Dallas Opera Invites Applicants for Institute for Women Conductors

Striving to address a long-standing career imbalance 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 (IWC). This year's program represents the third residency of a twenty-year commitment made by the company.

Female conductors, as well as accomplished singers, opera coaches, accompanists, and instrumentalists with established careers seeking a new career at the podium are encouraged to apply for the upcoming institute, assembling in the fall of 2017. 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 meet on November 6, 2017 and run throughNovember 18, 2017 in Dallas, Texas. This year's institute will include two public concerts (on November 11th and November 18th) 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 with initial support from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation.

Since that time, it has garnered additional generous support from Linda and Mitch Hart and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Stated Mr. Cerny: "The Dallas Opera has demonstrated, in multiple ways, its unshakable 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 amazing art form."

The tremendous success of the first two institute sessions has been recognized by music lovers, opera VIPs and the national media, earning a feature in Opera News magazine, published by the Metropolitan Opera Guild, as well as a segment on PBS NewsHour seen across the U.S.

Scott Cantrell, Classical Music Critic for The Dallas Morning News lavished praise on individual performances in the inaugural concert 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 2017 Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors will provide a host of career-building opportunities:

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

· Participate in master classes with renowned conductor Carlo Montanaro, the

· Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement and other stars of the podium

· Attend seminars and discussions, guided by a variety of experts (including Alec Treuhaft, former Senior Vice-President of IMG Artists, and Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny) 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 to participate in this year's Hart Institute. The Dallas Opera will provide the six fellows with a travel stipend, in-town housing, an honorarium, visa costs, and a per diem to cover basic living expenses. Most meals will be provided.

Hart Institute Observers will receive a travel and housing stipend. They will have complete access to master classes and seminars but will not have an opportunity to conduct. Most meals will be provided by The Dallas Opera.

Hart Institute Fellows are also eligible to take part in an annual spring/summer networking event for institute alumni. This spring, Hart Institute Fellows will gather at San Francisco Opera to work with Adler Fellows in an exciting new partnership for The Dallas Opera.

There is also the potential for one or more participants to be invited back to Dallas to serve as Assistant Conductors or Guest Conductors on future Dallas Opera productions.

The application process is now open, with a deadline of 11:59 p.m. (Pacific Time) on Sunday, April 30, 2017. Entry fee, $35. Applications may be submitted directly at YAPtracker.com: http://www.yaptracker.com/applications/dallas-opera-conductors-2017

Early applications are definitely encouraged. For more information on The Women's Conducting Institute at The Dallas Opera, please visit www.dallasopera.org/womenconductors.

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, San Francisco Opera, 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).

The Dallas Opera's 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 successful 2015 world premiere of Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer's Everest. She has returned to The Dallas Opera this spring to conduct our first performances of Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw, in a Jonathan Kent production from Glyndebourne Opera.

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

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