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THE PEARL FISHERS Returns To Dallas Opera, April 2

This season, TDO Connections explores representation and Orientalism in opera through Madame Butterfly and The Pearl Fishers in partnership with Asian Opera Alliance.

The Dallas Opera closes out the 2021/2022 Season with Bizet's The Pearl Fishers. The production, from San Diego Opera, opens at the Winspear Opera House on Saturday, April 2, at 7:30pm, with subsequent performances on Wednesday, April 6 (7:30pm), Friday, April 8 (7:30pm), and Sunday, April 10 (2pm).

"The company has not presented this important work in over 40 years, and we're thrilled to bring Zandra Rhodes' beautiful production to Dallas audiences," said Ian Derrer, Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO. "While a mainstay in the repertoire, the piece does present its challenges which we are actively approaching through TDO Connections, The Dallas Opera's commitment to explore various themes to tell opera in a respectful and authentic way. We are grateful to start these important conversations and invite you to join us."

René Barbera (Nadir) and Morris Robinson (Nourabad) return to the TDO stage, while Alfredo Daza (Zurga) and Joyce El-Khoury (Leïla) make their Dallas Opera debuts.

Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement returns to the podium leading The Dallas Opera Orchestra, while Shawna Lucey and James Smith co-direct. The production features sets and costumes by award winning designer Zandra Rhodes, lighting design by Lee Fiskness, choreography by Eboni Adams (TDO debut), and wig and makeup design by David Zimmerman. Chorusmaster Alexander Rom prepared The Dallas Opera Chorus.

Join us in exploring the richness of opera as we work to do a better job of telling stories as authentically and respectfully as possible through TDO Connections-our intentional process for human-centered, operatic storytelling.

This season, TDO Connections explores representation and Orientalism in opera through Madame Butterfly and The Pearl Fishers in partnership with Asian Opera Alliance. While Asian Opera Alliance was not part of the original process in choosing these productions for the stage, they have been engaged to consult on these pieces, working with the Company's stage directors and staff. These conversations with the Asian Opera Alliance are pivotal in improving the Company's approach to Orientalist operas as we work to ensure respectful storytelling for all future productions. The public-facing component began in February with a pre-recorded panel discussion with Dallas Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation, the Asian Opera Alliance, and the Black Opera Alliance, available now on The Dallas Opera website.

The season concludes with a panel discussion with The Pearl Fishers stage directors, Shawna Lucey and James Smith, Madame Butterfly stage director, Laurie Feldman, The Pearl Fishers choreographer, Eboni Adams, Asian Opera Alliance, and The Dallas Opera team.

Through this work and learning, Dallas Opera has altered the upcoming production of The Pearl Fishers by:

  • Eliminating the use of head dresses, bindis, non-essential stylized jewelry, cages, and spears.
  • Utilizing natural makeup and hair whenever possible.
  • Revising the costumes in collaboration with the original costume designer, Zandra Rhodes.
  • Recasting the location of Sri Lanka to a fictionalized land.


TDO also offers engaging and informative pre- and post-opera discussions:

  • Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talks are interactive 30-minute lectures one hour before the start of each opera held in the Margaret McDermott Performance Hall. Admission is free with your ticket to a Dallas Opera performance. Hosted by Nicole Paiement, Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor
  • Post-Opera Talkbacks will immediately follow the Sunday matinee performances from the stage. These brief and casual Q&A sessions with members of the cast give audiences an opportunity to ask questions about the performance. Hosted by TBA


For this production, audiences will have the opportunity to engage with additional online and lobby resources.

Masks are strongly encouraged, but not required for all guests in the lobby and performance hall. As a resident company of the AT&T Performing Arts Center, The Dallas Opera adheres to the health and safety protocols and policies in our home venue, the Winspear Opera House.

Visit the AT&T Performing Art Center's website for more information about health and safety protocols and policies, including detailed information about ventilation and sanitization procedures.



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