Too often, classical music concerts in Dallas -- maybe "art music" or "concert music" are better terms -- are limited to performances of music from centuries past. Plenty of living, breathing contemporary composers around the world continue to create beautiful, evocative art music. This October, however, in addition to some great opportunities to hear beloved classics, there are a handful of interesting concerts offering works by contemporary composers from both the United States and Mexico. If you're looking for a way to explore classical music in Dallas and Fort Worth, look no further than this list:
October 4: Soundings Presents Cuatro Corridos at the Nasher The Nasher Sculpture Center's classical concert series (Soundings: New Music at the Nasher) continues to present some of the most interesting contemporary art music available to Dallas audiences. On October 4, the series and artistic director Seth Knopps open their fourth season with a fully staged chamber opera. Librettist Jorge Volpi wrote the text for this small-scale opera that explores the tragedy of human trafficking through the lives of young Mexican women kidnapped and forced into prostitution in the Tijuana/San Diego border region. Four composers contributed to the opera, each contributing music for one of the four female characters in the hour-long drama. Tickets and more information are available on the Nasher's website.
October 5: Get Your Opera Fix at the Movies with the Met's Live in HD Series As a rule, opera is best experienced live. It's a visceral art form that, at its core, is all about the magical sound of unamplified voices and instruments resonating in a beautiful space. There are, however, exceptions to every rule, and the Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD broadcasts are a pretty great next-best-thing. This month the series begins on Saturday, October 5, with a live broadcast of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, a 19th century Russian romantic drama with more than enough unrequited love for a Saturday afternoon. Singing in her native Russian language, superstar soprano Anna Netrebko stars as the lovestruck Tatiana. There's been some controversy surrounding the Russian cast because both lead singers have been vocal supporters of Vladimir Putin, who has recently made news with some nasty anti-gay policies. Because of this and the fact that the Met refused to dedicate its opening night to supporting LGBT rights, this opera has drawn its fair share of protests. Our suggestion: Take a same-sex date and share a white Russian (or four) from the Northpark AMC's readily available bar. After all, most music historians agree that Tchaikosvky himself was gay. Tickets will run you a bit more than your average movie, but you'll get over to hear more than four hours of music from one of the world's best opera companies.
October 26: Get Your Opera Fix at the Movies (Take Two) The Met's second Live in HD Broadcast features Shostakovich's The Nose, a bizarre early 20th century opera about a man whose nose detaches from his face and walks around, acting like a human. So yeah, you should go see that. Goes well with: recreational drug use. Also, popcorn. Tickets and more information available here.
October 11 and 12: The Dallas Symphony Orchestra's First ReMix The DSO is leaving its comfort zone -- and the Meyerson Symphony Center -- to try out a new concert series clearly aimed at younger audiences. With ReMix, the orchestra will perform shorter, more compact concerts at Dallas City Performance Hall, where adult beverages are allowed in the hall and you'll have a chance to meet with performers post-concert. The programming, which this time features music by Bach, Schoenberg and Prokofiev, looks pretty interesting as well. Maestro Jaap van Zweden will conduct and soloists include Erin Hannigan (principal oboe) and Christopher Adkins (principal cello). Tickets available on the orchestra's website.
October 12: Sounds Modern Presents Music from Mexico The Fort Worth Modern's current exhibit, Mexico Inside Out, is a fascinating and diverse look at contemporary Mexican art. Sounds Modern is presenting a sister-concert designed to pair with the museum's exhibit called Neighbor Notes. Music by masters like Mario Lavista will be presented alongside works by younger contemporary Mexican composers. The afternoon concert will feature music for flute, percussion and piano and is a unique opportunity to hear the diverse sounds of music being created for the concert hall in Mexico today. The best part? Admission is free. More information here.
October 17-20: Andrew Litton Returns to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Andrew Litton, who served as the DSO's Music Director from 1994 to 2006, returns to conduct the orchestra in performances of music by Igor Stravinsky and French composer Camille Saint-Saens. The exciting program begins with Stravinsky's "Divertimento from the Fairy Kiss" and ends with a complete performance of "The Firebird."
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October 19: The Miró Quartet Performs at the Fort Worth Modern The Fort Worth Modern provides the perfect setting for what should be an incredible afternoon of chamber music. If you're a fan of string quartets, you won't be disappointed in the much-praised Miró quartet. The program looks great as well -- with works by Schubert, Ravel, Barber and Beethoven. This concert is presented by the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth and tickets are available on their website.
October 20: Voices of Change Presents In Memorium At the first concert of their 2013/2014 season, Voices of Change is presenting a special memorial concert in honor of founder Ross Powell. The group, whose mission is to present contemporary classical music, always provides audiences with something new and different. This concert features music Jean Françaix, Sergei Prokofiev, Charles Zoll and Julie Hall as well as a clarinet, violin and piano trio composed in 2011 by Pierre Jalbert. The concert takes place at SMU's Caruth Auditorium and more information and tickets are available on the group's website.
October 22: The Cliburn Presents Deborah Voigt at Bass Hall The Cliburn Foundtion always brings in big names for its Cliburn at the Bass concert series and this month is no exception. Devorah Voigt is an iconic American soprano who avid opera fans will not want to miss the chance to hear live in concert. Singing a diverse range of repertoire that includes music by Bach, Tchaikovsky and Strauss, Voigt will be accompanied by pianist Brian Zeller. Tickets and more information available at cliburn.org.
October 25: The Dallas Opera Opens Its 2013/2014 Season with Carmen The Dallas Opera knows how to throw a party. At its annual "First Night" gala, the show is as much off stage as on; Dallas socialites will parade around in their most spectacular gowns and, if there is ever a night to show off a fur coat, this is it. Outside the opera house, TDO will simulcast its opening night production of Carmen for free at Klyde Warren Park, where costumes are also welcome (there's a contest). The opera itself will be conducted by Emmanuel Villaume, the organizations new music director, and mezzo-soprano Cleementine Margain will portray Carmen until her last, lusty breath.