THE RING OF POLYKRATES Comes to The Dallas Opera
A sizzling blend of domestic comedy and romance, symphonic music and opera, thrilling virtuosity and extraordinary artistry, will melt the icy grip of winter this February as The Dallas Opera presents a once-in-a-lifetime pairing: Erich Wolfgang Korngold's rarely performed 1916 opera, The Ring of Polykrates, preceded by the composer's famous Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35 that premiered nearly three decades later in 1945.
The unique program opens on Friday, February 9, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. for the first of four performances in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, Texas. Additional performances are scheduled to take place in the Winspear on: Sunday, February 11, 2018 at 2:00 pm, Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 7:30 pm
This Dallas Opera production is made possible by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Revered French violinist Augustin Dumay (with more than 40 recordings in his discography) will be the featured guest soloist with The Dallas Opera Orchestra for the concerto. Mr. Dumay is considered "an absolute master of using changes in tone color as an expressive device" (Fanfare) and many of his recordings are considered the "gold standard" in their repertoire. Heather Kurzbauer of The Strad put it simply: "This is the stuff that dreams are made of." As for his live concert hall performances, Geoffrey Norris of The Daily Telegraph writes: "Mr. Dumay is a violinist of remarkable individuality...excitingly musical, stimulatingly original, a marvelously fresh but idiomatic interpretation with a strength of personality that made it so powerfully communicative and memorable."
The concerto will be paired with Korngold's very first opera, The Ring of Polykrates, a one-act domestic comedy composed in 1913-14 when he was just sixteen years old. The opera premiered in Munich in 1916 on another double bill.
Korngold is known today as one of the great proponents of early twentieth-century "neo-romanticism" and one of the fathers of the modern movie score, whose masterful work during Hollywood's "Golden Age" (The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk, Anthony Adverse, Deception, Between Two Worlds, Juarez, Kings Row) has influenced generations of composers, studios, and film-makers.
The plot revolves around a happily married professional musician, Wilhelm Arndt, whose career is on the upswing, along with his finances. His joy, he tells his wife Laura, would be complete if only he could once again see his long-lost friend Peter Vogel. Without giving too much away, we will refer you to the old adage, "Be careful what you wish for!"
The name of the opera is taken from a late eighteenth-century poem by Friedrich Schiller, which is based on the ancient tale of the Greek ruler, Polycrates, who was deemed much too successful for the Fates to ignore--and advised to throw away his most valuable possession, a bejeweled ring, in a superstitious bid to avoid future disaster.
Critically acclaimed Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume (The Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director) will conduct all four performances. Opera Wire praised Villaume for his conducting of Thaïs at the Metropolitan Opera: "From the opening chords to the final ones, the polish of one of Massenet's finest scores was felt." The New York Times also touted his conducting prowess in the much-discussed new production of Tosca: "He brings shape, nuance and pliancy to the score."
Currently in his fifth season as music director, Maestro Villaume guided our successful Samson & Dalila before turning to engagements in Prague and at the Met. Last summer, he presided over a critically acclaimed new production of Rimsky-Korsakov's The Golden Cockerel at Santa Fe Opera (a Dallas Opera co-production).
Directed by Peter Kazaras (La Bohème), The Ring of Polykrates stars tenor Paul Groves, soprano Laura Wilde (Phyllis A. McCasland and Thomas H. McCasland, Jr. Young Artist) and bass-baritone Craig Colclough in their eagerly-anticipated TDO debuts.
"It is a great privilege to be able to give Dallas Opera patrons the opportunity to experience this opera live," says Interim General Director and CEO Kern Wildenthal. "Even recordings of Polykrates are rare, but that could change quickly with the growing appreciation for Korngold's early works.
"This brilliant young cast, guided by Emmanuel Villaume and Peter Kazaras, will not only charm us, they will heighten our awareness of Korngold's distinctive musical voice, which was already exceptional at the age of sixteen."
Director Peter Kazaras currently serves as the Director of Opera and Music Theater at UCLA. Previously, he was Seattle Opera's Artistic Advisor and Artistic Director of the company's young artist program. This season, Mr. Kazaras will also be directing La Gazza Ladra at Glimmerglass and Le Nozze di Figaro for Washington National Opera.
American tenor Paul Groves (Wilhelm Arndt) is a frequent guest of the world's leading opera houses and concert halls. He returns to his native New Orleans later this season to sing the title role of Faust. He can also be heard singing Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Indianapolis Symphony, Berlioz' Requiem with the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Charles Dutoit, and Stravinsky's Perséphone with the Oregon Symphony.
American soprano Laura Wilde (Laura), winner of a 2016 Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation and the Luminarts Women's Voice Fellowship, recently made her role debut as Freia in Lyric Opera of Chicago's new production of Das Rheingold. Other engagements include the role of Jane Withersteen in the world premiere of Riders of the Purple Sage, Micaëla for Nashville Opera, and Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
American bass-baritone Craig Colclough (Peter Vogel) returned to London as Scarpia for English National Opera, the role that also served as his debut at Canadian Opera Company. His most recent appearances include the title role of Falstaff for Opera Saratoga and Arizona Opera; Timur in Turandot under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel; Jack Rance in La Fanciulla del West and Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde at English National Opera; and Simone in Gianni Schicchi for LA Opera.
Rounding out the cast are tenor Brenton Ryan (Florian Döblinger) now appearing as Spoletta in the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Tosca, conducted by Maestro Villaume (both will be seen in the Met's "Live in HD" simulcast of Tosca on January 27, 2018); and soprano Susannah Biller (Lieschen) who earned rave reviews in the title role of Madame White Snake for Beth Morrison Projects, as well as numerous other roles.
Set Designer Donald Eastman, who designs for opera companies and theaters here and overseas, will make his TDO debut. His work has been seen at Canadian Opera Company, Lincoln Center Festival, New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Opéra de Montréal and the San Francisco Opera Center.
This Dallas Opera production will also feature period costumes by TDO's Costume Design Consultant Tommy Bourgeois, with lighting by Dallas Opera Lighting Director and Associate Technical Director Krista Billings, and wig and make-up design by Emmy Award-winning designer Dawn Rivard.
Performed in German with English translations projected above the stage, the Korngold program will have three additional performances: February 11(m), 14 (a romantic Valentine's Day evening) and February 17, 2018. Ticket prices range from $19-$289. Discounted group rates and Student Rush Tickets are available. For more information, call the ticket office at 214-443-1000 or visit https://dallasopera.org/season/the-ring-of-polykrates.
The Winspear Opera House is located in the Dallas Arts District at 2403 Flora Street, Dallas, Texas, 75201.
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.