20 April 2013

The Haushofmeister’s Diary, Part 9

Soprano Mary Dunleavy as Mimì, tenor Sean Panikkar as Rodolfo,
in David Lefkowich’s staging of Puccini’s La Bohème,
opening the Fort Worth Opera Festival tonight.
Photo by Ellen Appel courtesy of Fort Worth Opera©

Yet again, my Fort Worth Opera adventure ties together the disparate strands of my past. This afternoon, Dallas’ Classical station, WRR-FM 101.1, will air “red carpet” coverage of opening night of the Fort Worth Opera Festival, live from Bass Hall in downtown Forth Worth, from 5:00 to 7:00 local time. And I’ll be your co-host.

As a former writer and producer for Dan Rather’s radio program at CBS News, I confess I’m a little nonplussed here. For most of my career, my goal has been not to be heard — to stay on the other side of the microphone. Now I’ll have to speak up, think of clever remarks, and remember not to say, “Umm,” too often. If you’ve ever had a conversation with me, you know what a challenge this will be.

At last I’ll find out what lies on the other side of the radio microphone.

Growing up in Dallas, I used to listen to WRR quite often, so there’s a particular satisfaction here. But mainly I’m excited to spread the word about the Festival. On Thursday night, I saw the final dress rehearsal for Puccini’s La Bohème, which opens the Festival tonight at Bass Hall; last night, I saw the final dress rehearsal for Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied, a contemporary piece that will have its regional premiere tomorrow at the McDavid Studio, part of the Bass Hall complex.

They’re both terrific productions, and while neither opera may speak precisely of the lives of the audience — one tells of death by tuberculosis, the other of the personal life of the longest-held prisoner of war in U.S. history — both operas have a lot to teach us. You may not ever experience either, but just the same, you may recognize the relationships in your own life.

Scheduled guests on the program will be Bohème’s stage director, David Lefkowich; soprano Ava Pine and tenor David Portillo, the leads in FWO’s production of Donizetti’s comedy The Daughter of the Regiment, which has its premiere next weekend; and Darren Keith Woods, general director of FWO, who’s returning to the stage as Hortensius, the valet, in Daughter of the Regiment. Our host is WRR’s Nancy Brunson, who helms the station’s popular Midday Music program.

If you’re not in the Dallas–Fort Worth area, you can listen to a livestream of the broadcast on the WRR website. This page has (scant) information about the program, as well as a “Listen Here” button. If you’re using a Portable Device, you may need to download an app — whatever that means.

But it’s well worth your figuring this out, because on May 4, WRR will broadcast the opening-night performance of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos — and you’ll want to hear my company debut. So get busy, and tell everyone you know. Thanks!

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