Dallas Opera Opens Applications for The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors

Working to address a long-standing career issue in the opera world, The Dallas Opera is delighted to announce that applications are now being accepted for a unique residential program designed to provide training and career support for distinctively talented women conductors: The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera.

Female conductors, as well as accomplished women singers, opera coaches and accompanists, and instrumentalists with established careers seeking a new career at the podium are encouraged to apply for the expanded institute, now in its second year. Although the emphasis is on women conductors on the cusp of major careers in opera, more seasoned applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors will reconvene on November 26, 2016 and run through December 11, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. This year's institute will include two public concerts (details pending) in addition to intensive one-on-one's, master classes, career advancement curriculum, and opportunities to conduct the highly regarded Dallas Opera Orchestra.

The institute, conceived by Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny, was created a year ago with initial support from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation. Since that time, it has garnered additional generous support from Linda and Mitch Hart, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the TACA Bowden & Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund.

Stated Mr. Cerny: "The Dallas Opera has demonstrated, in multiple ways, its commitment to reshaping the opera field through the use of innovative public outreach, and by exploring new technologies, commissioning new works to expand the operatic repertoire, and programming with passion and imagination.

"This much-needed program, generously supported by benefactors here in Dallas and elsewhere," Mr. Cerny adds, "will enable more women conductors to add their talents and insights to our collective understanding of this incredible art form."

The tremendous success of the inaugural institute became apparent by the evening of the concluding public concert attended by music lovers, opera VIPs and media.

Scott Cantrell, Classical Music Critic for The Dallas Morning News lavished praise on individual performances and wrote: "Some fine conducting talents were displayed; one hopes to see and hear more from them."

The Senior Classical Music Critic for Theater Jones, Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, agreed: "They all did a fine job and got most of the details correct. Every one of them delivered involving performances and was, for the most part, right with the singers and clear in their stick technique. Most importantly, the orchestra responded to one and all with good ensemble playing and responsiveness to each conductor's desires."

The 2016 Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors will provide a host of career-building opportunities:

· To rehearse and conduct The Dallas Opera Orchestra, a full-sized professional ensemble, with outstanding young opera artists

· Participate in master classes with Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement and renowned Italian Maestro Carlo Montanaro, as well as special guests

· Attend seminars and discussions, guided by a variety of experts, on how women conductors can make a greater impact on their field and advance their conducting careers

· Network with peers and take part in a media "refresher" course

Six women will be selected from among those applying, along with four additional American observers.

Those attending are also eligible to take part in an annual summer networking event in Dallas. There is also the potential for one or more participants to be invited back to serve as Assistant Conductors on future Dallas Opera productions.

Maestra Nicole Paiement's residency for this institute is supported by the TACA Bowden & Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund.


The Dallas Opera's Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor, Nicole Paiement, the Artistic Director and Conductor for San Francisco's renowned contemporary opera company, Opera Parallèle, was singled out for praise in a recent Musical America "Profile in Courage" which wrote: "Working in a profession that often leaves women scandalously underrepresented, Paiement has established stellar credentials."

As the subject of a 2015 article in Opera News ("The Mountain Climber" by Matthew Sigman), Paiement was described as "one of opera's most adventurous spirits." She also serves as Artistic Director of BluePrint, a contemporary music series at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she holds the Deléage Chair, and has broken important new ground in Dallas, where she was invited to conduct critically acclaimed performances of Peter Maxwell Davies' The Lighthouse, Death and the Powers by Tod Machover, and the recent successful world premiere of Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer's Everest.

About the institute itself, Maestra Paiement commented, "In tandem with my work as a professional conductor, I have spent many years striving to develop and support exceptional young talent, both onstage and in the orchestra pit. I am tremendously pleased to be able to continue this aspect of my career and to help guide each carefully selected group through this still-evolving Dallas Opera program.

"You can learn a great deal by watching other conductors in action: how they interact with the orchestra, how they exercise their authority, apply their insights to a particular score, and guide the artists to greater heights of musical expression.

"The women taking part in this program will have the all-too-rare opportunity to observe another woman in this leadership role, " Paiement added, "something that, regrettably, I never experienced in my early career as I sought role models from among my professional peers. I sincerely hope my work with the women in this institute can serve as a source of both valuable insights and inspiration."

Maestro Carlo Montanaro, music director of Teatr Wielki in Warsaw, Poland from 2011 through 2014, has conducted both opera and concert repertoire on many of the world's leading stages including La Scala, the Bastille Opera in Paris, Teatro dell'Opera in Rome, the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Seattle Opera, Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Verona's Arena, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro Communale in Florence, Vienna State Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Opera Australia, the Arturo Toscanini Foundation in Parma, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the New National Theatre in Tokyo, Munich Opera, Monte Carlo Opera, and Teatro Verdi in Trieste (a collaboration which led to a Japanese tour with the orchestra).

Future opera engagements (already announced) include Maria Stuarda in Seattle, La bohème in Sydney, Carmen for San Francisco Opera, and Rigoletto in Warsaw.


The application process opens today, Monday, February 22, 2016, with a deadline of midnight (Central Time) on Friday, April 22, 2016. Applications can be submitted at YAPtracker.com. Early applications are definitely encouraged.

Those chosen to participate will receive a travel stipend, in-town housing, an honorarium, and a per diem to cover basic living expenses. Most meals will be provided.

For more information on The Women's Conducting Institute at The Dallas Opera, visit www.dallasopera.org/womenconductors.

Marc A. Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America, remarked earlier: "The Dallas Opera continues to expand its influence and stature among American opera companies, as shown by this exciting new initiative. The company is to be applauded for taking a significant step to remedy the existing gender imbalance on the podium. This effort complements OPERA America's support of the work of female opera composers and promises to enrich the art form by encouraging more gifted artists to express themselves through opera."

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. Season subscriptions for 2016-2017 go on sale April 1, 2016 (starting at just $95) and single tickets for the 60th Season go on sale to the general public on July 11, 2016. Family performance tickets are just $5. For more information or to make your purchase for the current season, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at www.dallasopera.org.


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 at7:30 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.

MANON by Jules Massenet
March 4, 6(m), 9, 12, 2016
A Timeless Tale of Young Love Set in France

Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Philippe Gille
Time: 18th Century
Place: France
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins

Original Director: Sir David McVicar
Stage Director: E. Loren Meeker*
Set and Costume Designer: Tanya McCallin
Original Choreographer: Paule Constable
Revival Choreographer: Colm Seery*
Lighting Designer: Kevin Sleep
Wig & Make-up Designer: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Ailyn Pérez (Manon), Stephen Costello (Chevalier des Grieux), Edwin Crossley-Mercer* (Lescaut), David Pittsinger* (Count des Grieux), William Ferguson (Guillot de Morfontaine), Troy Cook* (Brétigny), Katherine Whyte* (Pousette), Kathryn Leemhuis* (Javotte), Audrey Babcock (Rosette), Theodor Carlson (Innkeeper)
The Return of Graeme Jenkins to The Dallas Opera Podium!

SHOW BOAT by Jerome Kern
April 15, 17(m), 20, 23, 29, May 1(m), 2016
A Great American Musical

Music by Jerome Kern - Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Time: 1887-1927
Place: Mississippi River and Chicago
Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume

Original Director: Francesca Zambello
Stage Director: E. Loren Meeker
Set Designer: Peter J. Davison
Costume Designer: Paul Tazewell*
Lighting Designer: Erik Watkins
Sound Designer: Tom Clark
Choreographer: Michele Lynch*
Wig & Make-up Designer: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Andriana Chuchman* (Magnolia), Michael Todd Simpson (Gaylord Ravenal), Lara Teeter* (Cap'n Andy Hawks), Alyson Cambridge* (Julie), Angela Renée Simpson (Queenie), Mary-Pat Green* (Parthy Ann Hawkes), Kate Loprest (Ellie Mae Chipley), Morris Robinson (Joe), Keith Chambers (Jake)
Performed with the Power of the Operatic Voice and Full Orchestra conducted by Music Director Emmanuel Villaume!

* 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 theElsa von Seggern Foundation for its continuing support.

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