COMMANDOpera stopped by the offices of the Dallas Opera which are situated on the fifth floor of the Winspear complex in the heart of the city. COMMANDOpera began the visit with a private tour of the theatre itself guided by the Director of Communications, Miss Suzanne Calvin. If the theatre itself is breathtaking in its architectural interiors, it was the acoustics which were singularly astonishing. COMMANDOpera would easily advise the Winspear to rank as one of the top five globally from the houses personally attended by this venue where considerations of sound projection are concerned. This COMMANDOpera photographic essay into the very back of the Winspear theatre can only be seen as a rare exclusive. Miss Calvin made a point of taking the tour to every space, on every floor, culminating with an audience with General Director Keith Cerny.
The sensational telescoping chandelier of the Winspear theatre is breathtaking beyond words. Completely retracted during performances, the chandelier literally blooms into a virtual rotating kaleidoscope of colors extending 50 feet from the ceiling into the centre of the auditorium. COMMANDOpera was totally mesmerised by the brilliantly modern presentation of a central theme required in any great house.
While touring the auditorium proper, a rare shot of Miss Calvin who prefers to remain behind the scenes. COMMANDOpera was guided up to the nosebleed seats where the extraordinary acoustics were not diluted one decibel. Oddly the camera went out of focus for two shots taken to illustrate the sheer distance to the stage: somewhere around the time I mentioned the work ”Macbeth”. Returning to focus, when offered a sojourn on the catwalk high above the rafters where elements of the crew take in performances. The offer was declined after much superstitious hand wringing about “Macbeth”…. why tempt fate?
External shots which include an amusing sign, and Crew Mantle walking on the water of a rather huge fountain. There is an outdoor pavilion from where the Dallas Opera offers live performances at lunch and weekends for the picnic crowd. The pavilion is also from where live broadcasts taking place inside the theatre (or simulcasts from other theatres) can be viewed on a massive screen. As with everything else in Dallas, these photographs simply do not reflect the tremendous scope of the prevailing architecture.
COMMANDOpera next toured the ultra glamorous offices of the Dallas Opera, where a great deal of Dallas operatic history is archived. The views of the Dallas cityscape were quite spectacular, however the offices which the Dallas Opera have only recently begun to occupy, were the real story. Cool and efficient with a heavy dose of intimacy, made the space extremely conducive to the high level of professionalism one expects from those employed at a ranking theatre.
And finally it would not be possible to walk by the office of the legendary Artistic Director of the Dallas Opera Mr. Jonathan Pell, and not attempt to request shots of his inner sanctum. Granted. As one finished taking these shots, Mr. Pell himself appeared quite by surprise and agreed to an informal shot. An unspeakably thrilling moment for COMMANDOpera, given the Artistic Director had his hands quite full with other matters, including the Lucia di Lammermoor which opens on October 21 st.
COMMANDOpera on behalf of its global readership, would offer thanks the powers that be at the Dallas Opera for graciously permitting such complete and extraordinary access not given to any other news organisation which covers the art form of Opera.