Karin Hendrickson conductor
The Dallas Opera is proud to present the six distinguished professionals selected to participate in the third annual residency of the Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera in two public concerts:
· Saturday, November 11th at 7:30 p.m. and
· Saturday, November 18th at 7:30 p.m.
Both, in the magnificent Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.
These two extraordinary evenings will consist of stirring overtures, interludes, and heartbreaking arias that crisscross time periods and geographical boundaries, performed by a stellar ensemble of young opera artists and The Dallas Opera Orchestra.
Most importantly, it will be an exceedingly rare opportunity to see six accomplished women conductors at the podium, sharing their interpretations of these much-loved works by Mozart, John Adams, Verdi, Joby Talbot, Handel, Mark Adamo, Puccini, Massenet, Jennifer Higdon, Bellini, Donizetti, Carlisle Floyd and more. The conductors have come to Dallas from Australia, Brazil, Colombia, France, Poland, and the U.S.A. to take part in this year's Hart Institute.
Working to address a long-standing career issue in the opera world, The Dallas Opera in 2015 launched a unique, new residential program-one of only three in the world-designed to provide training and career support for distinctively talented women conductors. Female conductors, as well as accomplished women singers, opera coaches, accompanists, and instrumentalists with established careers seeking to develop new skills at the podium, were encouraged to apply.
A total of 161 women conductors and professional musicians answered the call in 2017 and applied by the April 30th deadline for the Institute, which will be reconvened from Nov. 5-19, 2017. This year's participants are:
· Alba Bomfim (Brazil)
· Mélisse Brunet (France)
· Lina Gonzalez-Granados (USA/Colombia)
· Karin Hendrickson (USA)
· Carolyn Watson (USA/Australia)
· Monika Wolinska (Poland)
Other nations that were represented in this year's applicant pool were from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, and Mexico; as well as New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
Applicants from these 33 countries included music directors, principal and assistant conductors, concertmasters and music staff from top-ranked symphonies, opera companies, and conservatories. Alba Bomfim described her selection as "an inspiring gift and a watershed in my career" while Mélisse Brunet revealed she "can't wait to learn a lot, to meet new mentors and colleagues, and to build new connections." Karin Hendrickson added, "I can't wait to begin collaborating with the exceptional staff, and meeting with other talented women conductors from around the world."
The institute had vital foundational support from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation. Naming support came through the generosity of Linda and Mitch Hart. Additional support comes from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Susan and Mark Geyer, Holly and Tom Mayer, Betty and Steve Suellentrop, and Martha and Max Wells.
Conductor Carolyn Watson writes: "The program is indeed groundbreaking - a unique opportunity and one which offers continuing support and mentorship over a number of years. I look forward to not only this year's Institute, but also my ongoing association with The Dallas Opera and the Hart Institute, as well as all the wonderful women colleagues I will be fortunate to work with over the course of my career."
The program may already be having a pronounced positive impact: Last August, Chicago Opera Theater announced that Hart Institute Fellow Lidiya Yankovskaya (Inaugural Class, 2015) will assume the role of company music director and Tianyi Lu (Class of 2016) is one of this year's Dudamel Fellows at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Jessica Gethin (2015) will be the Assistant Conductor to Dallas Opera Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement (The Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor) in next spring's U.S. premiere of Michel van der Aa's opera, Sunken Garden; Stephanie Rhodes (2015) was named Assistant Conductor to Washington National Opera Music Director Philippe Auguin for productions of Wagner's Ring Cycle and Madame Butterfly, while Jennifer Condon (2015) was named Assistant Conductor to Berlin Philharmonic and Bavarian State Opera Music Director Kirill Petrenko for Tannhäuser, which is also slated for a tour of Japan-she will return to Dallas in the spring to assist Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume (The Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director) in a new production of The Ring of Polykrates by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
While the Hart Institute began with a focus on supporting talented conductors, the challenges faced by women opera administrators are equally daunting. To address this imbalance, The Dallas Opera is adding a new component to this year's institute: Beginning in 2017, and for the next six years, TDO will invite between two and four American opera administrators to join the program each season. These women will be selected on the basis of their potential to become leaders of one of America's top opera companies later in their careers.
Keith Cerny, The Dallas Opera's Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO notes: "The Dallas Opera has demonstrated its commitment to reshaping the opera field through the use of innovative public outreach, by exploring new technologies, commissioning new works to expand the operatic repertoire, and programming with passion, courage and imagination."
"This already proven program," Mr. Cerny added, "will enable more women conductors and general directors to add their perspectives to our collective understanding of this art form, while encouraging industry-wide conversation about the necessity of women in a variety of leadership roles.
"Public support for the program and these individual conductors is an essential element of our success. The Winspear Opera House concerts on two consecutive Saturday evenings (Nov. 11th and 18th) give our patrons the rare opportunity to connect with them as artists and to reinforce the conductors' ties to the company, as well as the community."
2017 Hart Institute Fellow Lina Gonzalez-Granados concurs: "I'm honored to have been invited to be a part of this amazing group of talented individuals who are working tirelessly to push the boundaries of Opera. It is necessary for artists like us to contribute to a musical world in which all qualified women, regardless of background, are welcomed into visible positions of leadership."
Marc A. Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America, earlier remarked: "The Dallas Opera continues to expand its influence and stature among American opera companies, as shown by this exciting new initiative. The company is to be applauded for taking a significant step to remedy the existing gender imbalance on the podium. This effort complements OPERA America's support of the work of female opera composers and promises to enrich the art form by encouraging more gifted artists to express themselves through opera."