JUST IN: The Dallas Opera’s First Sight/First Night Plans Revealed With Dianne And Mark LaRoe At The Helm

While the queen bees may have flown to cooler places, the worker bees are hard at work churning out news.

The latest comes from The Dallas Opera about its annual fall two-day fundraiser — First Sight/First Night.

First, let’s get the basics down. The luncheon and fashion show will take place on Thursday, October 19, followed the next night [aka Friday, October 20] by First Night’s seated dinner, performance and after party. All of these activities will be taking place at the Winspear Opera House, but you already knew that.

Now about the who’s who involved in putting the festivities on, here goes:

Overseeing the whole two events will art-loving Dianne and Mark LaRoe, who chaired the 2016 TACA Custom Auction Gala, and, boy, have they been busy putting together their team.

Dianne and Mark LaRoe (File photo)

Nancy Nasher and David Haemisseger (File photo)

Serving as honorary co-chairs will be Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger, who have practically made the Performing Arts District their second home.

Lisa Cooley and Ciara Cooley (File photo)

Bela Cooley (File photo)

Steve and Betty Suellentrop (File photo)

Co-chairing the First Sight luncheon will be Lisa Cooley and her girls — daughter Ciara Cooley and new daughter-in-law Bela Cooley. Presented by NorthPark Center, the luncheon will be highlighted by fashions from NorthPark Center’s Salvatore Ferragamo.

As for the black-tie First Night, it will be presented by Deutsche Bank Wealth Management and will kick off for The Dallas Opera season with Betty and Steve Suellentrop serving as co-chairs. The evening will start at 5:30 p.m. with guests arriving via a red carpet for a cocktail party, having a gourmet dinner in a tent in Sammons Park and attending the Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance of Camille Saint-Saëns‘ “Samson and Dalila.” For those with no curfew, there will be an after party.

Tickets are available here.

Free Simulcast Of The Dallas Opera’s “Madame Butterfly” At The Star Saturday Night Thanks To The Dallas Foundation

How about a freebie Saturday night that’s a bit off the beaten track? The Dallas Opera’s Saturday evening performance of Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly” at the Winspear will be simulcast free at The Star in Frisco. You know you’ve been curious about the Cowboys new digs and the temperatures are supposed to be in the upper 70s.

Hui He*

While the performance starring soprano Hui He and tenor Gianluca Terranova will start at 7:30 p.m., the evening’s program at The Star will begin at 6 p.m. with KLUV’s Jody Dean and The Dallas Opera’s Education program Senior Manager Kristian Roberts.

And the timing is perfect! Just when you’ve totally run out of things to do with the kids during spring break, there will be such pre-performance activities as the Family Fun Zone from 5 to 7 p.m., trivia, behind-the-scenes interviews and a WB Classics presentation of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in “What’s Opera, Doc?

While online registration are already at capacity-load status, walk-ups will be welcomed.

Thank-you notes should be sent to The Dallas Foundation. Why? Because the Foundation is sponsoring the simulcast.

According to The Dallas Foundation President/CEO Mary Jalonick, “The Dallas Foundation has been proud to serve as the Founding Sponsor of The Dallas Opera’s simulcasts at AT&T Stadium since 2012, helping to provide families throughout our community the chance to experience world-class opera in this unique and relaxed setting. This year’s simulcast performance at The Star in Frisco, will offer audiences an opportunity to enjoy one of the most well-known operas in one of our area’s newest event venues.”

BTW, you might want to bring along some hankies for Un Bel Di Vedremo.”

* Photo credit: Karen Almond

National Endowment For The Arts Presents Big Thought And Nine Others With Early Christmas Gifts

Big Thought just revealed some big news. Back in late November National Endowment for the Arts Chair Jane Chu visited Dallas for a couple of days touring the Arts District and checking in at Big Thought. The Oklahoma native, who did graduate work at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, just provided Big Thought with a very nice Christmas gift — a $100,000 Arts Works grant for Big Thought’s Dallas City of Learning project.

Art Works, National Endowment for the Arts and Big Thought*

The funds will “help provide in-person and internet-based creative educational experiences for students across Dallas during the summer months.”

Gigi Antoni*

It was just last January at this time that Big Thought hosted a meeting of concerned educational, political and community leaders to address the issue of “the Dallas education system having gone dormant during summer.”

According to Big Thought President/CEO Gigi Antoni, “We are so grateful and appreciative of Chair Chu and the National Endowment for the Arts. We as an organization and as a city have been committed to stemming summer learning loss in our quest to close the opportunity gap and improve the academic and socio-emotional outcomes of our children. This community has come together for our kids, and with the NEA’s generous support we can make an important impact in their lives.”

Other local groups receiving Art Works grants from the National Endowment for the Arts include:

  • Chamberlain Performing Arts — $10,000
  • Dallas Black Dance Theatre — $10,000
  • The Dallas Opera — $45,000
  • Dallas Symphony Orchestra — $20,000
  • Kitchen Dog Theater — $10,000
  • Matt Morton — $25,000
  • Nasher Sculpture Center — $40,000
  • Shakespeare Festival of Dallas — $10,000
  • The Cliburn — $10,000
* Graphic and photo provided by Big Thought

Plans Announced For The Dallas Opera’s First Sight First Night As Part Of Its 60th Anniversary

Leave it to The Dallas Opera types to get ahead of the heat of summer. Word has it that DO General Director/CEO Keith Cerny and his team got those music loving Winspears (i.e. Ellen and Don) to chair this fall’s First Sight First Night fundraising for the DO’s 60th anniversary.

Ellen and Don Winspear and Jennifer and Keith Cerny (File photo)

Ellen and Don Winspear and Jennifer and Keith Cerny (File photo)

Gee, it was three years before Don was even born and such names as Elsa von Seggern, Larry Kelly and John Ardoin were mainstays along with Juanita and Henry S. Miller Jr. in making arias the hip of hop of Dallas sounds back then.

But there’s more to the reveal. Joyce and Harvey Mitchell will be the honorary co-chairs.

Tiffany Divis (File photo)

Tiffany Divis (File photo)

Kara Goss (File photo)

Kara Goss (File photo)

Rhonda Marcus (File photo)

Rhonda Marcus (File photo)

More good news! NorthPark will be the presenting sponsor for the First Sight Luncheon Fashion Show that will be returning to the Winspear on Thursday, October 27, with fashions gloriously provided by NorthPark’s Versace, of course. The luncheon co-chairs will be the willowy fashion-loving trio of Tiffany Divis, Kara Goss and Rhonda Marcus.

Of course, there will be the designer highlights, but those details are forthcoming.

Ron Kirk and Matrice Ellis-Kirk (File photo)

Ron Kirk and Matrice Ellis-Kirk (File photo)

As for the black-tie goings on, Matrice Ellis-Kirk and Ron Kirk will co-chair the cocktails, dinner, opera — “Eugene Onegin” —and after-party with Hunter Sullivan providing the non-operatic tunes. That will all take place on Friday, October 28, at the Winspear. The evening’s festivities are being presented thanks to Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management.

As for the vittles, the Wolfgang Puck crew will be in charge for both the luncheon and dinner.

Before heading to Pilates, why not get your tickets now?

JUST IN: Margaret McDermott’s And The Eugene McDermott Foundation’s $2M Gifts Result In The “Kern Wildenthal General Director And CEO” Position

There’s a theory that bad news is announced on Fridays. Well, The Dallas Opera is turning the tables on that way of thinking. Word has just been sent that philanthropist Margaret McDermott and The Eugene McDermott Foundation have made “two extraordinary new gifts, totaling $2 million” to the Opera.

Margaret McDermott (File photo)

Margaret McDermott (File photo)

In making the gifts, the request was made and approved “that the position of Dallas Opera General Director and CEO to [be] known henceforth as the ‘Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO’ in honor of the longtime Dallas Opera Board Member and Past Chairman.”

According to McDermott Foundation President Mary McDermott Cook, “The Eugene McDermott Foundation is delighted to be able to show its passion for the Greater Dallas community, as well as for the arts, through this gift made in honor of Kern Wildenthal. Kern has earned the admiration—not only of our foundation and our family—but of the arts, medical and academic communities in Dallas and throughout the country. His insightful leadership, integrity, and decades of exemplary service to a variety of causes have contributed greatly to our community.

Kern and Marnie Wildenthal (File photo)

Kern and Marnie Wildenthal (File photo)

“I think this is the perfect way to acknowledge Dr. Wildenthal’s continuing influence on the life of this city while providing an even brighter future for opera and the arts in Dallas.”

According to The Dallas Opera, it was during Kern’s serving as chairman of The Dallas Opera Board of Directors from 2008 to 2012 that the following took place:

  • “Guided the company’s October 2009 move into the Winspear Opera House after more than 50 years of performances in the Music Hall at Fair Park
  • “Served as the principal negotiator of a $10 million matching challenge to build the company’s endowment, personally securing 6-and 7-figure gifts and devoting countless hours to the task of completing the match, which quintupled the endowment from $5 million to $25 million
  • “Acted as a strong advocate for The Dallas Opera in the community, recruiting numerous patrons, supporters and board members from among business leaders and Dallas’ philanthropic community
  • “Played a leading role in the recruitment of Keith Cerny as TDO’s General Director and CEO (in 2010)”

According Keith, Kern agreed to serve a second consecutive term as Chairman of the Board, in order to provide stability and continuity to the company, and to support my transition into my new role.

“I shall always be grateful to Kern for putting the company’s needs first during that critical time and for his role in securing major gifts for general operations to deal with a significant deficit in our second year in our new home.

“Together with the Board, we restructured The Dallas Opera season schedule and successfully addressed significant cost increases, while simultaneously developing strategies to attract new and more diverse audiences. Ultimately, this led to a dramatic expansion of our education programs—reaching tens of thousands of students each year—and an ongoing program of free simulcasts which, so far, have entertained more than 60,000 people.”

Needless to say, the list of Kern’s accomplishments and leadership positions is longer than the lineup for the opening of the latest “Star Wars” movie. If you want to send a “Congratulations” note to Kern, he’s heading up the Children Medical Center Foundation.

What a simply lovely way to kick off the weekend.

For a full read of the release, just follow the jump! [Read more…]

SOLD-OUT ALERT!: Fashion For Kindness

Evidently, the retail centers weren’t the only ones on a roll over Thanksgiving.

Word just arrived from Rhonda Marcus that Sunday’s “Fashion For Kindness” for munchkin models benefiting The Dallas Opera Wednesday is at full capacity.

Just goes to show that a great idea quickly pays off.

Kids Fashion Show For Kindness Is Signing Up Munchkin Models For Sunday’s Fundraiser Now

While the weather is looking rather damp, dreary and downright chilly the next few days, don’t worry. As Annie says, “This sun will come out….only not tomorrow.” It’s expected to arrive Sunday.

"Becoming A Santa" elf*

“Becoming Santa Claus” elf*

By then, the kids will be showing signs of cabin fever or mall malaise. How about an opportunity to dress up and have some fun that doesn’t require cooking, posting greeting cards or shopping?

Well, 8-year-old Emanuelle Marcus has just the answer — Fashion For Kindness. According to her fashion savvy mom Rhonda Marcus, the Hockaday second grader “conceived the idea to hold a children’s fashion show to raise money and awareness for the family opera, ‘Becoming Santa Claus,’ which, as you know was written by Mark Adamo, commissioned by The Dallas Opera and will have its world premier at the Winspear Opera House on Friday, December 4. The opera was funded by Holly and Tom Mayer in memory of their grand-daughter, Chloe Shea, who tragically passed away at age 3 from a rare form of brain cancer.”

For $20, munchkins under 12 can walk the fashion red carpet in their own holiday attire and they will receive a T-shirt and a “Becoming Santa Claus” coloring book. For guests it’s a $10 donation and the request for an unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots program. Sign up deets are here.

The emcee for the fashion show that officially starts at 1 will be Gary Cogill, who has just barely caught his breath after interviewing Jon Voight and Isabella Rossellini.

Another VIP on hand will be composer Adamo, who will chat with the models.

BTW, if you’re planning on your pre-teen Gisele Bündchen/Andre Hamann to be on the red-carpeted catwalk, you need to have her/him there by 12:30. Let’s not have any youthful divas arriving late for this one.

Alas, there is a caveat. If you ain’t registered, you ain’t getting in. And where is it taking place? Sign up and find out! So, the message is “Sign up now!

* Graphic courtesy of The Dallas Opera

JUST IN: The Dallas Opera Board Extends Contracts Of Key Leaders Until 2022

Just as the season was transitioning into the uber-giving season, word arrived that The Dallas Opera has given a big couple of gifts to the artistic community of Dallas. The Dallas Opera Board extended the contracts of General Director/CEO Keith Cerny and Musical Director Emanuel Villaume to June 30, 2022.

Keith Cerny and Emmanuel Villaume*

Keith Cerny and Emmanuel Villaume*

According to Board Chair Steve Suellentrop, “Over the past five years, Keith Cerny has demonstrated exemplary leadership… Working closely with the Board, Keith has also played a major role in achieving three consecutive balanced budgets – the first time in fifteen years that The Dallas Opera has achieved this result.

“Music Director Emmanuel Villaume has accomplished a great deal in his first two years with the company.  In addition to conducting several outstanding productions, he has made Dallas his musical home; using his considerable intelligence and charm to forge extremely positive relationships with the community, our Board, and our supporters.”

Congrats to the Cerny and Villaume households and The Dallas Opera’s board for this “let’s keep the right team together.”

* Photo credit: Karen Almond, Dallas Opera

JUST IN: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Provides A $500,000 Grant For The Linda And Mitch Hart Institute For Women Conductors At The Dallas Opera

Linda and Mitch Hart (File photo)

Linda and Mitch Hart (File photo)

Leave it to Linda and Mitch Hart to inspire others! Just last month they provided a nice financial support for an “innovative program to support the career aspirations and advancement of women conductors in the field of opera, while addressing the thorny problems resulting from ingrained gender inequality at the top of the profession.”

As a thank you, the program was officially named “The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera.”

Well, the initiative evidently impressed the folks at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, who just “awarded a $500,000 grant over a three-year period” to support the program that is truly unique.

And the timing couldn’t be more perfect, as the inaugural institute takes place from Saturday, November 28, through Sunday, December 6. The ladies benefiting from the institute will include Jennifer Condon of Australia/Germany, Jessica Gethin of Australia, Natalie Murray Beale of the United Kingdom, Stephanie Rhodes of the U.S., Anna Skryleva of Russia/Germany and Lidiya Yankovskaya of the U.S.

The American observers will be: Arianne Abela, Luçik Aprahämian, Avlana Eisenberg and Co Boi Nguyen.

Bravo, Linda, Mitch, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Dallas Opera.

The Dallas Opera’s First Night Featured A Chilled Supreme Court Justice For The Football-Theme Black-Tie Soiree

The rain and chill of Friday, October 30, gave way to an afternoon break following the Dallas Women’s foundation’s 30th Annual Lunch at the Hilton Anatole. While some hoped that Mother Nature was leaving the area, weather forecasters warned that she was resting up to unload for the evening.

In fact, Ma Nature was focusing on The Dallas Opera‘s First Night VIP red carpet and pre-performance seated dinner in a tent adjoining the Winspear Opera House.

Forewarned, The Dallas Opera staffers had a back-up plan all prepared. Instead of the usual red-carpet entry from Flora, guests were to arrive at 5:30 in the underground parking and take the elevators to the ground level.

Upon exiting the elevators, the black-tie set strolled a green carpet to the tent for the VIP reception.

Why the green walkway instead of the traditional red? It was to “kick-off” the evening with a nod to the opera’s season opener, “Great Scott,” which had a football theme. Think green playing field. Ah, now it makes sense.

Ellen Winspear and Rhonda and Fraser Marcus

Ellen Winspear and Rhonda and Fraser Marcus

Anne and Steve Stodghill

Anne and Steve Stodghill

Laura and Tom Leppert

Laura and Tom Leppert

As the beautiful people checked in at tables just outside the tent, a couple of staffers swept water from the walkway. While the First Sight & First Night Co-Chairs Ellen in Michael Faircloth and Don Winspear, First Night Dinner Co-Chairs Anne and Steve Stodghill and guests like Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, Rhonda in Amanda Wakeley and Fraser Marcus, Honorary Co-Chairs Micki and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Lynn and Allan McBee, Donna Wilhelm, Laura and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, Nick Even with Arden Kwan, Kristina Lechowski and “Moby-Dick” and “Everest” librettist Gene Scheer and Holly Reed with Greg Haynes Johnson looked perfect, the tent proved to be not so perfect.

Kern and Marnie Wildenthal and Kristina Lechowski and Gene Scheer

Kern and Marnie Wildenthal and Kristina Lechowski and Gene Scheer

Bart and Jolie Humphrey

Bart and Jolie Humphrey

Greg Haynes Johnson and Holly Reed

Greg Haynes Johnson and Holly Reed

One AARP-vintage gal queried a passerby, “What should I do about my chair?” The lady’s chair was directly under a leak in the tent.

Mary McDermott Cook

Mary McDermott Cook

On the back wall of the tent was a mammoth scoreboard and the sound of college fight songs could be heard. Philanthropist Mary McDermott Cook in a black-and-white jacket threw her arms sky-high and announced, “I’m refereeing!”

Jennifer Cerny’s one-shoulder emerald green gown put the tent’s green flooring to shame…Jolie Humphrey’s “vintage” gown matched the tables’ gold glittery tablecloths, red-and-white chairs and red-and-white chairs.

Someone asked, “Have you seen Ruth Bader Ginsburg?” Immediately the photographers demanded, “Are you serious?” Yup! Next question: “Where is she?” Answer: A hand pointed to an elevated area of the tent where guests were gathering around tables. Final question: “What’s she wearing?” The answer: A white outfit with black piping.

Off the photographers went in search of the Supreme Court justice. A sudden burst of flashes indicated that the photographer had found the jurist. Only the 5’1” tall Supreme was wearing a man’s tuxedo jacket that hung down past her knees, and she looked rather unhappy.

Mitch and Linda Hart, Ruth Ginsburg, Keith and Jennifer Cerny

Mitch and Linda Hart, Ruth Ginsburg, Keith and Jennifer Cerny

To her side a coatless Mitch Hart said, “She needs a blanket.” Yup, she looked pretty unhappy, but wasn’t covering her up with a blanket rather extreme? No. Mitch explained that the 82-year-old was cold and needed a blanket, a stole, anything to keep her from chilling too much.

In the meantime, looking like Nancy Walker’s sister, Justice Ginsburg found herself being photographed with all types of local VIPs. So, why was Ruth at the event? She’s a big opera lover. In the past she had said, “In my dreams, I can be a great diva.” She’s also a big fan of Jake Heggie, who composed “Great Scott.”

And speaking of Jake, while his Supreme groupie was chilling in the tent, he was seen heading past the models in the designer outfits into the Hamon Hall for a private party with a passel of his buds. One woman seeing the passing Heggie parade commented, “It’s probably warmer in there!”

But the weather challenges of the night didn’t end with dinner. After the performance, the after-party got underway back in the tent. With the dinner’s tables and chairs removed, it should have been the perfect place for dancing, partying and celebrating the debut of “Great Scott.” And it was, except the green flooring evidently still had a couple of wet spots creating a bit of a slippery situation.

Round Robin October 29: 16th Annual Mission Ole And Stars And Stripes Film Festival Sponsors Party

Thursday, October 29, proved to once again return Thursday to its status as the busiest day of the week. Earlier in the day there were The Dallas Opera’s First Sight luncheon and fashion show at the Winspear and Mosaic’s 5th Annual Partners and Possibilities Luncheon at the Addison Conference and Theatre Center north of town. That was just the warm up for the evening’s activities that included the 2015 David Wiessman Bridge Builder Award Dinner at The Adolphus Hotel co-chaired by Holly Deason and Blaine Nelson and honoring Ron Haddock. Even Fort Worth was buzzing with the NewDay Services for Children and Families at The Cendera Center!

But back in Dallas, there was still fun and fundraising going on.

16th Annual Mission Ole

Greg Nieberding

Greg Nieberding

The Day of the Dead makeup

The Day of the Dead makeup

Mission Ole alter

Mission Ole alter

Despite being within a hair’s breadth of October 31, the Trinity River Mission fundraiser’s 16th Annual Mission Ole could have easily been mistaken for a Halloween dress rehearsal. Evidently Chair Greg Nieberding recognized the growing popularity of “Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)” and deemed it to be the theme for the gathering at 3015 at Trinity Groves.

Gary and Cindy Turner

Gary and Cindy Turner

Against a wall was a presentation of art that was in keeping with “The Day of the Dead” tradition in which “alters” are created as a tribute and celebration of the life of a deceased loved one. The artwork contains such things as the person’s favorite things like food, pets, musical instruments, etc.  On this occasion the alter was filled with artwork honoring Donna Graham, who founded Trinity River Mission.

Trinity River Mission Ballet folklorico dancers

Trinity River Mission Ballet folklorico dancers

One highlight of the evening was the ballet folklorico performance by Trinity River Mission students. Not only were they adorable in their colorful costumes, they knew how to do a showstopping presentation to the delight of their parents and guests like Cindy and Gary Turner, Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke.

Still another memorable moment was TRM grad Carina Torres, who went on to graduate from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance. She told of the importance TRM had in her life.  A little later in the evening Carina, who is a founding member of Nicolay Dance Works in Huntsville, returned to perform a solo dance.

The evening was such a hit that they’ve already reserved 3015 at Trinity Groves on Thursday, November 3, for the 17th Annual Mission Ole.

Stars & Stripes Film Festival Patron Party

Tanya Foster and Lisa Cooley

Tanya Foster and Lisa Cooley

North of the Dallas North Tollway at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s spread, the sponsors of the Stars & Stripes Film Festival were filling the mansion to talk about the upcoming fundraiser for Sons of the Flag. While some guests chose to ride the Cooley Cart from the estate’s entrance to the residence, others decided to walk along the drive past the tennis court and pond and over the bridge to the front door. Shoot! It was such a gorgeous night, why not?

Pam and Vin Perella, Pam Busbee and Christie Carter

Pam and Vin Perella, Pam Busbee and Christie Carter

With SOTF Founder/President/CEO Ryan Parrott greeting folks like Pam and Vin Perella, Lynn and Allan McBee, Christie Carter and Pam Busbee at the door, Festival Co-Chairs Tanya and Pete Foster were talking with vets and going over details of the November 12-15 festivities at the Angelika plus the lunch on Friday, November 13, at the Dallas Country Club with Gen. Tommy Franks.

Midway through the evening, the Cooley staircase was put to use to tell about the upcoming film festival. From it Ryan told the history of Sons of the Flag and how it really started with his meeting Ret. Capt. Sam Brown, who suffered third-degree burns over 30% of his body.

Ryan and Director of Development Mary Meier even got David Sargent of Stripe-A-Zone to get up on the staircase and tell how important it was for his company to be the presenting sponsor of the festival.

 James Faust

James Faust

BTW, the opening night will not only feature “Zero Dark Thirty,” but Seal Team Member/native Texan Tyler Black will be on hand.

Also on hand was Dallas Film Society Artistic Director James Faust, who helped curate the collection of films. He was also looking forward to the DFS’s The Art of Film on Friday, November 20, at The Space on Oak Lawn with Isabella Rossellini.

First Sight Shoots Down The Stodgy Opera Image With Mulberry Pop-Up Shop, Flash Dancing Mob And Designer Fashions

The sun was shining and there was no need for furs unless the guests were really hungry to bring their fuzzies out of storage on Thursday, October 29.

Many were still in recovery mode from the night before’s Neiman Marcus/NorthPark kiss-kiss, hug-hug celebration. Speaking of which, NorthPark’s Nancy Nasher may have channeled the Energizer Bunny Rabbit or had a clone made. Since announcing the NorthPark50, she’s been everywhere and The Dallas Opera’s First Sight at the Winspear was on her list. It made perfect sense since NorthPark was being presented by NorthPark.

Mulberry pop-up shop display

Mulberry pop-up shop display

As part of the NorthPark50 program, Mulberry had been paired with The Dallas Opera. Mulberry’ Matthew Minick made the most of it with a marvelous pop-up shop in the lobby of the Winspear for the champagne reception. It was a dazzling array of Mulberry handbags, clutches and accessories like shawls. And that was just for the reception. There was still more to come.

Paul and Tiffany Divis, Diane Sealy and Carl Barbato

Paul and Tiffany Divis, Diane Sealy and Carl Barbato

But first the ladies and some charming gents like Randall Goss, Steve Stodghill, Paul Divis, First Sight/First Night Co-Chair Don Winspear and Mulberry U.S. President Carl Barbato gathered in the Prothro lobby for what they thought would be sipping the bubbly and some charming chatting with folks like Dallas First Lady/Luncheon Chair Micki Rawlings, Anne Stodghill, Kara Goss, Muffin Lemak, Kaki Hopkins, Lynn McBee, Diane Brierley, Diane Sealy, Mary Brinegar, Delilah Boyd, Christie Carter, Patti Cody, Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak, Simona Beal, Tiffany Divis, Roxanne Phillips, Marnie Wildenthal, Kristen Gibbins, Angela Nash, Holly Davis and First Sight/First Night Co-Chair Ellen Winspear with her future in-laws/former Dallas First Lady Laura Leppert and daughter Catherine Leppert. Former Dallas mayor/Laura’s husband Tom Leppert was outside on the phone.

Anne Stodghill, Rhonda Marcus and Randall and Kara Goss

Anne Stodghill, Rhonda Marcus and Randall and Kara Goss

At a point when most of the guests were present, organizers started giving each other the high sign. With that a coterie of pretty young things in pastel dresses carrying parasols paraded in past the crowd. The music sounded and the girls in pretty dresses turned out to a troop of ballerinas who could leap, kick and perform within the limited space. They turned out to be the students from the Hockaday Dance Departments.

Flash dancers

Hockaday Dancers

Flash dancers

Hockaday Dancers

Flash dancers

Hockaday Dancers

After their final bow, they lined up in two rows, so guests could stroll through to the luncheon tables in the west lobby with a catwalk that extended through the tables from one end of the room to the other. Adding a touch of dramatic flair was a blanket of hundreds of red rose petals at the stage’s elevated entrance.

Geoffrey Henning model and Rhonda Marcus

Geoffrey Henning model and Rhonda Marcus

Khanh Nguyen model and Khanh Nguyen

Khanh Nguyen model and Khanh Nguyen

 

Popken and Edo Popken model

Popken and Edo Popken model

Michael Faircloth model and Michael Faircloth

Michael Faircloth model and Michael Faircloth

Elizabeth Anyaa model with Catherine Leppert

Elizabeth Anyaa model with Catherine Leppert

Just as the crowd took their seats, the presentation of the five designer gowns representing the season’s five operas was underway. For the finale, the designers (Geoffrey Henning for “Great Scott,” Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khan for “Tosca,” Edo Popken for “Becoming Santa Claus,” Elizabeth Anyaa for Manon” and Michael Faircloth for “Show Boat”) escorted their models out for a final bow with Edo Popken waving the red-and-white hood from his Santa-like creation at the crowd. Unfortunately, two designers weren’t able to make it — Geoffrey and Elizabeth. In their place were Rhonda Marcus subbing for Geoffrey and Catherine Leppert for Elizabeth.

Following thank-you’s from the Winspears and Micki, The Dallas Opera General Director/CEO Keith Cerny announced that for the third year in a row, the opera was in the black. That announcement was greeted with applause for the accomplishment.

Following lunch, the Mulberry folks presented still another fashion presentation of their latest collection. Then the guests took a break because they would be returning the next evening for The Dallas Opera’s First Night and opening the season with “Great Scott.”

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: The Dallas Opera’s First Sight

The Dallas Opera’s First Sight luncheon and fashion show at the Winspear has quickly given other similar fundraisers a run(way) for their money. The October 29th event presented by NorthPark had Mulberry fashions on the catwalk, plus five especially created designs representing TDO’s 2015-2016 operas. The opera house lobby was filled to the gills with ladies and gents nattily attired. Why, even Mulberry U.S. President Carl Barbato was in the house.

Paul and Tiffany Divis, Diane Sealy and Carl Barbato

Paul and Tiffany Divis, Diane Sealy and Carl Barbato

And then there was this year’s surprise. Instead of an operative flash mob, it was Hockadaisies in pastel dresses with parasols prancing and dancing their little ballet slippers off.

Hockaday dancer

Hockaday dancer

Khanh Nguyen model and Khanh Nguyen

Khanh Nguyen model and Khanh Nguyen

While the post is being finalized, check the photos at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Round Robin October 22: March Of Dimes Signature Chef Auction And First Sight First Night Patron Party

Mother Nature had pushed the limit. While she boasted that she hadn’t drenched one fundraiser in 32 days, those-in-the-know just knew she couldn’t contain herself much longer.

On Thursday, October 22, she unloaded complete with her accessories thunder and lightning. The result was a back-up of cars waiting to getting to the preview festivities at Harlan Crow’s Old Parkland Part II.

Other fundraising comings and goings included:

March Of Dimes Signature Chef Auction

You could sniff the chefs at work a floor away. The scent of garlic wafted through the Omni for the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction. Inside the Dallas Ballroom were food stations bordering the room with chefs (Richard Blankenship of CBD Provisions, Nilton “Junior” Borges of Uchi, Donald Chalko of Texas Spice at the Omni Dallas Hotel, Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s Steak & Chop House/Fish Market Grill, Samir Dhurandhar of Nick & Sam’s Grill/Steakhouse and Coal Vines, Omar Flores of Casa Rubia, Gilbert Garza of Suze Restaurant, Dwight Harvey of Off the Bone Barbeque, David Holben of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Dan Landsberg of Dragonfly at Hotel Zaza, Matt McCallister of FT33/Filament, Kent Rathbun of Kent Rathbun Concepts, Jeramie Robison of Shinsei Restaurant, Stephen Rogers of Gemma, Abraham Salum of Komali /Salum, Jim Severson of Sevy’s Grill, Nathan Tate of Boulevardier / Rapscallion, Anthony Van Camp of SĒR Steak + Spirits and Chris Vogeli of III Forks) cooking up a storm.

Heath Oakes, Jenny Anchondo, Sandy Schwan and Amy Green

Heath Oakes, Jenny Anchondo, Sandy Schwan and Amy Green

While some of the 650+ guests like Jenny Anchondo with fiancé Heath Oakes, Amy Green, Sandy Schwan and Rhonda and Fraser Marcus checked out the new chefs, others made a beeline to their old-time favs.

A lineup that would put the introduction of a new Apple iPhone to shame was over at Komali, where owner/chef Abraham Salum was ladling out a soup of sweet corn, chowder, cilantro, crab and pasilla chile oil with totopos.

Bradley Anderson

Bradley Anderson

Over at the Boulevardier and Rapscallion eateries, co-partner Bradley Anderson admitted that his main job was maintaining the quality and attributed the restaurants’ success to the chefs as well as the support staff.

Mojan Safavi and Bardia Amirlak

Mojan Safavi and Bardia Amirlak

Seated on a banquet, Dr. Mojan Safavi and Dr. Bardia Amirlak had different opinions on the best of the food entries. Mojan reported that her fav dish of the evening was the Pancetta Wrapped Pig-A-Loaf from Hotel Zaza’s Dragonfly, while Bardia voted for the Green Chile Shrimp from Sevy’s.

Speaking of Sevy’s, while Chef Jim Severson had his hands full serving guests, wife Amy Severson reported that the twosome was headed to the coast to satisfy Jim’s love of fishing. BTW, Amy is working on a book on Dallas restaurant history with D Magazine’s Nancy Nichols.

Sevy's dishes

Sevy’s dishes

Kent Rathbun

Kent Rathbun

Signature Chef Chieftain Kent Rathbun, who once again curated the March of Dimes fundraiser, fessed up that he had indeed lost some weight. To be exact it was 85 pounds. And, yes, he still wanted to lose 50 more pounds. When asked his original weight before the reductions, he wasn’t fessing up. As a comeback, he was asked if being a chef was tough in trying to lose weight. He answered, “Heck, yes! But you’re surrounded by the best food.”

Getting back to the evening’s purpose, Kent reported, “We came in the door with more money than we ever had before, so it’s gonna be a great night!”

First Sight First Night Patron Party

Just across Flora from the Margot and William Winspear Opera House, the Dallas Opera’s First Sight First Night (FSFN) patron party was taking place in the brand-spanking new Halls Arts lobby.

The pouring rains tested the resolve of the 90 opera lovers. The valet line took a while. The reason was with only one umbrella available, the valets could only escort guests one at a time to an elevator that took them to the Plaza level. There, Dallas Opera Development Director Tracy Mott with umbrella in hand escorted them to the front door.

Craig Hall

Craig Hall

But once inside it was well worth the effort. There they discovered flutes of champagne and wine, fabulous surroundings and host Craig Hall doing double-duty, since wife Kathryn Hall was in New York City. He was busting with pride about his new building, saying that it was 74% occupied. However, the top floors are still available. Craig reported that the building will soon have a restaurant and eventually a nearby hotel.

Steve Stodghill, Ellen Winspear, Anne Stodghill and Tiffany and Paul Divis

Steve Stodghill, Ellen Winspear, Anne Stodghill and Tiffany and Paul Divis

Howard Hallam

Howard Hallam

Ellen Winspear, Gene and Roxanne Phillips

Ellen Winspear, Gene and Roxanne Phillips

When asked about the building’s red lights that night, he reported that it was in honor of the opera and that the evening’s event was the first one for the building that included Roxanne and Gene Phillips, Jolie and Bart Humphrey, Nick Even, Sara and David Martineau, John Cody, Rhonda Sargent Chambers and Diane and Hal Brierley on their way from the Old Parkland opening along with Lynn and Allan McBee.

FSFN Co-Chair Don Winspear, whose mother Margot Winspear had just passed away, told Paul Divis and Steve Stodghill, “Grief is the price that we pay for love.”

Speaking of Steve, he lost 40 pounds this summer and has fully recovered from his automobile accident that had a 12-foot-long steel pipe slide off a truck in from of him and impale his Mercedes SL500 convertible, barely missing him. Despite the destruction of his car, he’s more devoted to Mercedes than ever. He also noted that as part of his recovery, he learned that in rehab one of the challenges was remembering certain nouns.

Ellen and Don Winspear in front of Richard Long's artwork

Ellen and Don Winspear in front of Richard Long’s artwork

With artist Richard Long’s mammoth “big white wreath” made of mud as a backdrop (yes, it’s actually made of mud), Don kicked off the evening’s program thanking NorthPark Center for its support for the First Night sell-out. Craig told how the building had been in the works since 1995. Much to the delight of the guests, The Dallas Opera Executive Director/CEO Keith Cerny reported that for the third year in a row, the company was in the black.

Ailyn Perez

Ailyn Perez

To cap off the evening, “Great Scott”/”Tosca” soprano Ailyn Perez performed, leading off with “Summertime.”

JUST IN: Dallas Opera’s First Night Results In Photographic Casualty

Kristina Bowman (This is not a selfie)

Kristina Bowman (This is not a selfie)*

It seems The Dallas Opera‘s First Night resulted in a visit by paramedics.

Event photographer Kristina Bowman took a very nasty spill shooting the after-party. She ended up being transported to Baylor to have her knee checked out.

Just heard from Lady Kristina, who’s snoozing after pulling an all-nighter in Baylor’s ER.  Instead of calling to check on her, emails would be better.

Guess that cancels out any trick or treating for Kristina tonight.

* Photo courtesy of 
Kristina Bowman

The Dallas Opera’s First Night Video Proves Humor Is Alive And Well In The Aria Universe

Friday night The Dallas Opera‘s First Night had the black-tie patrons braving the weather wrath of Mother Nature at the pre-performance of the world premiere of “Great Scott.” But they still kept their sense of humor as a video was presented showing that opera folks have a sense of humor, with Mike Rawlings, Steve Stodghill and Mark Laroe putting a new light on operatic singing and Don Winspear donning braids.

Friday’s Predicted Rains Change Arrival Plans For Dallas Women’s Foundation Luncheon And Dallas Opera’s First Night

Mother Nature's tears

Mother Nature’s tears

The rains are coming and Friday is looking pretty darn soggy. At least that’s what the weather experts are saying. While some of Friday night’s high school football games are being rescheduled for tonight, the fundraisers are also arranging for the umbrella-friendly stuff.

The Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Lunch organizers decided the VIP valet would be vastly better at the Chantilly and Tower entrances instead of the Jade entrance. After all the Chantilly and Tower entrances are more accommodating to guests making their way from vehicle to door in the rain. And, yes, there will also be complimentary self-parking. But if you do that, don’t forget your umbrella and remember to puddle hop.

Dallas Women's Foundation 30th Annual Luncheon*

Dallas Women’s Foundation 30th Annual Luncheon*

Model and Elizabeth Anyaa

Model and Elizabeth Anyaa

The Dallas Opera’s First Night red carpet parade that usually goes from the Flora curb to the Winspear front door has been rethought. After all, you can’t have all those ultra-fabulous gowns being dragged through the mini-ponds. According to the Dallas Opera braintrust, First Night guests will discover the valets in the Winspear’s underground garage. Then they (the guests, not the valets) will take the elevators up to the ground level, where the red carpet will be held in the tent. The models wearing the creations by Geoffrey Henning (Great Scot), Khanh Nguyen (Tosca), Ed Popken (Becoming Santa Claus), Elizabeth Anyaa (Manon) and Michael Faircloth (Show Boat) will be on stages in the Winspear lobby for the reception.

Is there anything better than a rain backup plan? Yup, no need for a rain backup plan.

* Graphic provided by Dallas Women's Foundation

SOLD-OUT ALERT!: The Dallas Opera’s First Night

Keith and Jennifer Cerny (File photo)

Keith and Jennifer Cerny (File photo)

The Dallas Opera is on a roll. Its First Sight Luncheon sold out on October 16. Now, more “sold out” news is coming from the aria set.

First Sight First Night Event Co-Chair Don Winspear announced last night at the First Sight First Night patron party in Hall Arts that the First Night’s red-carpet, seated supper and after-party on Friday, October 29, is sold out, too. Needless to say, the news was greeted with cheers, smiles and applause.

First Night is being presented by Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management.

BTW, The Dallas Opera General Director/CEO Keith Cerny reported that wife Jennifer Cerny has picked out her gown for the big night. To top her gown from last year is gonna be tough, but Keith thinks she just might have done it.

 

A Passing: Margot Winspear

The AT&T Performing Arts District’s Aurora shone like the brightest birth of a star. It took place this past weekend just before one of its most generous benefactors went dark. Margot Winspear, who along with her late husband Bill Winspear, helped create the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, died at the age of 83.

Margot Winspear (File photo)

Margot Winspear (File photo)

Despite Bill’s death in 2007, Margot and her family continued to more than provide funding for The Dallas Opera. They were front and center to show their support.

Though her active involvement in The Dallas Opera was limited in recent years, her love and support of the Dallas Opera was carried on by her son Don Winspear, who along with his wife Ellen Winspear, is co-chairing this year’s First Sight First Night.

One of Margot’s last public appearances was at the 2012 Juanita and Henry S. Miller Founders Luncheon, where the past recipients were honored.

It is because of Margot’s and Bill’s commitment to The Dallas Opera that the operatic organization has been able to institute innovative programs that will allow the beauty of long ago masterpieces to thrive and new projects to be born.

Our condolences to Don, Ellen and the entire Winspear family and its countless friends.

SOLD-OUT ALERT!: The Dallas Opera’s First Sight Fashion Show And Luncheon

What a simply fabulous way to end the week and to look forward to a weekend of beautiful weather! Word just arrived that The Dallas Opera’s First Sight Luncheon and Fashion Show is a done deal. In other words, it’s sold out, but there’s probably a waiting list if you waited too long. The Thursday, October 29th daytime event is being chaired by Dallas First Lady Micki Rawlings and will feature clothes from Mulberry at NorthPark.

Mike and Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Mike and Micki Rawlings (File photo)

As for the First Night red carpet reception and dinner, there are a scant number of tickets left for the black-tie activities preceding the performance of “Great Scott” at the Winspear on Friday, October 30. The word “hustle” may not be strong enough if you’re planning on joining Co-Chairs Ellen and Don Winspear, Honorary Co-Chairs Micki and Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dinner Co-Chairs Anne and Steve Stodghill. So, lock down your tickets and go shopping for that new gown/tuxedo and appropriate trinkets.

JUST IN: The Linda And Mitch Hart Institute For Women Conductors At The Dallas Opera Announced

Women are ruling. Yesterday the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas’s Women of Distinction saluted local women. Today Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Celebrating Women Luncheon will raise funds and attention for a predominantly female disease — breast cancer.

Now The Dallas Opera has just broken news that it has received a generous gift to provide funding for a “much-anticipated international institute for women opera conductors,” thanks to opera-supporters Linda and Mitch Hart.

Linda and Mitch Hart (File photo)

Linda and Mitch Hart (File photo)

Named “The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera,” the program is the first of its kind “to support the career aspirations and advancement of women conductors in the field, while addressing the various problems resulting from deep-seated gender stereotypes at the top of the profession.”

Yes, even the conducting platform is a big step for women in the world of conducting. According to The Dallas Opera, “Although ‘Level One’ opera companies in North America (as defined by OPERA America) produce approximately a hundred different opera productions each year, women conductors will stand at the podium for only around 5% of the total number of productions during the 2015-2016 Season.”

The inaugural Institute will take place at the Winspear from Saturday, November 28 through Sunday, December 6. Six institute fellows, plus four additional American observers, chosen for the program have been “selected from more than a hundred qualified applicants originating in 27 countries around the globe.”

The first group of institute fellows will be: Jennifer Condon of Australia/Germany, Jessica Gethin of Australia, Natalie Murray Beale of the United Kingdom, Stephanie Rhodes of the U.S., Anna Skryleva of Russia/Germany and Lidiya Yankovskaya of the U.S.

The American observers will be: Arianne Abela, Luçik Aprahämian, Avlana Eisenberg and Co Boi Nguyen.

On Saturday, December 5, a concert that will be open to the public will take place at the Winspear allowing people “to experience these artists at work.”

The new program is the brainchild of DO General Director/CEO Keith Cerny, who “is keen to develop a national ‘center for excellence’ for women conductors, hosted by The Dallas Opera, as well as an ongoing support network consisting of peer-to-peer discussions, experienced mentoring, regular career consultations on specific media and management issues, and steps to encourage other music organizations to develop solutions that address the ongoing gender imbalance.”

According to Keith, “Linda and Mitch Hart have given generously, time and again, during the five years of my tenure. Their operational support underwrites the season opening night performance each year and their names will appear on the west wall of the Winspear Opera House lobby among an elite group of 21st century major endowment and special gifts.

“Yet it is readily apparent to me that this particular project is an especially meaningful one for Linda and Mitch. They understood immediately the importance of this initiative and its possible impact on future generations of opera goers, and we are so proud that they have elected to demonstrate their belief in this untested program in such a tangible way.”

Pat on the back for The Dallas Opera for once again expanding its influence within the world of opera and creating innovative programs. and thank you notes should be sent to Linda and Mitch.

Local And International Opera Types Buy Into The Beauty Of Mulberry For First Sight/first Night

Aishwarya Alsaud*

Aishwarya Alsaud*

The variety of the 2015 fall season prooved itself on Wednesday, September 2. Over at NorthPark’s Mulberry, it was the Dallas Opera’s First Sight/First Night crowd surrounded by all types of fabulous clothes and accessories and extremely fashionable locals and out-of-towners like Saudi Arabia Princess Aishwarya Alsaud, who found many things to her liking. What good fortune for the opera. Mulbery was donating 10% of evening sales to the DO.

According to Mulberry Director of Marketing and Communications Johanan Merino, who was in from New York, the princess and Agent 007 have something in common. Seems Daniel Craig will be wearing a nifty black scarf and deerskin gloves from Mulberry in his new movie.

One item that seemed so Bond-ish that was just hanging around was a black leather jacket designed by Georgia May Jagger (aka former Mesquite gal Jerry Hall’s and Mick Jagger’s daughter).

All these British touches fit in nicely with Mulberry’s season theme: British architecture that will included everything from hand-painted wallpaper patterns from British manor houses and hand-painted cap-sleeve dresses to degradé dresses.

Ellen and Don Winspear

Ellen and Don Winspear

But back to the evening of First Sight/First Night committee chatting. Mulberry Manager Matthew Minick was chatting with Catherine Leppert, who will be marrying into First Sight/First Night Co-Chairs Ellen and Don Winspear’s clan in Scotland come the spring, when Catherine weds Ryan Winspear. Ellen was like a retired racehorse about shopping for the wedding gown with Kathleen. She used to be a bridal consultant!

Don admitted that this trip was gonna be a couple of firsts for him. First, he’s never been to Scotland and, second, this venture will be the first since he’s been wheelchair-bound. For Ellen the wedding will be old stomping grounds for her.

Catherine Leppert and Matthew Minick

Catherine Leppert and Matthew Minick

Kara and Randall Goss

Kara and Randall Goss

But before all that happens, Ellen and Don are overseeing the Dallas Opera’s big fundraiser First Sight/First Night at the Winspear Opera House with a Mulberry fashion show/luncheon on Thursday, October 29, and First Night on the following evening for the opening of the opera’s 2015-2016 season.

Johanan Merino, Steve Stodghill and Micki and Michael Rawlings*

Johanan Merino, Steve Stodghill and Micki and Michael Rawlings*

The locals included First Sight/First Night Co-Chairs Micki and Mike Rawlings, Lynn and Allan McBee, Steve Suellentrop, Kara and Randall Goss (Kara looked extremely fashionable sporting above the knee red boots) and First Night Dinner Co-Chair Steve Stodghill, who looked well despite a very nasty run-in with a truck that “impaled Steve’s car with a 12-foot long steel beam” back on August 24. Dallas Opera Executive Director Keith Cerny fessed up that wife Jennifer Cerny hadn’t picked out her gown for the opening night. She’s got her work cut out for her after last year’s knock-out-of-the-park blue scene stealer.

* Photo courtesy of The Dallas Opera

MySweetCharity Opportunity: First Sight/First Night

According to First Sight/First Night Co-Chairs Ellen and Don Winspear,

Don and Ellen Winspear*

Don and Ellen Winspear*

“We are thrilled to be the chairs for The Dallas Opera’s season opening festivities. Opening night at the opera has traditionally been a very dramatic event, usually fashioned around all the pageantry of grand opera. This year, we have the chance to kick things back a little and create the opening around one of Texas’ great loves — football. It’s a unique, challenging and yet really wonderful opportunity. We know we’re going to have a lot of fun with this. Honorary Co-Chairs Mrs. Micki Rawlings and The Honorable Michael S. Rawlings are on board for the events which adds even more to the excitement! We hope you’ll join us!”

“Fall in Dallas is typically flush with high class events and posh occasions that accommodate virtually every artistic desire and inclination. However, none this year will compare to the season opening of The Dallas Opera: First Sight/First Night.

“The season kicks off with First Sight Fashion Show and Luncheon presented by NorthPark Center on Thursday, October 29, 11:00 a.m. in the beautiful C. Vincent Prothro Lobby of the Winspear Opera House. First Sight is one of Dallas’ finest fashion shows, this year showcasing the remarkable designs of Mulberry. Additionally, the luncheon will introduce The Dallas Opera 2015-2016 Season Collection with five exquisite creations, one for each opera, from internationally renowned designers based in Dallas. Individual tickets for First Sight are available for $250 and tables start at $10,000.

Keith and Jennifer Cerny (File photo)

Keith and Jennifer Cerny (File photo)

“First Night presented by Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management features a ‘celebrity’ red carpet entrance, a gourmet pre-performance dinner, a world premiere opera and rockin’ After Party. The excitement begins on Friday, October 30 at 5:30 p.m. First Night showcases the Linda and Mitch Hart Opening Night performance of Great Scott. This will be the latest accomplishment from one of America’s most sought after operatic composers, Jake Heggie. The plot line of this witty opera is guaranteed to touch the hearts of Texans given one of its key elements—football. The story revolves around the conflict that occurs when the opening night of title character Arden Scott’s world premiere of a long-lost, never performed opera falls on the same night as the local football team’s championship game. Opera and football—what a novel pairing! Individual tickets for First Night are available for $1,000 and tables start at $25,000. All Dinner tickets include an After-Party ticket. Opening night opera performance tickets are sold separately.

“Together First Sight and First Night create the premiere events of the social season in Dallas!

“For details on all of these fascinating events including sponsorship opportunities, and to purchase tickets, please call 214.443.1063 or visit www.dallasopera.org/firstnight.”

* Photo provided by The Dallas Opera

MySweet2015Goals: Emmanuel Villaume

According to The Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume,

Emmanuel Villaume*

Emmanuel Villaume*

“In these troubled times worldwide, it is hard not to intensely hope 2015 will be a year of peace and friendship between nations and cultures. We are convinced these things do not depend on us as individuals, but we can, nevertheless, humbly endeavor for change in our immediate environments and communities. This cannot happen without a little introspection, soul searching and, perhaps, a few modifications in the way we conduct our own lives.

“Personally, I hope to find greater balance and peace in my activities. Time to rest, read or reflect will allow me to replenish the energy required to share the extraordinary power of art with our wonderful North Texas community. If the art we create inspires a few people in return and, perhaps, contributes to the possibility of hopeful change that in itself will be my best reward.”

* Photo credit: Karen Almond