The opera will always be operatic. This may seem a redundant, or obvious thing to write, but this can be the paramount struggle for a contemporary audience member. If you didn't grow up on staples like Madame Butterfly or Carmen -- and who really does anymore? -- it's unlikely you'll find yourself buying tickets to see anything that bills itself as an opera, especially anything that's not Puccini or Verdi.
This is not to say the opera lacks relevance. Certainly, writers are still penning librettos and composers are still creating music for the human voice. In fact, opera can still be seen at the forefront of musical progress. As recently as 2013, Phillip Glass has premiered new operas, and he's not the only one. Across the globe, opera is not dying, but like every art form, it's struggling to establish its place in the contemporary world. What are the sounds of an opera in the 21st century? What stories are best told this way? What are the interests, the societal fixations, the struggles, the fascinations that can be explored at the opera house? Here in Dallas, we are lucky to have a company interested in engaging the international dialogue on opera in the 21st century. With commissions, premieres and a brave amount of experimentation, The Dallas Opera is presenting some of the country's most exciting new work, alongside crowd-pleasing classics. And they've reached a new summit with Everest, an opera that is both intelligently crafted and easy to like.More »