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Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera

March 23, 2015

From The Dallas Opera

Monday, February 9, 2015

Contact: Suzanne Calvin 214.443.1014 Or Celeste Hart 214.443.1071

The Dallas Opera is Proud to Announce

A Unique New Residential Initiative:

The Institute for Women Conductors

At The Dallas Opera


Inaugural Program: Nov. 28 – Dec. 6, 2015


TDO Seeks to Create New Opportunities for Talented Young Women Conductors Making Their Mark in the Field of Opera

DALLAS, FEBRUARY 9, 2015 Working to address a long-standing career issue in the opera world, The Dallas Opera is delighted to announce the launch of a unique, new residential program designed to provide training and career support for distinctively talented women conductors. Female conductors age forty and younger, as well as accomplished women singers, opera coaches and accompanists, and instrumentalists with established careers seeking a new career at the podium, are encouraged to apply.

This new program, The Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera, will be inaugurated on November 28, 2015 and run through December 6, 2015, with generous support from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation.

Stated Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny: “The Dallas Opera has demonstrated, in multiple ways, its commitment to reshaping the opera field through the use of innovative public outreach, and by exploring new technologies, commissioning new works to expand the operatic repertoire, and programming with passion and imagination.

“This much-needed program,” Mr. Cerny adds, “will enable more women conductors to add their talents and insights to our collective understanding of this marvelous art form.”

The Women’s Conducting Institute will provide participants with opportunities to

Conduct The Dallas Opera Orchestra

Participate in master classes with Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume and Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement

Attend seminars and discussions on how women conductors can make a greater impact on their field

Network with peers and take part in a media “refresher” course

Six women will be selected for the inaugural class, and all program participants will conduct The Dallas Opera Orchestra in a public concert to be held on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District.

Those attending are also eligible to take part in an annual two-day networking event, beginning in the summer of 2016. There is also the potential for one or more participants to be invited to serve as Assistant Conductors on future Dallas Opera productions.


TDO’s Music Director, Emmanuel Villaume, enjoys a stellar international career, which includes regular appearances at The Dallas Opera, Covent Garden, the Mariinsky, and New York’s Metropolitan Opera, as well as his critically acclaimed work as Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Prague Philharmonia and with other major opera companies, symphony orchestras and prestigious concert venues throughout the world. Maestro Villaume notes: “I have advised many talented young conductors over the course of my career, both on and offstage, and I look forward to the chance to incorporate what I have gleaned from these experiences in support of this important new national program.

“No conductor ever stands at the podium alone. We raise our baton with those who came before us, and those who will follow in our footsteps.

“It takes a lifetime to become completely at home on the podium,” Villaume adds. “It was my privilege to be guided and taught by geniuses like Spiros Argiris and Seiji Ozawa, who, in turn, always quoted their own masters. In fact, they claimed that, only near the end of their performing careers, did they entirely understand some of the comments and advice they received from their mentors.

“We are always trying to perfect our work. I feel I am now at a place in my career, where I can begin to effectively share my experiences with the next generation of conductors.


The Dallas Opera’s Principal Guest Conductor, Nicole Paiement, the Artistic Director and Conductor for San Francisco’s renowned contemporary opera company, Opera Parallèle, was singled out for praise in a recent Musical America “Profile in Courage” which wrote: “Working in a profession that often leaves women scandalously underrepresented, Paiement has established stellar credentials.”

As the subject of a recent article in Opera News (“The Mountain Climber,” January 2015), Paiement was described as “one of opera’s most adventurous spirits.” The woman who also serves as Artistic Director of BluePrint, a contemporary music series at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she holds the Deléage Chair, has broken important new ground in Dallas, where she was invited to conduct critically acclaimed performances of Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse, Death and the Powers by Tod Machover, and the recent successful world premiere of Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer’s Everest.

About the new institute itself, Maestra Paiement commented, “In tandem with my work as a professional conductor, I have spent many years striving to develop and support exceptional young talent, both onstage and in the orchestra pit. I am tremendously pleased to be able to continue this aspect of my career in a leadership role here in Dallas, and to be responsible for guiding each carefully selected group through this newly developed Dallas Opera program.

“You can learn a great deal by watching other conductors in action: how they interact with the orchestra, how they exercise their authority, apply their insights to a particular score, and guide the artists to greater heights of musical expression.

The women taking part in this program will have the all-too-rare opportunity to observe another woman in this leadership role, “ Paiement added, “something that, regrettably, I never experienced in my early career as I sought role models from among my professional peers. I sincerely hope my work with the women in this institute can serve as a source of both valuable insights and inspiration.”


The application process opens today, February 9, 2015, with a deadline of April 15, 2015. Applications can be submitted at Early applications are encouraged.

Those chosen to participate will receive a travel stipend, in-town housing, and a per diem to cover basic living expenses. For more information on The Women’s Conducting Institute at The Dallas Opera, visit

Marc A. Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America, remarked: “The Dallas Opera continues to expand its influence and stature among American opera companies, as shown by this exciting new initiative.  The company is to be applauded for taking a significant step to remedy the existing gender imbalance on the podium.  This effort complements OPERA America’s support of the work of female opera composers and promises to enrich the art form by encouraging more gifted artists to express themselves through opera.”




For high-resolution, digital photographs suitable for print

Or to arrange an interview

Please contact Suzanne Calvin, Director of Media and Public Relations

214.443.1014 or



Ticket Information for the 2014-2015 Dallas Opera Spring Season

All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise described. Single Tickets range from $19 to $275 and Flex Subscriptions are on sale starting at $75. Family performance tickets are just $5. For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at


The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-Eighth International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 p.m. unless otherwise stated. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance and assistance is available for the hearing impaired. The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talk will begin one hour prior to curtain, at most performances excluding FIRST NIGHT of the season.


LA WALLY by Alfredo Catalani

January 30, February 1(m), 4 and 7, 2015

The Climactic Final Act!

First performed in Milan, Italy on January 20, 1892

Text by Luigi Illica after Wilhelmine von Hillern’s story, Die Geyer-Wally

Time: Around the year 1800

Place: The Austrian Alps

Conductor: Anthony Barrese

Stage Director: Candace Evans

Scenic Design: Robert Brill

Costume Design: David C. Woolard

Lighting Design: Christopher Akerlind

Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman

Chorus Master: Alexander Rom

Starring: Mary Elizabeth Williams (Wally), Rodrigo Garciarroyo* (Giuseppe Hagenbach) and Jennifer Chung (Walter) A Brand-New Dallas Opera Production!

Paired with EVEREST by Joby Talbot

January 30, February 1(m), 4 and 7, 2015

A Dallas Opera World Premiere!

Text by Gene Scheer

Time: Modern Day

Place: In the Death Zone on Mount Everest

Conductor: Nicole Paiement

Stage Director: Leonard Foglia

Scenic Design: Robert Brill

Costume Design: David C. Woolard

Video Design: Elaine J. McCarthy

Lighting Design: Christopher Akerlind

Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman

Chorus Master: Alexander Rom

Starring: Andrew Bidlack (Rob Hall), Sasha Cooke (Jan Arnold), Kevin Burdette* (Beck Weathers) and Craig Verm* (Doug Hansen).

LA BOHÈME by Giacomo Puccini

March 13, 15(m), 18, 21, 27 and 29(m), 2015

A passionate and timeless masterpiece in a beloved period production

An opera in four acts first performed in Turin, Italy on February 1, 1896

Text by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica after Henry Murger’s novel Scènes de la vie de bohème

Time: mid-19th century

Place: The Latin Quarter of Paris, France

Conductor: Riccardo Frizza*

Stage Director: Peter Kazaras

Scenic Design: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle

Costume Design: Peter J. Hall

Lighting Design: Thomas C. Hase

Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman

Chorus Master: Alexander Rom

Children’s Chorus Master: Melinda Cotton

Starring: Ana Maria Martinez (Mimi), Bryan Hymel (Rodolfo), Davinia Rodriguez* (Musetta), Jonathan

Beyer (Marcello), Alexander Vinogradov* (Colline), Stephen LaBrie (Schaunard) and Stefan Szkafarowsky (Benoit).

One of the Dallas Opera’s Most Popular Productions!

IOLANTA by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

April 10, 12(m), 15 and 18, 2015

A rarely performed Tchaikovsky gem, set in Medieval Provence!

First performed in St. Petersburg, Russia on December 18, 1892

Text by Modest Tchaikovsky based on the Danish play King Rene’s Daughter by Henrik Hertz

Time: The 15th century

Place: Provence, a mountainous region in Southern France

Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume

Stage Director: Christian Räth

Scenic Design: Christian Räth

Costume Design: Susan Cox

Video Design: Elaine J. McCarthy

Lighting Design: Thomas C. Hase

Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman

Chorus Master: Alexander Rom

Starring: Ekaterina Scherbachenko* (Iolanta), Sergei Skorokhodov* (Count Vaudémont), Joanna Mongiardo* (Brigitta), Lauren McNeese (Laura), Tamara Mumford* (Marta), Andrei Bondarenko** (Robert, Duke of Burgandy), Mikhail Kolelishvili (Renè, King of Provence), Andrew Bidlack (Alméric), Vladislav Sulimsky** (Ibn-Hakia) and Jordan Bisch (Bertrand).

Another New Dallas Opera Production

* Dallas Opera Debut

** American Debut

The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: Texas Instruments Foundation, TACA, City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera. Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera. Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News. A special thanks to the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for its continuing support.

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