Dallas does what the Met can’t dream of doing

Dallas does what the Met can’t dream of doing


norman lebrecht

July 08, 2017

New season.





By Erich Wolfgang Korngold

February 9, 11(m), 14 and 17, 2018

Revered French violinist Augustin Dumay will be the featured soloist with The Dallas Opera Orchestra for Korngold’s sweeping Violin Concerto.  Dumay is considered “an absolute master” (Fanfare) and “a violinist of remarkable individuality” (The Daily Telegraph).  Paired with Korngold’s one-act domestic comedy, The Ring of Polykrates, in this once-in-a-lifetime musical event!  The stellar ensemble cast includes Paul Groves, Laura Wilde, and Craig Colclough in their Dallas Opera debuts.  Directed in this brand-new production by Peter Kazaras and conducted by Emmanuel Villaume.



By Michel van der Aa

March 9, 11(m), 14 and 17, 2018

Applauded by both critics and audiences as “a fantastical tale to set the ears and eyes popping” Sunken Garden, described by its creator as an “occult mystery film opera,” fuses film and live singers (including 3-D and other visual effects) to deliver what Steve Smith of The New York Times called “a bold, rewarding venture” in contemporary opera performance.  Directed by the composer, Michel van der Aa, and conducted by Nicole Paiement, The Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor, in its U.S. Premiere; Sunken Garden starsRoderick Williams, Katherine Manley, and Miah Persson in their TDO debuts.







You’ll never see these in New York.


  • Alexander says:

    by hook or by crook you are digging at Peter again 😉 … Dallas opera is good for sure, any way the Met is an American opera house No.1 ( also for sure )
    The Daily Telegraph is certainly the best music expert for connoisseurs ( excluding the BBC, of course) .
    P.S. I just always try to stand for those who are oppressed, I could guess this is because of my home upbringing in early age 😉

  • Michael Wilkinson says:

    Alas, The Sunken Garden is a bid of a dud – I was very bored at its London premiere, despite the best efforts of the wonderful Roderick Williams. Critics were hardly kinder than I was.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The problem with that work is that there is no interesting music, and that lack has to be covered-up by the visuals. But the heart of opera is the music, on which everything else depends. No visual invention with video projections or impressive IT elements can save an operatic work if there is no music of interest. (Renaming it or promoting it in other terms, music theatre, concept visual art with accompanying sound, etc. etc. only indicates it is not opera and thus inappropriate for the opera stage.)

  • John Borstlap says:

    Korngold’s ‘Ring’ is Strauss-light and well-made, and very impressive if you realize it was written by a 16 year old:


    K was a budding genius but alas, the changes of time, the disruptions of the last century, K’s sinking in the pit of Hollywood and personal problems, have prevented his maturing.

  • Joel stein says:

    You can see van der as “blank out” at the park ave armory in the fall-why would the MET want the Korngold program? The ny bashing on this site never ends.

  • John says:

    I’m really kind of bored by all the Met putdowns. So unnecessary. On the other hand, I’m just glad that some neglected music like this gets a hearing now and then, and even better that it’s done by some excellent performers.

  • Steinway Fanatic says:

    Why should the Met “dream” of such projects? I suppose Covent Garden is exempt from such comparisons? Neglected operas are best left to smaller houses that can do justice to them. The Met is in a different business, because it had 4000 seats to fill.

  • John Borstlap says:

    I think there is something else in the background. The Met is a symbol of pumped-up classical music production that costs hughe amounts of money, burdening programming, promotion, etc. and such top heavvy thing is exactly the type of blown-up extravaganza which undermines the viability of the art form – Norman’s ‘Who killed classical music’ explains how such mentality is utterly destructive. So, from his perspective it is not merely the Met but a mentality, and a destructive one. And I think this perspective is just true.

    Opera theatres should not be too big, not only in connection with the audience problem, but also acoustically: to be drawn-in into the work, one should not sit too far away. And a too big hall often forces both singers and orchestra to exaggerate the sound with all the unmusical consequences.

    • Cubs Fan says:

      The Met may have grown too big, relies too much on the star system, and surely isn’t that adventuresome in programming. And it costs a fortune. Won’t go into the over-the-top salaries of some employees. However, this old guy will be eternally grateful for the Met and its Saturday live broadcasts. Living in the American desert southwest, miles from a city of any size, it was the Met that introduced me to opera and the classical scene. By the time I left high school I was well acquainted with the works of Puccini, Verdi, Wagner, and more. In the USA, we don’t have government sponsored and run operas or symphonies, like the BBC. So Texaco (which sponsored the Met for years) also earned a place in my very grateful heart. Their hall at Lincoln Center is certainly large, but the times I’ve been there it was no hindrance to thoroughly enjoying myself. Opera houses in London, Vienna, and San Francisco are smaller, but no more intimate IMHO.

    • John says:

      Well, I guess John is saying the Met is an anachronism so let’s just close up shop and use the hall for TED talks and let all those much better smaller theaters stream their performances into movie theaters all across the country and over all the radio networks. We no longer need the Met. I guess that’s what I’m hearing. Not my view, certainly, but I guess there is a crowd in this forum that will keep rooting for it to fail.

    • Steinway Fanatic says:

      Lets not diminish the Public’s need for Grand Opera, spectacle, and tourist traps. The Met has a glorious history, and it exposes the general public to opera – so it serves an important purpose.

      • John Borstlap says:

        That is also true, and the ‘oldfashioned’ production style resisted Regietheater for many years which is also to the theatre’s credit. But is it the best way to present opera?

  • RW2013 says:

    We’ve had Polykrates in recent years in Heidelberg, Augsburg and Lüneburg combined with other operas by Weinberg, Krenek and, most sensibly, with Korngold’s Violanta.

    • Steinway Fanatic says:

      And those are the kinds of theaters where those operas belong – where they are best served and appreciated. Rest assured, the Met isn’t eating their hearts out with jealousy.

  • MacroV says:

    The MET also does a lot of things Dallas could only dream of.

  • Arto says:

    The Flemish Opera (Antwerp/Ghent) opens next saison with Korngolds ‘Das Wunder der Heliane” and invite Marina Abramovic in Péllias…

  • John Borstlap says:

    Interesting, this ‘digging-out’ of oldfashioned operas from oldfashioned times – early 20C – which seems to express a longing for something new without the ugly face of the modernist gorilla.