backstage@theopera: The TDO Newsletter

March 22, 2013

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Featured Events

For more information, see our events calendar!

Wed 4/24 8p
UNT presents Jake Heggie’s Ahab Symphony

Sat 4/27
10:30a & 2:00p
Doctor Miracle

Sun 4/28 2p
The Aspern Papers Final Performance

Wed 5/1 12p

Sat 5/4 1p
Music & Masterpieces with DMA, featuring soprano Angela Turner Wilson

Sat 5/11
Inside The Dallas Opera on WRR 101.1FM

Wed 5/15 12p

Tue 5/21 6:30p
Composing Conversations with Jennifer Higdon


Henry James: Stories of Style and Substance

by Olin Chism

The writer Henry James once claimed to be “unlyrical, unmusical, unrhythmical, and unmanageable.”

It’s remarkable, then, that his fiction has inspired operas by several prominent composers: Dominick Argento (The Aspern Papers), Benjamin Britten (The Turn of the Screw and OwenWingrave), Douglas Moore (The Wings of the Dove) and Thomas Pasatieri (Washington Square).

Why did they turn to a self-described “unmusical” writer for their librettos? For one thing, James was a masterful story-teller, and a good story is at the heart of most successful operas.

Read more on our blog >

UNT presents world premiere of acclaimed composer Jake Heggie’s
Ahab Symphony
at 8pm tonight in the Murchison Performing Arts Center
$8 to $10

The University of North Texas Symphony Orchestra will present the world premiere of composer Jake Heggie’s first full symphonic work, Ahab Symphony, expanding on ideas he explored in his critically acclaimed Dallas Opera world premiere, Moby-Dick, with additional text from W.H. Auden’s poem, “Herman Melville,” as well.  The new work, written for the UNT Symphony Orchestra and featuring the UNT Grand Chorus and tenor soloist Richard Croft, will be conducted by David Itkin.

The first half of the program introduces the “sea theme” of the evening with Felix Mendelssohn’s Overture: Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, Opus 27, and Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes, Opus 33a, from the opera Peter Grimes.

The 8 p.m. concert in Winspear Hall at the Murchison Performing Arts Center in Denton is $10 for adults; $8 for seniors, UNT faculty and staff, non-UNT students, children and groups of 10 or more; and free for UNT students with valid ID. For ticket information, call the box office at 940-369-7802 or visit

Join us for a free patron concert on Friday, April 26!

Kirstin Chávez as Maddalena in TDO’s Rigoletto

Please be our guest for an evening of music starring Mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chávez with The Dallas Opera Orchestra featuring special guest conductor Anthony Barrese. This one-night only concert will include selections from Carmen and Eugene Onegin. 

It's our way of saying thank you for all you do to support The Dallas Opera. We are fortunate to have such great patrons.

Date  Friday, April 26, 2013

7:30 pm

Place Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House

Cost This is a FREE event. This is a general admission seating concert, but a ticket is required.

RSVP To RSVP, click here.

Megan’s Musings

Vol. 18: Jennifer Youngs

moderated by Megan Meister

I am sitting down with soprano Jennifer Youngs who is making her Dallas Opera debut as The Maid in The Aspern Papers.

Listen on our blog >

From the Desk of TDO's general Director

The Case of the Jealous Mezzo

by TDO General Director Keith Cerny

In his newest Off the Cuff column for TheaterJones, Keith Cerny explores the idea that in opera, the mezzo is rarely the love interest. She still has some plum roles, though.

Nineteenth-century opera, especially Italian opera, is full of dramatic conventions. Given any plot and set of characters, one of the most important choices a composer has to make is how to assign the different vocal ranges. For women, the basic vocal ranges are—as most readers know—soprano, mezzo-soprano and contralto. For male singers, the most common ranges are tenor, baritone and bass (excluding specialist types, such as countertenor). There are endless subtle variations (e.g. basso profundo for the lowest bass, coloratura soprano for vocal dexterity), but these six types cover the basic landscape. You’ll be tested on this later.

Read more at TheaterJones >

Quote of the Week

“I think that music…began as an emotional language. For me, all music begins where speech stops.”

Dominick Argento

Facebook Question of the Week

What is your favorite American opera?

“Being a Gershwin fan, Porgy and Bess!”


“I’d have to go with The Tender Land, with a close second to Of Mice and Men…”

“Vanessa. All the way.”

“Porgy & Bess and The Aspern Papers (no, really).”

Join the fun on our Facebook page! >

A special thanks to Northern Trust and their loyal and generous support of the Dallas Opera OnStage Dinner!

From left: Jonathan Pell, TDO Artist Director; Keith Cerny, TDO General Director & CEO; Graeme Jenkins, TDO Music Director; Mark Flagg, Dallas Opera Board Member and Northern Trust's Dallas Region President. Photo by Karen Almond Photography.

Northern Trust has sponsored this elegant annual soirée since 1992 and this year’s event on Monday, April 23rd featured mezzo-soprano (and rising star) Sasha Cooke performing such rarities and classics as  “Amor” by William Bolcom, “What a Movie” from Trouble in Tahiti by Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin’s “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess and “Can’t Help Lovin’ dat Man” from Show Boat by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein.  The evening concluded with a special tribute to Dallas Opera Music Director Graeme Jenkins honoring his twenty illustrious years as music director of the Dallas Opera.

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