Conductors Announced for 2017 Hart Institute at The Dallas Opera

Conductors Announced for 2017 Hart Institute at The Dallas Opera The Dallas Opera is proud to announce the names of the six distinguished professionals selected to participate in the third annual residency of the Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera taking place November 5 - 19, 2017 in Dallas, Texas:

· Alba Bomfim (Brazil)

· Mélisse Brunet (France)

· Lina Gonzalez-Granados (USA/Colombia)

· Karin Hendrickson (USA)

· Carolyn Watson (USA/Australia)

· Monika Wolinska (Poland)

Working to address a long-standing career issue in the opera world, The Dallas Opera in 2015 launched a unique, new residential program-one of only three in the world-designed to provide training and career support for distinctively talented women conductors. Female conductors, as well as accomplished women singers, opera coaches, accompanists, and instrumentalists with established careers seeking to develop new skills at the podium, were encouraged to apply.

A total of 161 women conductors and professional musicians heeded the call in 2017 and applied by the April 30th deadline.

Other nations represented in this year's applicant pool are from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, and Mexico; as well as New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Venezuela.

Applicants from these 33 countries included music directors, principal and assistant conductors, concertmasters and music staff from top-ranked symphonies, opera companies, and conservatories. Alba Bomfim described her selection as "an inspiring gift and a watershed in my career" while Mélisse Brunet revealed she "can't wait to learn a lot, to meet new mentors and colleagues, and to build new connections." Karin Hendrickson added, "I can't wait to begin collaborating with the exceptional staff, and meeting with other talented women conductors from around the world."

As is the case each year, four U.S. observers were chosen to "audit" the 2017 Institute: Marie Bucoy-Calavan, Catherine O'Shaughnessy, Maria Sensi Sellner, and Hannah Threlkeld.

The institute had vital foundational support from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation. Naming support came through the generosity of Linda and Mitch Hart. Additional support comes from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Baker Botts LLP, Susan and Mark Geyer, Holly and Tom Mayer, Betty and Steve Suellentrop, and Martha and Max Wells.

The 2017 Linda and Mitch Hart Institute will consist of hands-on master classes with Marin Alsop (Music Director, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra, and the only conductor ever to receive the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship); The Dallas Opera's Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement and Carlo Montanaro, a renowned Italian conductor who will soon make his official Dallas Opera debut guiding our November performances of La Traviata.

The institute will include career advancement seminars with experienced professionals like Alec Treuhaft, retired senior vice-president of IMG Artists; industry discussions; intensive one-on-ones and networking opportunities; as well as the chance to conduct The Dallas Opera Orchestra in two public concerts in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center on the evenings of November 11th and November 18th (additional details to be announced).

As part of TDO's five-year commitment to each institute "class" of conductors, alumnae will be invited to summer reunions for additional masterclasses with piano and singers, and a series of introductory seminars about the business of music.

Conductor Carolyn Watson writes: "The program is indeed groundbreaking - a unique opportunity and one which offers continuing support and mentorship over a number of years. I look forward to not only this year's Institute, but also my ongoing association with The Dallas Opera and the Hart Institute, as well as all the wonderful women colleagues I will be fortunate to work with over the course of my career."

The program may already be having a pronounced positive impact: Just this week, Chicago Opera Theater announced that Hart Institute Fellow Lidiya Yankovskaya (Inaugural Class, 2015) will assume the role of company music director.


While the Hart Institute began with a focus on supporting talented conductors, the challenges faced by women opera administrators are equally daunting. To address this imbalance, The Dallas Opera is adding a new component to this year's institute: Beginning in 2017, and for the next six years, TDO will invite between two and four American opera administrators to join the program each season. These women will be selected on the basis of their potential to become leaders of one of America's top opera companies later in their careers.

The selected opera administrators will attend all sessions during the annual residency in Dallas. This curriculum includes the role of the board, leadership development, personal branding, media and PR training, effective artist management, and navigating recruiting processes for senior level positions. To continue to develop their musical skills, which is essential for any opera executive, the administrators will observe rehearsals with The Dallas Opera Orchestra and conducting master classes. Special sessions on Development, Finance, and Marketing will be offered as well.

One of the goals of the program is to build a network of talented leaders. In addition to the residency, selected administrators will be invited to participate in quarterly conference calls to continue to develop their personal networks and leadership skills.

This facet of the program is open to women who are American citizens or green-card holders. There is no age limit and, in an effort to encourage greater diversity, The Dallas Opera is inviting women of various backgrounds to apply by the July 15, 2017 deadline. For more information, or to apply, visit or go directly to Institute Fellows will receive a stipend, travel, and housing for the duration of this year's Hart Institute.

Keith Cerny, The Dallas Opera's Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO notes: "The Dallas Opera has demonstrated its commitment to reshaping the opera field through the use of innovative public outreach, by exploring new technologies, commissioning new works to expand the operatic repertoire, and programming with passion, courage and imagination."

"This already proven program," Mr. Cerny added, "will enable more women conductors and general directors to add their perspectives to our collective understanding of this art form, while encouraging industry-wide conversation about the necessity of women in a variety of leadership roles."

2017 Hart Institute Fellow Lina Gonzalez-Granados concurs: "I'm honored to have been invited to be a part of this amazing group of talented individuals who are working tirelessly to push the boundaries of Opera. It is necessary for artists like us to contribute to a musical world in which all qualified women, regardless of background, are welcomed into visible positions of leadership."

Marc A. Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America, earlier remarked: "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."

2017 Hart Institute Conductors


The Brazilian conductor Alba Bomfim was the winner of the 2009 Eleazar de Carvalho Prize in Conducting. She has participated in masterclasses by conductors Christopher Zimmerman, Kirk Trevor, Colin Metters, Fabio Mechetti, Harold Farberman, Dirk Brossé, John Farrer and Marin Alsop. Ms. Bomfim has conducted orchestras including: Minas Gerais Philharmonic, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, Astoria Symphony, Rose City Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Sinfonieta, Bohuslav Martinu, Orquestra Filarmonia das Beiras, NY Chamber Orchestra and BBC Concert Orchestra. Since 2012, Ms. Bomfim has worked as adjunct professor in conducting and orchestral activities at the Music Department of Federal University of Piauí (Brasil), and since October 2014 she has excelled as a Ph.D. candidate in Orchestral Conducting Studies at the University of Aveiro under Maestro António Lourenço's guidance.


French-born conductor, Mélisse Brunet, is entering her third season as the Assistant Conductor of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and her second season as the Music Director of the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra and the Appalachian Symphony Opera. Brunet recently conducted the operas Dead Man Walking by Jake Heggie, Gianni Schicchi by Puccini, Die Zauberflöte by Mozart, and will conduct the musical Sweeney Todd by Sondheim in April 2018. She assisted the productions of Carmen with Lionel Bringuier, Magdalena Kožená, Calixto Bieito, and Die Zauberflöte with Jeannette Sorrell and Apollo's Fire. Brunet is the regular guest conductor of Symphoria in Syracuse, NY, and the following orchestras in France: Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, Opéra de Rouen, Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy, Orchestre d'Auvergne, and Orchestre Régional de Normandie.


Praised for her "geniality" and "lightning changes in tempo, meter and effect" (Boston Musical Intelligencer), Lina Gonzalez-Granados has established herself as a talented conductor in orchestral and operatic worlds. Upcoming engagements include productions with Odyssey Opera and touring with Carnegie Hall's National Youth Orchestra of the U.S. Ms. Gonzalez-Granados was recently appointed the 2017-19 Taki Concordia Conducting Fellow, and has worked with a number of Boston-area opera companies in critically acclaimed productions, including Odyssey Opera, Boston Conservatory, and OperaHub. Lina is the founder and Artistic Director of Unitas Ensemble, a chamber orchestra specializing in Latin-American repertoire, and was recognized as one of the "Latino 30 Under 30" by El Mundo Newspaper in 2016. Gonzalez-Granados has served as Assistant Conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas and the Filarmonica Joven de Colombia.

Karin HendricksON (USA)

Nominated for the 2016 Salzburg Festival/Nestle Young Conductors Award, Karin Hendrickson's operatic work includes: Music Director for the premiere and tour of Opera for the Unknown Woman (Melanie Wilson/National Theatre), Music Director for the Garsington Youth Opera, and Music Director for Bloomsbury Opera. Symphonic debuts include the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Kammer-symphonie Graz, Sao Paulo Symphony, Ensemble Eroica, Southbank Sinfonia and Britten-Pears Orchestra. In 2016/17 Karin Hendrickson was Assistant Conductor to the BBC Proms Verdi Requiem under Marin Alsop, and cover conductor for the Royal Ballet. Upcoming projects include music direction for an independent performance of Strauss' Die Ägyptishce Helena, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra's Musical Leadership project, and Chorus Master for Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria with The Royal Opera.


A major prizewinner at the 2012 Emmerich Kálmán International Operetta Conducting Competition in Budapest, Carolyn Watson was also a Fellow of the American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival. Ms. Watson has conducted throughout Europe including Staatsoper Berlin, Brandenburger Symphonkier, BBC Concert Orchestra, North Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Kodály Philharmonic. Carolyn has participated in master classes with Marin Alsop, Peter Eötvös, Yoel Levi, Martyn Brabbins and Alex Polishchuk; conducted musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic in Interaktion 2010; served as resident assistant at the Israeli National Opera in 2009; and has worked with conductors including Sir Charles Mackerras, Simone Young and Karen Kamensek. She is the recipient of the Brian Stacey Award for Emerging Australian Conductors, Charles Mackerras Conducting Prize awarded by the Australian Music Foundation in London, Nelly Apt Scholarship and Opera Foundation Australia's Bayreuth Opera Award and Berlin New Music Opera Award.


Monika Wolinska, recipient of the honorary medal, "Meritorious for Polish Culture," from the Polish Government, enjoys an active conducting career around the world. After her successful performance at Carnegie Hall in 2009, the venue's first performance by a Polish female conductor, New York critics praised her saying, "Monika has what many contemporary conductors lack - a great sensitivity and a wonderful sense of the sound of instruments." In October 2014 she conducted a concert in the Gorzów Philharmonic Hall with the world-famous baritone Thomas Hampson, and in February 2015 a concert dedicated to Marina Jaszwili with the outstanding violinist Roman Simovi?. From 2013-2017, Ms. Wolinska served as Artistic Director of Gorzów Philharmonic Orchestra, and since 2013 she has been Artistic Director of Wojciech Kilar Contemporary Music Festival.

2017 Hart Institute Observers


Marie Bucoy-Calavan is currently the Director of Choral Studies at The University of Akron, Artistic Director of Summit Choral Society, and serves as the Chorus Director for the Akron Symphony. She served as Assistant Conductor to Robert Porco for the May Festival Chorus, the symphonic chorus for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. She has also conducted various opera performances in California and Ohio, including Donizetti's Elixir of Love and Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and Cosí fan Tutte. Ms. Bucoy-Calavan is regularly invited to serve residencies, in order to teach conducting across the nation and abroad, including at the Hochschule für Musik und Theatre in Munich, Germany. She completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Conducting at University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.


Catherine O'Shaughnessy is a rising opera conductor in the United States and abroad. Avidly committed to Chicago's dynamic opera scene, she has worked with numerous companies and is currently principal conductor of the Floating Opera Company and music director of Chicago Fringe Opera, an organization committed to providing a platform for new and underrepresented voices. Reviewers have praised her "great skill, alertness and sensitivity" as well as her "resourcefulness...fierce concentration...and...spirit of a modern collaborator." During her doctoral studies with Dr. William Reber at Arizona State University, Ms. O'Shaughnessy learned to appreciate and work in a wide variety of styles and genres. This stylistic flexibility has led to performances throughout Europe and to masterclasses with such teachers as Yuri Simonov, Julius Kalmar, and Maurizio Arena.


Maria Sensi Sellner is widely recognized for her versatility and artistry as a conductor of opera, orchestras, and choruses. The first three-time winner of the American Prize for Opera Conducting, Ms. Sellner is the founder and Artistic Director of Resonance Works Pittsburgh, Artistic Advisor for Hubbard Hall Opera, and previously has held positions as Director of the Akron Symphony Chorus and Acting Music Director of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (chorus of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra). An alum of Carnegie Mellon University, Ms. Sellner recently conducted the American premiere of Sir James MacMillan's Gloria, and in 2016 was a strand leader conductor for the world premiere of David Lang's "the public domain" for 1000 singers at the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center.


Hannah Threlkeld is an active conductor of orchestral, opera, and ballet repertoire. She has recently served as Assistant Conductor for the Meadows Symphony Orchestra and as Conductor for the new music ensemble, SYZYGY. Ms. Threlkeld assisted with Meadows Opera Theater's 2017 production of L'Elisir d'Amore and their 2016 production of Die Zauberflöte. In 2016, she was selected to be a conducting fellow for the Eastern Music Festival where she worked alongside music director Gerard Schwarz and conducted the Eastern Festival Orchestra. Additionally, Ms. Threlkeld studied conducting in Weimar, Germany and holds a Bachelors in Music Education and a Masters in Orchestral Conducting from Southern Methodist University, where she studied with Dr. Paul Phillips.

Founded in 1957, The Dallas Opera is an internationally-recognized innovator dedicated to the overall advancement of the operatic art form and the support of established and emerging artists, as well as the education and development of new opera audiences in North Texas-and beyond. These goals are achieved by commissioning and producing world-class opera; through ground-breaking institutes, national competitions and topical programs; and by presenting opera in both traditional and non-traditional formats and venues in order to attract patrons of every age, background, educational level, and ethnicity-while engaging with more than 87,000 people in our community each year. TDO is equally committed to the task of responsible stewardship and is managed with efficiency and accountability, to the highest possible standards.

All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise indicated. Single Tickets range from $19 to $289. Family performance tickets are just $5. For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at


The Dallas Opera celebrates its Sixty-First 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. With the exception of FIRST NIGHT, The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talk will begin one hour prior to curtain, at most performances.

SAMSON & DALILA by Camille Saint-Saëns

October 20, 22 (m), 25, 28, and November 5 (m), 2017

A passionate drama of biblical proportions!

Libretto by Ferdinand Lemaire

Time: 1150 B.C.E.

Place: Ancient Palestine

Conductor: EmManuel Villaume

Director: Bruno Berger-Gorski*

Set Designer: Peter Dean Beck*

Costume Designer: Carrie Robbins*

Lighting Designer: Alan Burrett

Wig & Make-up Designer: Dawn Rivard

Chorus Master: Alexander Rom

Choreographer: Nycole Ray*

Starring: Olga Borodina* (Dalila), Clifton Forbis (Samson), Richard Paul Fink (High Priest of Dagon), Michael Chioldi* (Abimélech) and Ryan Kuster (Old Hebrew)

A traditional period production from Pittsburgh Opera!

LA TRAVIATA ("The Fallen Woman") by Giuseppe Verdi

October 27, 29 (m), November 1, 4, 10 and 12 (m), 2017

Come toast the greatest love story in all of opera!

Time: Mid-19th century

Place: Paris, France and the French countryside

Conductor: Carlo Montanaro*

Original Director: Frank Galati*

Revival Director: Stefania Panighini**

Production Designer: Desmond Heeley

Lighting Designer: Alan Burrett

Wig & Make-up Designer: Dawn Rivard

Chorus Master: Alexander Rom

Choreographer: John de los Santos

Starring: Georgia Jarman (Violetta Valery), Zach Borichevsky* (Alfredo Germont), Vladislav Sulimsky (Giorgio Germont), Abigail Levis* (Flora Bervoix), Brenton Ryan* (Gastone), Dale Travis (Baron Douphol), Daniel Armstrong* (Marchese D'Obigny), Ryan Kuster (Doctor Grenvil) and Rachel Sterrenberg* (Annina)

A gorgeous, classic production from Lyric Opera of Chicago!

A Double Bill!


A sweeping Viennese concerto paired with a charming domestic comedy!

By Erich Wolfgang Korngold

February 9, 11 (m), 14 and 17, 2018

Violin Soloist (KORNGOLD CONCERTO): Augustin Dumay*

The Dallas Opera Orchestra conducted by EmManuel Villaume


Sumptuous Viennese music laced with orchestral color and wit!

Libretto by Leo Feld

Time: Early 20th century

Place: Vienna, Austria

Conductor: EmManuel Villaume

Director: Peter Kazaras

Set Designer: Donald Eastman*

Costume Designer: Tommy Bourgeois

Lighting Designer: Krista Billings

Wig & Make-up Designer: Dawn Rivard

Starring: Paul Groves* (Wilhelm Arndt), Laura Wilde* (Laura), Brenton Ryan (Florian Döbllinger), Susannah Biller* (Lieschen), and Craig Colclough* (Peter Vogel).

One of the most rarely performed opera gems! In its third professional U.S. production!

SUNKEN GARDEN by Michel van der Aa

March 9, 11 (m), 14 and 17, 2018

A phenomenal visual, musical and emotional adventure - live and in 3-D!

Libretto by David Mitchell

Time: Present Day

Place: Unknown

Conductor: Nicole Paiement

Director: Michel van der Aa*

Set Designer: Theun Mosk**

Costume Designer: Astrid Schulz**

Lighting Designer: Theun Mosk**

Sound Designer: Tom Gelissen*

Wig & Make-up Designer: Dawn Rivard

Starring: RodeRick Williams* (Toby Kramer), Katherine Manley* (Zenna Briggs), and Miah Persson* (Iris Marinus).

Combining live actors with 2-D and 3-D film, to take you where opera has never gone before!


April 13, 15 (m), 18, 21, 27 and 29 (m), 2018

Mozart's operatic masterpiece brought vividly to life under the baton of Music Director EmManuel Villaume!

Time: 20th century

Place: Seville, Spain and the surrounding countryside

Conductor: EmManuel Villaume

Director: Robert Falls*

Set Designer: Walt Spangler*

Costume Designer: Ana Kuzmanic*

Original Lighting Designer: Duane Schuler

Lighting Designer: Chris Maravich*

Wig & Make-up Designer: Dawn Rivard

Chorus Master: Alexander Rom

Starring: Mariusz Kwiecie? (Don Giovanni), Laura Claycomb (Donna Anna), David Portillo* (Don Ottavio), Ellie Dehn* (Donna Elvira), Kyle Ketelsen* (Leporello), Virginie Verrez (Zerlina), Craig Verm (Masetto), and Morris Robinson (The Commendatore).

An evocative and thrilling production from Lyric Opera of Chicago!

* 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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