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George Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess
, being revived by The Dallas Opera for five performances (February 22 through March 1, 2008) is generally regarded as the greatest of all American operas; however, there are a handful of rightful challengers for the crown.
Opera first appeared on American soil in 1790, in a production of Giovanni Pergolesi’s La serva padrona (“The Servant Mistress”), an opera buffa with mass appeal. The first serious attempt to establish a permanent opera company in the U.S. occurred during the early 19th century, when Mozart’s brilliant librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte, opened the Italian Opera House in Manhattan. Nevertheless, the story of American Opera – composed by and for Americans – really begins much later, during the Great Depression, and in the aftermath of World War II.
Click here to read more about American operas.
The original Blevins Davis/Robert Breen revival of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess was a world tour that opened at the Dallas State Fair of Texas on June 9, 1952. The American leg of the tour continued in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. and then went to Europe, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, which saw Porgy as a useful PR tool in the Cold War.
As we celebrate great American opera, it’s only fair that we look at the great American opera house. We asked Scott Cantrell of The Dallas Morning News and Matthew Erikson of the Star-Telegram
, to share their favorite opera destinations on this continent.
Classical Music Critic for The Dallas Morning News since 1999, Scott also has written about architecture both here and in his previous position with The Kansas City Star. Here are his picks:
The Met: Of course. If you have a soft spot for mid-20th-century modern architecture, as I do, how can you resist those sinuous stairways, the golden walls with criss-cross patterns appropriated from Ray Eames upholstery, the starburst chandeliers that creep up to the gold-leafed ceiling? And for a vast barn accommodating nearly 4,000, the acoustics are amazingly good--at least from the pretty nice seats critics usually get. And I love the fact that I always run into people I know.
Click here to read more of the Critics' Choice.
Last Month's Poll Results:
The Widow edges out The Widow-Makers as your favorite Diva to wine and dine. You’ll have to excuse the frequent interruptions of her flock of suitors, but you don’t have to feel bad about stiffing her with the bill!
Anna Glawari - 33%
Floria Tosca - 31%
Salome - 18%
Lady Macbeth - 10%
Bess - 8%
The late philanthropist and businessman, Bill Winspear, was remembered earlier this month as a man who was bigger than life. “Bill thought more boldly than the rest of us,” explained Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of UT Southwestern Medical Center and one of eight speakers at the July 2nd memorial in the Meyerson, “and he dreamed bigger
Mr. Winspear passed away at his vacation home in British Columbia earlier this summer, and The Dallas Opera lost one of its greatest champions. “His pride in The Dallas Opera was palpable,” said General Director Karen Stone. “He believed no one could be untouched by a great evening of opera.”
Honored by one of his grandchildren, Chris Allan, for teaching the values of honesty, loyalty and the courage to stand-up for what you believe in; Bill and his wife Margot, said Chris, “taught us what true love really means.”
Click here to read more about the Winspear Memorial.
We are proud to introduce to you the new 2007/2008 Amici di Opera Steering Committee! Under the leadership of Nancy Gray, Steering Committee Chair, the Steering Committee will be responsible for assisting The Dallas Opera in planning, implementing and evaluating events and activities designed specifically for TDO's young professionals.
Steering Committee Chair
Danielle Alexis Clarkson
Valerie De La Rosa
To read more about the new Steering Committee click here for bios.
Interested in becoming a member of Amici di Opera? Join Now!
The Dallas Opera Guild trip to Toronto in October is filled and there is a waiting list. We are currently working on updating our membership directory for next fall, and anyone who has not renewed their membership is urged to do so in July. The Guild is always happy to welcome new members into our organization, and anyone interested in joining may call our office at 214-443-1040 for membership information.
The Dallas Opera Guild sponsors a number of interesting volunteer projects which support TDO in the areas of audience development, education, and artist support, as well as the Opera Boutique, trips to other cities to see performances, Opera Insights lectures, and our Vocal Competition for young artists. Our membership is made up of singles and couples, and there are many opportunities to become acquainted with and involved with other opera lovers. We invite you to help "build the Guild."
Click here for more information about The Dallas Opera Guild.
Amici di Opera Tour of The Crow Collection
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Located in the Arts District of downtown Dallas, The Crow Collection is a permanent set of galleries dedicated to the arts and cultures of China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia. On Tuesday, August, 14, Amici di Opera members will receive an exclusive tour of the museum. Wine and hors d'oeuvres served.
Date/Time: August 14, 2007, 6:00 PM
Location: 2010 Flora Street
Cost: FREE for Amici members
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, August 7
Movie Screening: "Tosca" (1992)
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Please join us for a special FREE screening of the film "Tosca" at 6:00 PM at the Angelika Theater.
"Puccini's Tosca is probably one of the most famous and well known opera in the Western world. This Italian production with Placido Domingo and Catherine Malfitano is simply superb: Malfitano is extremely well as Tosca, her dramatic soprano voice has always delighted me; and Domingo's Mario Cavaradossi is well played, although I'm more partial to Jose Carrera's Cavaradossi. Raimondi is excellent as the evil Scarpia, he is simply enjoying himself playing the villain. And as always, Puccini's melodic and well orchestrated music is so much a pleasure to listen." - Internet Movie Database
To RSVP for this movie, e-mail Tanisha at email@example.com.
Bravo 50! Concert & Gala
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The “Death by Diva!” season will mark the return of one of the most sought-after singers of our time, soprano Renée Fleming, for a special gala event celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the now-legendary Maria Callas concert that inaugurated The Dallas Opera in 1957. This Bravo 50! Concert & Gala, featuring Ms. Fleming and other guest artists, will be
held Saturday, November 17, 2007 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center located in the Downtown Dallas Arts District.
Gala ticket prices begin at $1,000 per person and include a pre-concert cocktail reception, concert with Renee Fleming, elegant seated dinner and dancing with The Hunter Sullivan Orchestra.
For more information, call Katie Buchanan at 214-443-1063 or e-mail her at Katie@dallasopera.org.
Know someone who likes opera? Send them this newsletter and they will applaud you!