2015 is shaping up to be a good year for fans of new music and opera in Dallas. Last night The Dallas Opera announced that acclaimed American composer/librettist Mark Adamo has been commissioned to compose what they are calling "a holiday opera." The new work is scheduled to be premiered in December 2015 under the direction of TDO's new Music Director Emmanuel Villaume.
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Mark Adamo writes great opera. He is perhaps most famous for his staging of Little Women (1997), but local audiences may remember more recent performances of his endlessly pleasing Lysistrata from the 2012 Fort Worth Opera festival. Adamo also made a big splash on the national scene last year when the San Francisco opera produced his much-talked-about The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.
This announcement means that The Dallas Opera will produce three new operas during the 2015 calendar year, an ambitious and welcome achievement for the company. In February 2015 British composer Joby Talbot's Everest will have its premier, followed by Jake Heggie's October 2015 premier of Great Scott starring Joyce DiDonato.
Commissioning and producing new operas is an expensive endeavor, so the announcement of this and other commissions says good things about the stability of TDO's fiscal health. New operas are also artistically risky business, but big risks can reap big rewards, and it is exciting for the community that these composers are taking that risk on our stage.
No word yet on what exactly a "holiday opera" might entail, but Adamo has a knack for theatrical entertainment and spinning catchy, memorable tunes, so whatever he conjures is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.