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MULTICULTURALISM, THEN AND NOW
When the history of the 21st century is written, perhaps the most intriguing aspect of our times will be the unparalleled movement of people and populations from one part of the world to another. Never before have people from such vast distances and markedly different traditions been thrown together to conduct their daily lives—with inevitable tensions and unforeseen, often remarkable, rewards. Multiculturalism is destined to become an increasingly important factor in the arts, politics, educational systems, and religious life of every nation on earth. For this reason, and more, The Dallas Opera is proud to present one of the most significant panel discussions in recent seasons: “Multiculturalism: At the Heart of Moby-Dick and Madame Butterfly."
Two important operas: Madame Butterfly, Giacomo Puccini’s turn-of-the-century masterpiece built upon the then-insurmountable cultural divide between East and West, and Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick, based upon an epic American novel, seek to address the questions that arise from the intersection of unfamiliar or opposing worldviews.
The Dallas Opera seeks to do the same in this interactive panel discussion co-sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Ft. Worth. Join us for an in-depth look at “Multiculturalism: At the heart of Moby-Dick and Madame Butterfly,” featuring moderator Chris Shull (Opera Now, Opera, Star-Telegram) as he leads a lively conversation with Dallas Opera Artistic Director Jonathan Pell; Jim Falk, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Ft. Worth; Dr. Stephen Dubberly of the UNT Opera program and a special presentation on multicultural interactions in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
This is a rare opportunity to explore the intersection of art, music and drama across ethnic, religious and cultural lines.
Audience members are encouraged to bring their questions or comments and to engage panelists in a no-holds-barred dialogue about culture, ethnicity, tradition, communication and consensus. Those who attended our first Library conversation left comments like these on The Dallas Opera blog:
“Just wanted to thank you guys for putting together some really awesome events this summer. Enjoyed the wines and company at the Dali event. Thursday night’s panel discussion was really eye-opening. I’ll never think about Otello the same way. I’m looking forward to mingling at the next Cosi Fan Tuesday and checking out the films at the Living Room Movie series.”
From another blog responder:
“Despite a very hectic day and heavy rush hour traffic, I knew it was important to attend this panel discussion. My instinct proved correct.
Chris Shull did an excellent job of steering questions to the panelists to keep the topic firmly glued on the opera and the issue of domestic violence. His questions were insightful and allowed panelists to get to the marrow of the issues.
The opera was introduced and musically explained in accessible terms by the always interesting Dr. Stephen Dubberly. Insights into the time of Verdi’s life when he wrote the opera added additional understanding. Bridging the gap between Shakespeare’s original play and Verdi’s interpretation also added flavor and dimension.
But I was most awed by Jan Langbein, Executive Director of Genesis Women’s Shelter. Without a hint of pity towards those she serves, she profiled the personalities of abusers, victims and the cycle of violence. She gave concrete ways to help those in need of assistance. She was brilliant in her analysis of Otello and how it is the same today. She told of the strides made in criminal laws to protect victims and the decay of civil laws. She motivated the audience with a feeling of hope and a call to action.
This program could have easily been a downer. But it was not. It was mind expansive and thought provoking. If the purpose of art is to reflect society then this panel discussion and this opera does just that.
I applaud the wisdom and courage of those within the Dallas Opera that created this idea for this panel and its superb execution.”
This free presentation is scheduled for Thursday, July 16th at 6:30 pm in the Fourth Floor Gallery of the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library located at 1515 Young St., Dallas, 75201. Paid parking is available beneath the library. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-443-1044.