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Dallas Opera Hart Institute For Women Announces Conductors and Concerts

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Dallas Opera Hart Institute For Women Announces Conductors and ConcertsThe Dallas Opera is proud to present 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 in two public concerts:

· Saturday, November 11th at 7:30 p.m. and

· Saturday, November 18th at 7:30 p.m.

Both, in the magnificent Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

General Admission seating is just $10 at these historic concerts, and is available now by contacting The Dallas Opera Ticket Office at 214.443.1000 or you may purchase online at dallasopera.org.

These two extraordinary evenings will consist of stirring overtures, interludes, and heartbreaking arias that crisscross time periods and geographical boundaries, performed by a stellar ensemble of young opera artists and The Dallas Opera Orchestra.

Most importantly, it will be an exceedingly rare opportunity to see six accomplished women conductors at the podium, sharing their interpretations of these much-loved works by Mozart, John Adams, Verdi, Joby Talbot, Handel, Mark Adamo, Puccini, Massenet, Jennifer Higdon, Bellini, Donizetti, Carlisle Floyd and more. The conductors have come to Dallas from Australia, Brazil, Colombia, France, Poland, and the U.S.A. to take part in this year's Hart Institute.

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 answered the call in 2017 and applied by the April 30th deadline for the Institute, which will be reconvened from Nov. 5-19, 2017. This year's participants are:

· Alba Bomfim (Brazil)

· Mélisse Brunet (France)

· Lina Gonzalez-Granados (USA/Colombia)

· Karin Hendrickson (USA)

· Carolyn Watson (USA/Australia)

· Monika Wolinska (Poland)

Other nations that were represented in this year's applicant pool were 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."

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, Susan and Mark Geyer, Holly and Tom Mayer, Betty and Steve Suellentrop, and Martha and Max Wells.

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: Last August, Chicago Opera Theater announced that Hart Institute Fellow Lidiya Yankovskaya (Inaugural Class, 2015) will assume the role of company music director and Tianyi Lu (Class of 2016) is one of this year's Dudamel Fellows at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Jessica Gethin (2015) will be the Assistant Conductor to Dallas Opera Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement (The Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor) in next spring's U.S. premiere of Michel van der Aa's opera, Sunken Garden; Stephanie Rhodes (2015) was named Assistant Conductor to Washington National Opera Music Director Philippe Auguin for productions of Wagner's Ring Cycle and Madame Butterfly, while Jennifer Condon (2015) was named Assistant Conductor to Berlin Philharmonic and Bavarian State Opera Music Director Kirill Petrenko for Tannhäuser, which is also slated for a tour of Japan-she will return to Dallas in the spring to assist Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume (The Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director) in a new production of The Ring of Polykrates by Erich Wolfgang Korngold

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.

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.

"Public support for the program and these individual conductors is an essential element of our success. The Winspear Opera House concerts on two consecutive Saturday evenings (Nov. 11th and 18th) give our patrons the rare opportunity to connect with them as artists and to reinforce the conductors' ties to the company, as well as the community."

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 in 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.


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. www.carolyn-watson.com


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.

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.


The Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Family




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