Tomorrow night, The Dallas Opera opens its 2010-11 season, its second in the glittering new Winspear Opera House. With 30 performances in all, the new season comprises five productions exploring "Dangerous Desires" - themes of romantic drama and political intrigue - kicking off with Mozart's Don Giovanni, which stars Tony® Award-winner Paolo Szot. The opening-night performance will be simulcast live in the newly rededicated Annette Strauss Square (the latest addition to the AT&T Performing Arts Center), which is conveniently located between the Winspear Opera House and the Meyerson Symphony Center in downtown Dallas. Szot's appearance marks his Dallas Opera debut, which comes just months after his debut at the Metropolitan Opera. Rounding out the season are a new production of Donizetti's Anna Bolena (October 29, 31; November 3, 6, 12, & 14); Gounod's Roméo et Juliette (February 11, 13, 16, 19, 25, & 27); Verdi's Rigoletto (March 25, 27, 30; April 2, 7, & 10); and Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov (April 1, 3, 6, 9, 15, & 17), which will be The Dallas Opera's first staging of the Russian epic and the first time it has been produced in Dallas for two generations.
This evening, the Tony Award-winner Paulo Szot, who starred as Emile de Becque in the acclaimed Broadway revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific, breathes new life into the dangerously seductive title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni. Szot, a Polish-Brazilian baritone born in Sao Paulo, will be making his Dallas Opera debut.
"Paulo is the epitome of 'tall, dark, and handsome' and debuts here in a role that could have been written with him in mind," says artistic director Jonathan Pell. "The Dallas Opera is extremely fortunate to be able to present this artist who has shown an amazing ability to connect on both a musical and an emotional level with both his co-stars and members of the audience. I expect him to create an indelible portrayal of Mozart's rake as part of an astonishingly gifted ensemble."
Soprano Georgia Jarman, described by Opera News as a singer who performs "with glittering precision and high-flying ease," will appear as Donna Elvira in her company debut. Claire Rutter, acclaimed for her "tonal splendor" by the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph, returns to The Dallas Opera as Donna Anna. Tenor Bruce Ford will sing the role of the courageous Don Ottavio, a characterization described by the Times of London as "unusually intense." Baritone Mirco Palazzi will make his American debut as the harried Leporello, while soprano Ailyn Pérez (Zerlina) and Ben Wager (Masetto) will be making their Dallas Opera debuts. Bass Morris Robinson's "chilling" portrayal of the Commendatore has been praised by the Washington Times as a highlight of past productions; he will also be making his company debut.
Romanian Nicolae Moldoveanu, who made his Dallas Opera debut in 2004 leading a double bill of works by composer Manuel De Falla, will conduct the Dallas Opera Orchestra. The Dallas Opera Chorus will be prepared by chorus master Alexander Rom. The production was designed and will be directed by John Pascoe, with lighting design by Jeff Davis, in his company debut.
The Dallas Opera's 54th season sees the company with a burnished reputation and better-than-ever creative spirits. The company was the talk of the opera world last season, with the opening of its Winspear Opera House and the world premiere of Jake Heggie's Moby-Dick (starring Ben Heppner) both being events that were celebrated by the international media as game-changers for opera in Dallas. The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts opened to hosannas in October 2009 with a production of Verdi's Otello. Jonathan Pell, artistic director of The Dallas Opera, told the Dallas Morning News: "The move into the Winspear Opera House represents a major milestone in the history of The Dallas Opera. For the first time, we will be performing in a purpose-built opera house, with an extraordinary sense of intimacy and superb acoustics... . It will encourage the company to greater heights." The Washington Post reported that the world premiere of Heggie's Moby-Dick ratified those ambitions: "While new work is often seen by audiences as more a duty than a pleasure, the opening-night crowd in Dallas broke into spontaneous applause three times during the first half, and screamed and yelled its approval at the curtain calls. It was a wonderful and rare reminder that new opera truly can excite people if it's done right."
DON GIOVANNI by W.A. Mozart ("The Libertine Punished, or, Don Giovanni")
October 22, 24(m), 27, 30; November 5 & 7(m), 2010
Conductor: Nicolae Moldoveanu
Stage director: John Pascoe
Starring: Paulo Szot (Don Giovanni), Claire Rutter (Donna Anna), Georgia Jarman* (Donna Elvira), Jonathan Boyd (Don Ottavio), Mirco Palazzi** (Leporello), Ailyn Perez* (Zerlina), Ben Wager* (Masetto), and Morris Robinson* (The Commendatore)
ANNA BOLENA by Gaetano Donizetti
October 29, 31(m); November 3, 6, 12, & 14(m), 2010
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Stage director: Stephen Lawless
Starring: Hasmik Papian (Anne Boleyn), Denyce Graves (Jane Seymour), Stephen Costello (Lord Percy), Oren Gradus (King Henry VIII), Elena Belfiore** (Smeton), Mark McCrory (Lord Rochefort), and Aaron Blake* (Hervey)
ROMEO ET JULIETTE by Charles Gounod
February 11, 13(m), 16, 19, 25, & 27(m), 2011
Conductor: Marco Zambelli*
Stage director: Michael Kahn
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
Conductor: Pietro Rizzo
Stage director: Harry Silverstein
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
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Original production: Andrei Tarkovsky
Stage director: Stephen Lawless
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
Events and cast members may be subject to change.
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 is a new supporting partner. A special thanks is due to Mrs. William W. Winspear and the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for their continuing support.