Prepare to be "swept away” by the Dallas Opera's new season. That's the theme the opera is rolling with for its 2018-19 season, which will be “filled with captivating stories and unsurpassed music performed by some of the world’s greatest opera stars," says Kern Wildenthal, interim general director and CEO.
Last week, music director Emmanuel Villaume announced the five classic operas Dallas Opera will produce for its 62nd season: The Flying Dutchman, Carmen, La Bohème, Manon Lescaut and Falstaff.
Villaume, who is fresh off conducting the Metropolitan Opera in New York to rave reviews, praised the Dallas Opera's casting. "Artists are approaching the Dallas Opera who a few years ago wouldn’t have answered our phone calls," he said.
The season will open in October with a performance of Richard Wagner’s first masterpiece, The Flying Dutchman. Villaume says this opera is difficult to cast, which accounts for its absence from the Dallas stage since 1994.
Bass-baritone Greer Grimsley will star as the doomed Dutchman opposite soprano Anja Kampe in her house debut as Senta. Tenor Jay Hunter Morris, who is known to local opera fans for his star performance in Moby Dick, returns to Dallas in the role of Erik.
Georges Bizet’s Carmen will return this season in a Glyndebourne Festival production new to Dallas, starring French mezzo-soprano Stephanie D’Oustrac, who will make her local debut as the sultry Carmen. Dallas Opera fan favorite tenor Stephen Costello will perform the role of her desperate suitor, Don Jose.
Dallas Opera is also planning a Puccini "mini-fest," which will include its first performance of Manon Lescaut in nearly 40 years, followed by the ever-popular La Bohème.
La Boheme is one of the world’s most frequently performed operas. Villaume said that “an angle” is needed to keep it interesting, and in this case, casting is central.
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Legendary American bass Samuel Ramey will perform the dual roles of Benoit and Alcindoro alongside a cast of singers making their Dallas debuts. The production, also new to Dallas, features sets and projections designed by Erhard Rom and costumes designed by the late Peter J. Hall.
The less performed Manon Lescaut features the Dallas debut of lyric-spinto soprano Kristin Lewis in the title role and tenor Gregory Kunde as her steadfast lover. Audiences will also see the return of South African bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana, who commanded the stage in 2016 when he appeared in Dallas as Queequeg in Moby Dick.
The season finale will be Verdi’s comic opera Falstaff, which has never been performed in Dallas. This production will feature bass-baritone Mark Delavan in the title role.
The Dallas Opera will continue its educational outreach with three performances aimed at families. Tickets for these Saturday performances of Mozart and Company, Pepito and The Bremen Town Musicians are $5.