The Dallas Opera Hosts Dominick Argento Tonight

The Dallas Opera is particularly excited to bring Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer Dominick Argento back to Dallas after a very long absence for a special "Composing Conversation," conducted in partnership with Art&Seek, KERA's arts initiative. The visit is prompted, in part, by the Dallas Opera's upcoming 25th Anniversary production of the world premiere of Argento's masterful adaptation of Henry James' THE ASPERN PAPERS.

This new production of The Aspern Papers received funding from OPERA America's Opera Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, and The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund.

Our one-night-only free public discussion will take place the evening of tonight, January 22nd beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Nancy B. Hamon Hall in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Come and join the conversation with this Grammy Award winner on his prestigious career, as well as his insights into the forces at work in opera and contemporary music today, hosted by Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny and moderated by award-winning Art&Seek Producer-Reporter Jerome Weeks, a longtime observer of the North Texas arts scene, from the visual to theatrical.

No relevant topic is off-limits and audience questions are highly encouraged.

The Aspern Papers was given its world premiere by the Dallas Opera in November 1988 to great critical acclaim, a production telecast on the PBS series Great Performances. The opera was again presented in a well-received revival by the Washington Opera in 1990. It since has been heard in both Germany and in Sweden; June 1998 brought a performance at the Barbican Centre in London.

Dominick Argento examined fame and the immigrant experience in his opera, The Dream of Valentino, set in the early days of Hollywood. Washington Opera gave this work its premiere under the baton of Christopher Keene in January 1994, followed by its co-commissioning company, the Dallas Opera, in 1995. The production featured special multi-media sets by John Conklin and costumes by the couturier Valentino. Writing of the premiere, Peter G. Davis of New York Magazine stated, "What a pleasure to encounter a real opera composer, one who has studied and learned from his predecessors, loves the form, understands its conventions, has mastered them, and then lets his imagination take wing."

The Dream of Valentino received its European premiere in February 1999 in Kassel, Germany.
Among his numerous honors and awards, Dominick Argento received the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his song cycle From the Diary of Virginia Woolf. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1979 and in 1997, was honored with the title of Composer Laureate to the Minnesota Orchestra, a lifetime appointment.

The program will also feature a live taste of Argento's The Aspern Papers as soprano Jennifer Youngs, an emerging artist and UNT graduate student working closely with the Dallas Opera, performs the two "Tina" arias from the work, accompanied by pianist Elvia Puccinelli.

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