Last year the Dallas Opera’s simulcast at Cowboys Stadium drew some 15,000 people. This year 14,000 turned out to watch a simulcast of Puccini’s Turandot on the stadium’s giant screen. That’s obviously great news for the opera, and not just because it helps generate exposure for the organization and seed for future ticket buyers. A big event like this raises the volume on an art form that is often considered elitist, obscure, or out-of-date and helps to foster a more broad-based familiarity in the community. The real benefits of continuing this program will be realized in future generations.
THE DALLAS OPERA’S 2nd SUCCESSFUL
COWBOYS STADIUM SIMULCAST
DRAWS MORE THAN
A Diverse Crowd of 14,000
Experiences Puccini’s Turandot Live
Last Saturday Evening – Free of Charge
With Lee Hoiby’s Julia Child One-Act Opera as an Appetizer
And the World’s Largest Cartoon Screening of the Hilarious
1957 Chuck Jones Masterpiece, “WHAT’S OPERA, DOC?”
PRESENTED BY THE DALLAS FOUNDATION
DALLAS, TX, APRIL 19, 2013 – The Dallas Opera, in partnership with Cowboys Stadium, conducted its second successful simulcast at the sports venue on Saturday, April 13th, attracting a crowd of approximately 14,000 from across North Texas and beyond. The simulcast of Giacomo Puccini’s final twentieth-century masterpiece, Turandot, presented by The Dallas Foundation live from the Shannon and Ted Skokos Stage of the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, earned rave reviews from both attending critics and an extraordinarily diverse crowd of patrons.
Punch Shaw of the Star-Telegram wrote, “The quality was excellent, conveying the grandeur of the opera production well in its wide shots and made good choices about when close-ups were needed….The sound, however, was far better than one might expect.”
Those who attended enjoyed a free unabridged performance on the world’s largest high-definition video board structure, consisting of four massive viewing screens (the largest, 72 feet tall and 160 feet wide) suspended directly above the playing field.
Prior to the live performance, the Dallas Opera presented the world’s largest cartoon screening (based on screen size): Warner Brothers Classics 1957 masterpiece, “What’s Opera, Doc?” starring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd and voted the #1 cartoon ever produced (in 1994, by a thousand working animators). Directed by animation legend Chuck Jones, the cartoon pokes fun at opera’s most persistent stereotypes, Wagnerian heft, and Elmer Fudd’s never-ending pursuit of that “wascally wabbit!”
The Dallas Opera also set the tone for a fun-filled evening with a recording of the Dallas Opera’s recent live presentation of composer Lee Hoiby’s Bon Appétit! starring acclaimed mezzo-soprano Susan Nicely as Julia Child, the chef-who-became-an-international culinary icon.
Based on segments of Julia Child’s popular cooking show, The French Chef (winner of the first Emmy Award given to an educational program), and incorporating Child’s actual dialogue as shaped by librettist Mark Shulgasser, who attended the stadium simulcast, this laugh-out-loud modern opera was originally performed in English at the Dallas Farmer’s Market Demonstration Kitchen.
Miss Nicely was accompanied by pianist Mary Dibbern, Music Director for Education and Family Programs at the Dallas Opera in performances supported by The Perot Foundation Education and Community Outreach Programs.
“In 2012, The Dallas Foundation helped the Dallas Opera bridge the distance between two very different cultures: the world of professional opera and the world of professional football,” explained Mary Jalonick, President of The Dallas Foundation. “The Dallas Foundation was proud to again be the presenting sponsor of the Dallas Opera’s 2013 simulcast of Turandot.”
“We were excited to partner with the Dallas Opera for a second Cowboys Stadium Simulcast,” said Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President of Brand Management Charlotte Anderson. “Our organization greatly admires and respects The Dallas Opera’s original thinking and stewardship in making ground-breaking events like these a reality because we truly value the importance of the arts in our community.”
“It’s been a personal goal of mine to bring tremendous artists and unforgettable entertainment to the widest possible audience here in North Texas,” commented Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny, “and nothing does that better than opera, as shown by the many thousands who attended last spring’s Cowboys Stadium Simulcast of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, as well as this year’s spectacular production of Turandot.
“The Dallas Opera is extremely honored that The Dallas Foundation chose to support this event for a second consecutive year and we are equally grateful for the generosity of the Jones Family, who encouraged this extraordinary collaboration with the Cowboys organization from the moment we made our dream known to them.
“I can hardly imagine a smoother, more compelling simulcast than the one we experienced together on Saturday night and it has fired my conviction that this is the kind of audience outreach that redefines the art form—in reality, as well as perception—for a new generation of audiences.”
Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of Theater Jones expounded: “Lise Lindstrom as Turandot sent out laser-like high Cs that rang the rafters. Antonello Palombi as Calaf reminded us why we liked him in Aida earlier in the season. Hei-Kyung Hong, as Liù, produced a shimmering sound that entranced a stadium and surely a hushed opera house as well. Christian Van Horn, as Timur, impressed all over again with his rich and resonant bass voice… It was wonderful to hear this Turandot performance sparkle and crackle with electricity.
“The audience in the stadium behaved as if they were in the opera house. No one got up and walked around during the performance and, to these eyes at least, few if any left until the curtain calls were finished. There was as big an ovation in the stadium as we heard in the opera house.”
However, the greatest reviews of all came from the families, friends, and young couples who attended the simulcast and experienced the excitement of opera – many, for the very first time. A selection of typical comments includes:
- · “I would just like to thank the people that made the Turandot Simulcast available at the Cowboys Stadium and to applaud the actor/singers. This was the first time for me and my children to be exposed to opera, and our only regret was not be at the real presentation and live the whole experience! We were impressed how “opera” could have so much impact, how we were drawn to experience the characters emotions. It is hard to believe how clearly music can communicate. Thank you for making art available to everybody” – Raúl Morales
- · “I attended the simulcast and was very impressed. Such a great venue for a family event. There were children all around and they were really paying attention. Thank you so much for doing this. I am unemployed and would never have been able to go to something so great at this time. I thank you so much.”
- · Wow! I loved every minute of my time at Cowboys Stadium simulcast last night. Do it again!
- · Fantastic simulcast production at Cowboys Stadium. Congratulations to the Dallas Opera and the performers. It was just splendid! – And thanks for making this a truly family friendly event! I would have never thought we could make it through Turandot with our 5 youngest kids (age 4-14). But at the Cowboys Stadium it worked great!
· I had never seen an opera before tonight. I was at the stadium enjoying Turandot on the big screen. I do wish I could have been at the Winspear to watch this live. It was absolutely beautiful. I was completely captivated from the beginning. The lighting, the set design (LOVED the massive dragon and the elements of the pearls everywhere), the elaborate costumes and makeup, not the mention the wonderful array of talent. Thank you for making my first operatic experience magical. Be blessed!
· Unofficial poll from the seats around me, Pang wins for best moves and facial expression.
· wow!!! what an experience Turandot at the Cowboys Stadium…backstage action and all!! kids love it!! thank u Dallas Foundation!!!! and Dallas Opera!!
· Brought my children for their first opera! They loved seeing the “pit” with all the instruments and have been glued to the show. Thank you!
· This is great! Date night with my hubby. This is our first opera. Thank you!
· I am enthralled in my first opera experience via the simulcast! Watching opera on the “big screen” as the sun sets around the stadium was a great start!
· Amazing experience at the simulcast!!! Thank you Gene and Jerry Jones!!!!
- · Great performance at Cowboy Stadium; get to see close-up details you miss in opera house.
- · Having a great time. First time seeing the opera.
- · STUNNING!!!!! COULD NOT BE HAPPIER w/ the performance thus far!!
- · It is fun to experience @thedallasopera #turandot @cowboysstadium with @kevinroberts07 …and for free!
- · enjoying Turandot at Cowboy Stadium. Thanks to the Dallas Opera and the Dallas Foundation
- · @TheDallasOpera @CowboysStadium simulcast of Puccini Turandot, fantastic Act1 #HeikYungHong has an amazing voice Wow!
- · Watching @thedallasopera Turandot Simulcast! This cast is fabulous
- · Thanks for the dramatic evening, @thedallsopera @dallasfound and @dallascowboys ! Spectacular!