The new season for the Dallas Opera was announced on Thursday. It is a mostly tried-and-true with only one work written in the early 20th century (1921). All performances will be at the 2011-2012 Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. They have named the season "Tragic Obsessions" and called the works programmed "five darkly dazzling operas" (Kleenex, anyone?).
You would think that the major success of a new opera (Moby-Dick) just last season would inspire the company to do more recent works by American, or at least living, composers, but this seams not to be the case. Once again, we are getting La Traviata, Lucia Di Lammermoor, Magic Flute, a semi-staged Tristan and Isolde, and—the only oddball in this staid lineup—a revival of Janacek's Katya Kabanová. It is true that companies program years in advance, so maybe the effects of Moby-Dick will begin to show up in future seasons.
The season opens with an "exclusive patron recital" on November 9, 2011. This is a cabaret show with opera singer Patricia Racette. The soprano is more frequently heard in the big Puccini roles but here she will be singing from the "Great American Songbook." Along these lines, the opera will present a family concert on November 12, 2011 that will feature the luminous Ave Pine.
The season opener, on Oct. 21, 2011, will be Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Romanian soprano Elena Mosuc will take on the challenging title role in her Dallas Opera debut.
Next up, opening on Oct. 28, 2011, will be Leoš Janáček’s Katya Kabanova. The aforementioned Patricia Racette will return for the title role. Local audiences may remember from her performance in the 2004 production of Janáček’s Jenůfa. The Dallas Opera last did Katya in 1998.
Feb. 16, 2012, brings a strange turn of events. The Dallas Opera will present four "imaginatively staged concert presentations" of Richard Wagner’s masterpiece, Tristan and Isolde. They have assembled a fine cast of singers, all of whom have this opera in their repertoire. Considering that Tristan has been staged by major opera companies with only the barest suggestion of a set and minimal costumes, and that there is little real action in the opera, you cannot help but wonder why DO is only going halfway. Nevertheless, it should be a fine performance with the likes of soprano Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet, who raised the roof as Ortrud in the DO production of Lohengrin, and tenor Clifton Forbis who impressed as Otello in the opening production of the Winspear.
April 13, 2012 brings us Verdi’s La Traviata, which is probably one of the most frequently performed operas in the repertoire. It is a favorite of almost everyone, this writer included. Of special interest in this production will be the American debut of Greek soprano Myrtò Papatanasiu.
April 20, 2011 is the opening of the last opera of the season, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, another candidate for the most frequently performed opera list. However, I eagerly await the opportunity to hear Ave Pine as Pamina. The locally based soprano has impressed every time she sings and this is a role that should fit her perfectly.
To sum up, the shows and dates are:
- Lucia Di Lammermoor: Oct. 21-Nov. 6
- Katya Kabanova: Oct. 28-Nov. 13
- Tristan and Isolde: Feb. 16-25, 2012
- La Traviata: April 13-29, 2012
- The Magic Flute: April 20-May 6, 2012
For tickets and more info, visit www.dallasopera.org.