Two D-FW Performing Arts Organizations Celebrate Milestones in 2021

Opera music

In every corner of the region, North Texans are incredibly fortunate to enjoy an abundance of world-class arts institutions, many of which have been cultural mainstays for generations. This year, two beloved performing arts groups – the Dallas Black Dance Theater, who turns 45, and the Fort Worth Opera House, which turns 75 – commemorate their longevity with memorable anniversary seasons that offer nods to the past and the future.

The Fort Worth Opera House has a key change in store for its Diamond Anniversary. The oldest operating opera company in Texas returns to its roots by reimplementing year-round programming after 14 years of offering a festival format that included three or four operas performed over a two to three week period. -end. One recent feature that it retains, however, will be to continue to offer online performances that have become popular during the pandemic.

At the time of going to press, the Fort Worth Opera House‘s first indoor concert will take place on October 9, followed by a star-studded “75th Anniversary Fall Preview” concert at Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. – Whiskey Ranch on November 6. . The season ends in April at Bass Performance Hall with “La Traviata,” which was once part of the inaugural season of Fort Worth opera.

The Fort Worth Opera House is the oldest operating opera company in Texas.(Courtesy Fort Worth Opera House)

“I’m sure the production of ‘La Traviata’ in the Fort Worth Opera’s first season 75 years ago was traditional in every way,” says Joe Illick, Artistic Director of Fort Worth Opera. . “Our reimagined ‘Traviata’ will tell the same story, with the same music, but we see the relationships very differently now, and we can tell the story in a way that would not have made sense to people in 1947. “

Illick adds that Fort Worth Opera will also actively change people’s perceptions of the art form, with the goal of moving, delighting and inspiring its audiences.

“The most difficult thing about opera, besides the expense, is the word ‘opera’. When people actually see a performance, they’re engaged, and they’re especially engaged if the story relates to their experience, whether it’s general or specific, ”he says. “This encouraged us, among other things, to look for pieces in Spanish – and Spanish, in the case of ‘Zorro’ – which are good stories, good entertainment and good music. We also make sure to always deliver great vocals. “

Meanwhile, the Dallas Black Dance Theater will focus on advancing after a very successful but difficult 44th season that has moved to a fully virtual format. The challenge was a testament to the dedication of the dancers and staff to show off their talents, as well as the audience keen to keep DBDT alive.

“We’re ready to work hard and do whatever it takes to get the job done, whatever the circumstances,” says Zenetta S. Drew, executive director of the Dallas Black Dance Theater, who started out as a volunteer for the organization. 34 years ago. “When the pandemic struck, we did not close our representations. We pivoted and turned our 44th season into a fully virtual season, reimagining many of our stage performances on film across the Dallas landscape. “

During the summer of 2020, the theater also became the first professional dance company in the world to systematically present paid shows as a new business model after the live shows closed. Its 45th season, “Catalyst for Change,” will feature both live (at press time) and virtual performances and will also serve as The Big Dance’s annual fundraiser, benefiting the outreach and scholarship programs of Dallas Black Dance Theater Academy studies. The grand finale celebration, scheduled for June 4, 2022, will feature food, drink and live music at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, and will also feature a virtual option.

See the entire ARTing Around D-FW section.