For its 62nd season, The Dallas Opera is hoping audiences will get "swept away" by five classic operas, as well as the return of its acclaimed family performance series. A pairing of Puccini works and the company's first production of a Shakespearean-inspired favorite are two of the lineup's highlights.
Music director Emmanuel Villaume is on the podium for three of the productions, starting with The Flying Dutchman in October. Said to have been inspired by Wagner's rough sea voyage from Latvia to London in 1839, and also based on old German legends, the opera stars bass-baritone Greer Grimsley as the doomed Dutchman, opposite German-Italian soprano Anja Kampe in her house debut as Senta, the woman irresistibly drawn to the legend. Tenor Jay Hunter Morris returns to TDO as the jilted Erik, desperate to win back the heart and hand of his beloved. The stellar international cast also includes mezzo-soprano Luretta Bybee as Mary and Australian tenor Alisdair Kent as the Steersman. There will be four performances: October 12, 14, 17, and 20, 2018.
Next on the bill is what most consider "the world's most popular opera:" Georges Bizet's Carmen. Performed in French with English supertitles, this star-crossed tale of an instant attraction that evolves into a dangerous obsession was produced at the Glyndebourne Festival before traveling to Dallas. French mezzo-soprano Stephanie D’Oustrac will make her company debut in the title role, with her desperate Don José being sung by Dallas Opera favorite Stephen Costello. TDO is once again partnering with Klyde Warren Park to provide a free simulcast of the performance on October 19; the remaining five performances are October 21, 24, and 27, and November 2 and 4, 2018.
In March 2016, The Dallas Opera mounted Jules Massenet's Manon. Now March 1, 3, 6, and 9, 2019, will see Puccini's version, Manon Lescaut, in a semi-staged presentation. Using the same source material, Puccini weaves a heartbreaking riches-to-rags saga about a naïve young woman who definitely wants it all, but realizes along the way that she has sacrificed the one thing worth keeping: love. By the time this classic returns to The Dallas Opera, it will have been 40 years since its last appearance on their stage. Lyric-spinto soprano Kristin Lewis makes her company debut in the title role, with Gregory Kunde as Chevalier Des Grieux, the man whose steadfast love for Manon almost never wavers. South African bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana stars as Manon’s protective older brother, Lescaut — Ngqungwana is best known to North Texas audiences for re-creating the role of Queequeg in the highly successful 2016 revival of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick.
The mini Puccini-fest continues with arguably the most beloved opera in the world: La Bohème. Much of the title cast is making their TDO debuts, which Villaume noted was their way of giving this classic a twist (The Dallas Opera last produced it in 2015). Those who are fans of the musical Rent will be familiar with the its source material: A poet shares close quarters with his bohemian artist friends in 19th century Paris. But despite the poverty, hunger, and sacrifices, their day-to-day struggles are punctuated by moments of humor, happiness, and love. This production will be new to Dallas, with sets and projections designed by Erhard Rom and costumes designed by the late Peter J. Hall. Performances are March 15, 17, 20, 23, 29, and 31, 2019.
Also new to TDO is the season's final opera, Falstaff, adapted from Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. This production from Los Angeles Opera will mark the Dallas Opera debuts of a galaxy of major international stars, including sought-after bass-baritone Mark Delavan in the title role; Angela Meade as Alice Ford; Quinn Kelsey, a Verdi baritone of the first rank, as Ford; German soprano Mojca Erdmann in the role of Nanetta; brilliant Spanish tenor Airam Hernández as Fenton; critically acclaimed mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as Dame Quickly; mezzo-soprano Megan Marino as Meg Page; renowned character tenor Alex Mansoori as Bardolfo; and show-stopping Italian bass Andrea Silvestrelli as Pistola. Performances are April 26 and 28 and May 1 and 4, 2019.
"Great opera delivers not only beautiful music," says interim general director and CEO Kern Wildenthal, "but also tremendous drama and profound insights that can transcend our ordinary lives. The 62nd international season, filled with captivating stories and unsurpassed music performed by some of the world's greatest opera stars, will provide superb entertainment for patrons from across North Texas, as well as the many people who travel to Dallas these days in order to experience opera at its best."
The family performance series, which aims to help children develop an early love of opera and music, also continues with three shows.
Mozart and Company will introduce its audience to the life, loves, and music of one of the world's most famous composers. From sparkling comic masterpieces to heart-stopping tragedies and too many orchestral and chamber masterpieces to name, Mozart changed every form of music he touched. This program will feature the acclaimed Dallas Opera Orchestra and a charismatic narrator, as well as outstanding young opera artists. Performances are October 27, 2018, and May 4, 2019.
Jacques Offenbach's Pépito returns November 3, 2018, and April 27, 2019. The one-act comedy follows Vertigo, a jack-of-all-trades who is rebuffed by the beautiful hostess of the local inn, Manuelita. She is waiting patiently for her fiance Pépito to be released from military service. Miguel, a childhood friend, returns to their native village, where he immediately falls for Manuelita’s charms. A letter from Pépito drops a stunning piece of news on Manuelita and Miguel, leaving the audience to guess who finally gets the girl.
An operatic version of the Brothers Grimm classic fairytale The Town Musicians of Bremen is enhanced with music by Rossini, Donizetti, Offenbach, Arthur Sullivan, and Verdi to become The Bremen Town Musicians. A rooster with operatic aspirations is chased away from his farm for waking the barnyard with his tenor arias, while a dog and a cat are cast out by their owner for being too old to catch rabbits and mice. The three animals run into the woods near the road to Bremen, where a retired army donkey is marching along playing his drum. He's on his way to Bremen to begin a new band. Working together as a team to overcome difficult circumstances, the newly formed Bremen Town Musicians celebrate the idea that friendship, cooperation, and respect for others is far better than facing problems alone. Performances are October 6, 2018, and March 16, 2019.
Subscription prices start at $100 for all five mainstage operas and go on sale April 4, 2018. Single tickets, starting at $19, will go on sale to the public on July 9. For more information, call 214-443-1000 or visit www.dallasopera.org.