|The Dallas Opera Guilds Final Note|
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The Dallas Opera Guild has concluded it's 50th Anniversary year with great flair. In October the Guild sponsored a trip to Toronto for opera performances in their new Four Seasons Opera House, lead by Sandra and Bill Sanderson. Thirty three Guild members enjoyed the city sights and wonderful performances in this beautiful new venue which heightened anticipation for the opening of our own new Winspear Opera House.
Later in October our season opened with a lovely Season Premier party at the Edgemere, with a Scottish piper greeting guests as they arrived, and a Scottish supper, honoring the opening production of MACBETH. Young artist in residence Ava Pine provided glimpses of the upcoming season with commentary by Jonathan Pell. Chairs Nancy Boehning and Sydney Phillips planned a wonderful kick-off evening.
Each of the Insights programs was well attended, and fascinating programs were presented by representatives of the casts, directors, and conductor for all the productions of the season, as always moderated by Jonathan Pell. WRR radio aired highlights of each of these programs on their "Inside the Dallas Opera" shows the following Sat. at noon.
A special event in February presented long time resident costume designer Peter Hall "in conversation" with Director of Production, John Gage. Peter has been with the company since its very earliest days, and had many wonderful stories of artists, productions, special needs for costumes designed especially for each artist, and many amusing mishaps that do occur along the way. Several of his wonderful costumes and designs were on display, and were modeled. He had the audience enthralled with every amusing anticdote!
Our 20th Annual Vocal Competition was held on April 19th. For this special event, honoring Jonathan Pell (who has guided us through the years) the Guild raised and dispersed $22,000. Amber Welborn (UNT) was first place winner with a prize of $8,000. Chair Don Jones gave special attention to every detail of this exciting and successful event. We had over 40 volunteers for this event.
The Boutique had a banner year as always. Sales of the beautiful merchandise on display at performances are the main source of revenue which the Guild raises for TDO. Thirty-eight team members of Boutique volunteers set up the merchandise, restock, and sell at each performance. This is a very dedicated and hard working group, which collectively contributed about 1400 volunteer hours. This year they worked with out outstanding chair, Pauline Uloth.
Many of our volunteers served in the Adopt an Artist program to greet the artists on their arrival at the airport and assist them during their stay in Dallas. This project is always very rewarding for those who participate. At least 50 volunteers participate in this program annually.
School Performances this season featured a special production of TOSCA, and 11,000 area students attended one of the three performances. Guild members assisted with each performance, directing schools to their assigned seating area, and serving as monitors during the performance. Around 90 volunteers assist with this program each year, under the able leadership of Carol Rawitscher and Consuelo Chavez.
Our celebration event of the year was our 50th Anniversary Gala, "900 Nights of Opera" honoring Past President and founder of the Vocal Competition, Connie Klemow. The event was truly a beautiful evening at the Westin Galleria hotel, with a silent auction, live auction, performance by this year's Vocal Competition winners, dinner and dancing. Special thanks goes to co-chairs Marlene Seidel and Sylvia Elton for a very successful and special evening. The proceeds from this event totaled $38,500 which was designated for our endowment fund for the Competition. Go to KarenAlmond.com to view and purchase pictures of this beautiful event.
A final farewell to the outgoing Board members and President Marilyn Halla was held at the Preview Center for the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts. Incoming Presidents Gloria and Bob Rege were welcomed, and the gavel was passed on as the Guild begins its fifth decade of service to The Dallas Opera.