I’ll be honest: I never attended the Dallas Opera’s Cowboys Stadium simulcasts. I”m sure they were good events. They were certainly well attended, and they brought the opera out into the center of the region. But I really don’t like the stadium. It’s a terrible place to watch sports, it’s a bit of a drive for Dallas residents, and “intimacy” isn’t a word that could describe anything within ten miles of place.
All that to say, while I had thought the Dallas Opera had gone all-in on Cowboys Stadium as the setting of their live simulcasts each season, the opera announced today that this fall they will host a simulcast closer to home at Klyde Warren Park. So break out the picnic baskets and blankets, shove that bottle of wine deep in the beach bag, and mark the date: Carmen on October 25. Here’s the full release:
THE DALLAS OPERA’S 2013 OPENING NIGHT
“SIMULCAST IN THE PARK!”
BIZET’S “CARMEN” LIVE!
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2013
THE LINDA AND MITCH HART
SEASON OPENING NIGHT PERFORMANCE
Big Screen Action Begins at 6:00 PM
Special Features at 6:30 PM
Live Opera Performance at 7:30 PM
WITH SUPPORT FROM THE DALLAS ARTS DISTRICT
DALLAS, TX, JUNE 28, 2013 – The Dallas Opera, in partnership with Klyde Warren Park and with support from The Dallas Arts District, is delighted to announce our first-ever artistic collaboration: a live simulcast of one of the most popular operas in the repertoire, Georges Bizet’s 1875 masterpiece, CARMEN, starring the gorgeous and gifted French mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine in her American debut!
The Klyde Warren Park Simulcast, the sixth simulcast presented by the Dallas Opera since 2010, will enable music lovers (as well as those who just want to be part of a fun-filled major event) to bring blankets and picnics—or take advantage of the variety of available dining options ranging from an on-site restaurant to nearby eateries and food trucks (beer and wine will be available for purchase as well)—and enjoy an evening of spectacular entertainment, live, from the Margaret McDermott Performance Hall of the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center!
Attendees will, in fact, be asked to become participants in the evening as the Dallas Opera stages a “Toreador Song Sing-a-long,” and other ways to keep things lively in the hour-and-a-half prior to curtain. For those who prefer people-watching in the park, you will have twice the opportunity, as the action in the park will be supplemented by glamorous live shots from FIRST NIGHT and interviews conducted backstage at the Winspear.
“Klyde Warren Park was conceived and designed for these types of activities—activities that bring the performing and visual arts to everyone. These programs help provide a way to promote and showcase art to those who may not otherwise experience these performances,” remarked Jody Grant, Chairman, Woodall Rogers Park Foundation.
“It has been clear from the day Klyde Warren Park officially opened,” commented Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny, “that it was attracting huge and impressively diverse crowds to the Arts District; people seeking a community oriented green-space capable of serving as a much-needed Central Park. However, it answers other needs as well: the layout is perfect to accommodate hundreds (even thousands) for the Dallas Opera’s Opening Night Simulcast of Carmen, being performed live in the Winspear—just around the corner.”
“With enthusiastic support from The Dallas Arts District and the park’s management team,” he adds, “we hope to draw an exciting mix of Klyde Warren Park fans and dedicated opera lovers that Friday night, to thrill to the music and drama of one of the world’s best-loved operas in this extraordinary open-air setting.”
“All are welcome in the Dallas Arts District, which works to be inclusive and collaborative at every opportunity and continues to set new attendance records each year,” notes Dallas Arts District Executive Director Catherine Cuellar.
“Through this partnership with our stakeholders at The Dallas Opera and Klyde Warren Park, we are helping to cultivate the next generation of opera fans,” she added, “and what better way to do it than with Carmen? It’s got many of opera’s greatest hits. Even people who don’t yet know they like opera will recognize these songs from ‘Looney Tunes’ cartoons and have fun singing along.”
The 2013-2014 “By Love Transformed” Season officially opens with our first CARMEN to be performed in the critically acclaimed acoustic of the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House.
Renowned mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine, hailed as “Best Newcomer” in the 2011 French Classical Music Awards, Margaine will have her hands full with two head-turning, heart-melting Don Josés: tenors Brandon Jovanovich, who last captivated us as Pinkerton, and Bruno Ribeiro (making his company debut).
This truly phenomenal cast, from Mary Dunleavy in the role of Micaëla to Dwayne Croft as Escamillo the Toreador, will bring on the sizzle—as well as the steak!
Featuring classic Jean-Pierre Ponnelle scenery from the San Francisco Opera, this production conducted by Maestro Emmanuel Villaume, the Dallas Opera’s highly acclaimed new music director, will make all the other good/bad girls of opera seem tame, if not lame, in comparison.
Georges Bizet’s colorful, sensual and passionate nineteenth-century masterpiece will be staged by veteran American director Bliss Hebert, who last directed our critically acclaimed 2012 production of La traviata, the notable U.S. debut of Greek soprano Myrtò Paptanasiu, our “Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year.”
American tenor Brandon Jovanovich will sing the role of Don José on Oct. 25 (the evening of the Klyde Warren Park Simulcast), Oct. 27, and 30, while TDO newcomer, Portuguese tenor Bruno Ribeiro will portray the obsessed lover on Nov. 2, 8 and 10, 2013.
This outstanding international cast includes soprano Danielle Pastin in her company debut as Frasquita; mezzo Audrey Babcock in her Dallas Opera debut as Mercédès; bass Kyle Albertson (another company debut) as Zuniga; baritone Stephen LaBrie as the smuggler, La Dancaire; tenor Victor Ryan Robertson as Remendado and baritone John David Boehr in his TDO debut as Moralès.
Mr. Jovanovich, who enthralled Dallas audiences in our 2010 production of Madame Butterfly (described by Huffington Post’s Rodney Punt as the definitive Pinkerton of our time), has been dazzling critics recently in the title role of Wagner’s Lohengrin. San Francisco Chronicle Classical Music Critic Joshua Kosman wrote: “Jovanovich combined sweet-toned lyricism and ardent heroism in just the proportions required for this tricky role. His singing was thrillingly pure and tireless, his stage presence simultaneously tender and aloof.”
Portuguese tenor Bruno Ribeiro, on the other hand, “gives rich voice to soulful pleadings” and has been praised for allowing “vulnerability to color his expressive tenor” (examiner.com).
Soprano Mary Dunleavy “melds outstanding acting ability with a flexible and gorgeous voice” (William Thomas Walker, cvnc.org), characteristics on display in her tour de force portrayal of all four love interests in the Dallas Opera’s 2005 production of Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann, earning rave reviews and that season’s “Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year Award.”
Bass-baritone Dwayne Croft swept Dallas Opera goers off their feet as Marcello in our 2009 production of La bohème. A singer praised by The Classical Review for his “musical intelligence” and an onstage presence that is both “dashing and ardent.”
Soprano Danielle Pastin impressed reviewer James O. Welsch with her “stunning lyrical beauty and tone.” And Catherine Reese Newton of The St. Louis Tribune praised mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock as “a vocal and dramatic knockout.” Bass Kyle Albertson, on the other hand, was applauded by ConcertoNet for his “splendid interpretation” of the role of Henry Kissinger in Long Beach Opera’s production of Nixon in China; while baritone Steven LaBrie caught the ear of The Opera Critic “with his rich yet flexible voice, good looks and charismatic personality” and tenor Victor Ryan Robertson “made a fine impression” on Opera News. Baritone John David Boehr earned the praise of Michael Anthony of MinnPost.com for his “welcome energy and adroit singing” at Minnesota Opera.
As for Maestro Villaume, Lawrence A. Johnson recently wrote that “he displayed his considerable bona fides in French repertoire once again, conducting a performance that conveyed the melodic richness of Bizet’s music with elegance, delicacy and dramatic point as needed.”
Costume design is by Werner Iverke in his company debut, with lighting design by Thomas C. Hase.
The Dallas Opera Chorus will be prepared by Chorus Master Alexander Rom and the children’s chorus by Children’s Chorus Master Melinda Cotten.
CARMEN will be sung in French, with English language translations projected above the stage and on the simulcast screen at Klyde Warren Park.
This will be the Dallas Opera’s sixth production of CARMEN in our 56-year-history.