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Dallas Opera Names Ekaterina Scherbachenko as Debut Artist of the Year

DALLAS, MAY 21, 2015 - The Dallas Opera is pleased to announce the winner of the 2015 "Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year" Award: incandescent Russian soprano Ekaterina Scherbachenko.

This prestigious award, named after one of the most renowned opera artists of the 20th century, is given to a single performer each season in recognition of a particularly memorable and outstanding company debut. The winner was announced earlier this evening at the annual Dallas Opera Board and Trustee Appreciation Dinner held in The Gold Room at the The Fairmont Dallas Hotel.

The Russian beauty had earned glowing notices this spring for her portrayal of the blind princess, Iolanta, in the rarely performed 1892 opera of the same name by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

One of Ms. Scherbachenko's signature roles at Moscow's historic Bolshoi Theatre, she deftly transformed the title character from an isolated young woman who is kept in the dark about her condition-to one who strives for the truth, becomes enlightened and is ready to sacrifice everything for love.

Laurie Lynn Lindemeier of The Column raved "This woman was a treat to behold with her striking voice and fine acting skills to boot-the full package! Although this is a shorter opera, it is still an endurance test for this character that does much of the singing. Ms. Scherbachenko consistently sang with sincerity and penetrating lyricism. Although her character is blind throughout, the singer clearly saw into Iolanta's core and relayed that to the audience and to her fellow characters. I never sensed fatigue in her voice and once Iolanta received the cure and could see her lover, she looked directly into his eyes and sang to him."

Catherine Womack of D Magazine/Front Row noted: "Ekaterina Scherbachenko has a flexible voice that is equally strong when it simmers and boils with power and when it delicately floats with vulnerability. She quickly captured my attention in the opening scene..."

Scott Cantrell of The Dallas Morning News described her complex portrayal of Iolanta as "convincing...Her ample soprano supplies parallel nuances of dewy simplicity and surging ardor."


"Hailing from Russia, the stunning Ekaterina Scherbachenko is the quintessential Iolanta, with the vocal prowess and acting credibility so integral for this unique role," explained Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny. "The Dallas Opera was thrilled to bring a superb cast to our community to perfectly portray this rarely produced gem that included Sergey Skorkhodov, Andrei Bondarenko, and Mikhail Kolelishvili. As the title character, Ms. Scherbachenko gave a remarkable performance that moved our audience deeply."

"We are delighted to continue the acknowledgment of spectacular talent with The Callas Award, and greatly appreciate our subscribers' enthusiastic response in choosing the winner. Ms. Scherbachenko truly inspired these devoted patrons in a competition filled with many incredible singers," said Cerny.

The voting for the Callas Award was conducted entirely online by electronic

ballot and was open to season subscribers only. The results were verified by the independent accounting firm of Travis, Wolff & Company, L.L.P.

The winner will receive a beautiful etched-crystal plaque created by award- winning designers from Tiffany & Co. for The Dallas Opera. The plaque bears the

Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of Theater Jones wrote that "the cast is uniformly first rate" and that Ms. Scherbachenko "delivers a voice with some hint of spinto heft."

Alicia Chang of the Dallas Voice summed up Ms. Scherbachenko's performance as "wonderful!"likeness of The Dallas Opera's unofficial Godmother, Greek soprano Maria Callas. "La Divina" launched The Dallas Opera with a 1957 recital at the Music Hall in Fair Park and continued to grace TDO's stage in those early years with a series of now-legendary performances.

The 2015 recipient responded to the news, by email, with a statement read this evening by Keith Cerny:

To the Board and Trustees of The Dallas Opera, the Company staff and all the wonderful subscribers:

"It was a great pleasure to perform with The Dallas Opera in the title role of IOLANTA. To then be selected for the "Maria Callas Award" is a tremendous honor and I'm truly grateful for this recognition. The character of Iolanta is very near and dear to my heart and to have your patrons choose me for this award is especially meaningful! I have great admiration for the legendary Maria Callas and sincerely appreciate this acknowledgement.

Thank you so much for this lovely award! Warm regards,
Ekaterina Scherbachenko


There were nineteen additional 2014-2015 Season nominees for the Callas Award (artists making outstanding company debuts in a principal role)-all the contenders are listed below in alphabetical order):


Susan Bickley - "Herodias" - Salome
Andrei Bondarenko - "Robert" - Iolanta
Kevin Burdette - "Beck Weathers" - Everest
Nicole Car - "Countess Almaviva" - The Marriage of Figaro Melissa Citro - "Wally" - La Wally
Emily Fons - "Cherubino" - The Marriage of Figaro

Rodrigo Garciarroyo - "Giuseppe Hagenbach" - La Wally Greer Grimsley - "Jokanaan" - Salome
Diana Montague - "Marcellina" - The Marriage of Figaro Tamara Mumford - "Marta" - Iolanta
Arnold Rawls - "Giuseppe Hagenbach" - La Wally Beate Ritter - "Susanna" - The Marriage of Figaro Davinia Rodriguez - "Musetta" - La bohème Sergey Skorokhodov - "Count Vaudemont" - Iolanta Vladislav Sulimsky - "Ibn-Hakia" - Iolanta
Craig Verm - "Doug Hansen" - Everest Alexander Vinogradov - "Colline" - La bohème Deborah Voigt - "Salome" - Salome
Mary Elizabeth Williams - "Wally" - La Wally


The "Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year Award" was launched during the 1991-1992 Dallas Opera Season.

The first recipient was Sharon Sweet for her impressive performance in the title role of Aida. The list of subsequent winners reads like an opera's "Who's Who" from Susan Graham, Cecilia Bartoli, Mary Dunleavy, Elizabeth Futral, Hei-Kyung Hong, Denyce Graves, Indira Mahajan, Mary Mills, Patricia Racette, Latonia Moore, Christopher Ventris, Catherine Naglestad, James Valenti, and Ben Heppner, to Greek-born Soprano Myrtò Papatanasiu (Violetta in Verdi's La traviata) and last year's winner, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, who redefined the role of "Rosina" in our smash hit, The Barber of Seville.



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Ticket Information for the 2015-2016 Dallas Opera Season

All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise described. Single Tickets range from $19 to $275 and will be available July 15. Full and Flex Subscriptions are on sale now starting at $75. Family performance tickets (available June 1) are just $5. For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at


The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-Ninth International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 p.m. unless otherwise stated. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance and assistance is available for the hearing impaired. The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talk will begin one hour prior to curtain, at most performances excluding FIRST NIGHT of the season.

GREAT SCOTT by Jake Heggie
October 30, November 1(m), 4, 7 & 15(m), 2015
A Thrilling Dallas Opera World Premiere!
Libretto by Terrence McNally*
Time: Present Day
Place: A Major American City
Conductor: Nicole Paiement
Stage Director: Jack O'Brien*
Production Design: Bob Crowley
Lighting Design: TBA
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Joyce DiDonato* (Arden Scott), Ailyn Pérez (Tatyana Bakst), Frederica von Stade (Mrs. Edward "Winnie" Flato), Nathan Gunn (Sid Taylor), Anthony Roth Costanzo* (Roane Heckle), Kevin Burdette (Eric Gold), Garrett Sorenson* (Anthony Candolino) and Michael Mayes* (Wendell Swan)
A Brand-New Dallas Opera Production!

TOSCA by Giacomo Puccini
November 6, 8(m), 11, 14, 20 & 22(m), 2015
A passionate and timeless masterpiece in a beloved period production An opera in three acts first performed in Rome, Italy on January 14, 1900

Text by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa after Victorien Sardou's 1887 French- language play, La Tosca
Time: Early 19th century
Place: Locations in and around the City of Rome

Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume
Stage Director: Ellen Douglas Schlaefer*
Production Design: Ulisse Santicchi
Lighting Design: TBA
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Children's Chorus Master: TBA
Starring: Emily Magee (Floria Tosca), Giancarlo Monsalve* (Mario Cavaradossi), Raymond Aceto (Baron Scarpia), William Ferguson (Spoletta), Dale Travis* (A Sacristan) and Ryan Kuster (Angelotti)
One of The Dallas Opera's Most Popular!

December 4, 6(m), 9 & 12, 2015
An Eagerly Awaited Dallas Opera World Premiere!
Libretto by the composer, Mark Adamo
Time: Where time divides into "before" and "after"
Place: An Elven kingdom in the far, far north
Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume
Stage Director: Paul Curran
Production Design: Gary McCann*
Video Design: Elaine J. McCarthy
Lighting Design: TBA
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Jennifer Rivera* (Queen Sophine), Juan José de León (Prince Nicky), Matt Boehler* (Donkey)
Another New Dallas Opera Production

* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut ___________ The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: Texas Instruments Foundation, TACA, City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera. Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera. Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News. A special thanks to the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for its continuing support.

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