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Monday Morning Roundup


by Stephen Becker 1 Mar 2010

PRAISES NOT SUNG: Were you like me on Sunday morning, reading your Dallas Morning News and rubbing your eyes after seeing the Dallas Opera taken to task by Scott Cantrell? Cantrell’s beef is that the DO was far too conservative in its programming for the 2010-11 season. Since Scott’s forgotten more about opera than I’ll […]

CTA TBD

PRAISES NOT SUNG: Were you like me on Sunday morning, reading your Dallas Morning News and rubbing your eyes after seeing the Dallas Opera taken to task by Scott Cantrell? Cantrell’s beef is that the DO was far too conservative in its programming for the 2010-11 season. Since Scott’s forgotten more about opera than I’ll ever know, I’ll defer to him in his analysis of the next season. But give credit to him on two fronts: He had the guts to call foul when he saw one and he had the decency (and good journalistic instincts) to grab a comment from DO Artistic Director Jonathan Pell before critiquing his selections in print. Part of me feels weird about commending someone for following basic journalistic protocol, but, well, welcome to the age of the Internet and citizen journalism.

MUSIC BITS: (Catching up on a few worthwhile nuggets from last week edition) Preston Jones visits Fort Worth jazz legend Orenette Coleman and learns that his words can be as mentally taxing as his compositions. (dfw.com) … Hunter Hauk talks with Nervous Curtains founder Sean Kirkpatrick about the difference between being a solo artist and working with a band. For a taste of the Nervous Curtains sound, take a listen to this week’s Track by Track with Paul Slavens. (quickdfw.com) … Fort Worth Weekly puts together a handy list of both South by Southwest sanctioned and renegade shows by 817 acts going down in Austin during the festival. Consider this a clip and save if you’re headed down in a few weeks. (fwweekly.com)

FROM ART TO AX: If you enjoyed “From the Private Collections of Texas” at the Kimbell Art Museum, you can thank the museum’s deputy director, Malcolm Warner – it was his idea. Glasstire recently paid him a visit to discuss the exhibition and how it came together. Be sure to read to the end of the interview to find out about Warner’s interests outside of work, including softball and the electric guitar.

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  • nmlhats

    Scott Cantrell is absolutely right, and he made essentially the same critique about the Dallas Symphony’s new season when it was announced a few weeks ago. I applaud him for reminding arts organizations that if they want to remain vibrant, they cannot remain exclusively stuck in the (very distant) past. I have been to many more Houston Grand Opera performances than Dallas Opera performances–and it’s because HGO had a considerably more adventurous and interesting repertoire during the two decades that David Gockley was in charge. Sadly, he has now moved on to the San Francisco Opera, and HGO programming has suffered as a result. I once hoped that George Steele would be OUR David Gockley, but we all know how that turned out.

  • William Smith

    A world class opera house does not make a world class opera. Sadly DO has taken the guaranteed profit road in their new season and not the road to excellence, experimentation and discovery. I will forever be a fan of Houston Grand Opera. They continue (yes even more so after the departure of Gockley… just with more sound finances now) to be innovative and daring. They produce at least two new productions every year and continue to bring adventuresome programing. (Even if Britten is not for everyone… I am loving the Britten journey!) Where I understand that the old standards which are easily recognizable will fill a house… it does nothing for the further experience of the operagoer. It’s just the same old same old… people showing up with a checklist of standards they want to see and checking them off as they happen. Do yourself a favor and spend three weekends out of the year (two operas in a weekend) in Houston to get your world class opera and leave the Winspear for rentals.

  • nmlhats

    I am hoping that the boring new season is a result of DO’s not having an actual GD to provide any vision from the top down. (Will they EVER get a new GD!?)

    But with contracts for 2011-2012 (and even beyond) surely signed already, it will probably be several years before any demonstrable shift in philosophy.