exciting full-voiced top notes.”  He made his 2011 Dallas Opera debut as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, which earned the artist a nomination for the 2012 “Maria Callas Award” for achieving one of the most notable debuts that season.

Soprano Davinia Rodriguez, born in Spain’s Canary Islands and now living in Italy, makes her Dallas Opera debut in this production.  Praised by The Seattle Times as “dramatically convincing and vocally resplendent,” Ms. Rodriguez will be paired with baritone Jonathan Beyer (Captain Gardiner in the Dallas Opera’s 2010 world premiere production of Moby-Dick) as the equally mercurial Marcello.  Diana Burgwyn of Opera Now found Mr. Beyer “totally at ease with his physical and vocal self (with) a rounded, sure baritone voice and excellent diction.”  Added Tom Huizenga of The Washington Post: “Beyer has the luxury of a robust, handsome voice, and promising years ahead.”

The international ensemble cast includes Russian bass Alexander Vinogradov, an artist who made his acclaimed Bolshoi Theatre debut at the age of 21.  He will sing the role of the philosophical Colline.  Native son Stephen LaBrie, a baritone who dazzled in the role of the smuggler, Le Dancaïre, continues to impress audiences with his acting as well as his vocal abilities.  Opera Now calls him “a young baritone to watch.”

Bass Stefan Szkafarowsky, a native of New York City, sang in the Dallas Opera’s triumphant 2011 production of Boris Godunov and will return for the dual roles of Benoit the landlord and Musetta’s unfortunate suitor, Alcindoro.

The conductor of LA BOHÈME will be Riccardo Frizza in his company debut.  Maestro Frizza is described by Seen and Heard as “totally convincing, conducting his forces with both strength and gentleness, always supporting the singers and getting fine results from the orchestra.”  TDO will welcome back Chicago-based director Harry Silverstein to guide the enormous cast in this ever-popular favorite.


Lighting design by Thomas C. Hase and chorus preparation by Dallas Opera Chorus Master Alexander Rom.  The children’s chorus will be prepared by Melinda Cotten.

One of the perks of subscribing is a 20% discount on all additional single tickets purchased for friends, family, co-workers—or yourself.  Learn more today at


The Dallas Opera’s 2013-2014 Season Finale is a rarely performed and little-known work by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, IOLANTA, which shared its 1892 world premiere with another work by the composer, a ballet entitled The Nutcracker.

Tchaikovsky’s final opera, a one-act with a libretto by his brother, Modest, is a fairytale romance based on a then-popular Danish play by Henrik Hertz, King Rene’s Daughter.  Set in medieval Provence in Southern France, Iolanta tells the story of a kind-hearted young princess sheltered from the truth about herself — she was born blind.  One day a stranger enters her private garden where, entranced by her beauty, he asks for a token to remember her by; a red rose.  Through this simple request, many lives are changed forever.

Love and duty, deception and faith collide in this gentle romance performed by a superb Russian/American ensemble in this new Dallas Opera production with lighting design by Thomas Hase and projections by Elaine J. McCarthy (Moby-Dick, Tristan & Isolde)

Staged by German director Christian Räth (Tristan & Isolde) and featuring a gorgeous and lushly romantic score conducted by Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume with a cast that includes Ekaterina Scherbachenko, a Russian soprano who rose to fame after winning the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 2009 and who has made Iolanta a signature role.  Described by Victoria Stapelis of Opera magazine as “exquisitely sensitive and fine-tuned in the title role, Ms. Scherbachenko will be joined onstage by tenor Sergei Skorokhodov in his company debut as Count Vaudémont, soprano Joanna Mongiardo in her TDO debut as Brigitta, mezzo-soprano Lauren McNeese as Laura, mezzo Tamara Mumford in another company debut as Marta, and Ukrainian baritone Andrei Bondarenko—another Cardiff competition winner (2011)—in one of two American debuts in this production, the other being baritone Vladislav Sulimsky from Belarus.

This production also marks the return of bass Mikhail Kolelishvili (Boris Godunov), tenor Andrew Bidlack (The Lighthouse) and bass Jordan Bisch (Lucia di Lammermoor) nominated for the “Maria Callas Award.”


“It is my sincere hope that, over the course of this season, ours eyes will be opened—many times—to the power and wonder of this shared experience we call ‘opera”,” adds Music Director Emmanuel Villaume. “Won’t you join us?”



The Dallas Opera has presented five American premieres, as well as three world premiere works in its illustrious 57–year-history, and has plans for three more major world premieres during the 2015 calendar year alone.  It also continues to create fresh, new productions of established masterpieces of the genre.

Evening performances during the 2014-2015 Season will begin at 7:30 PM, unless otherwise stated (including an 8:00 p.m. curtain for the Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance).  All Sunday matinees are slated to begin at 2:00 p.m.

The “Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talks,” a free background lecture for the opera being performed that day, takes place in Nancy B. Hamon Hall located off the Winspear Opera House lobby one hour prior to each performance, except for Opening Night of the Season.

Dallas Opera performs in the original languages.  Easy-to-read English translations are projected above the stage during every Dallas Opera performance and special headsets are available for the hearing impaired.

No late seating is permitted at Dallas Opera performances once the house doors are closed.

For additional information about next season, call The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214-443-1000 or visit us online at