Working to address a long-standing career issue in the opera world, The Dallas Opera is delighted to announce that applications are now being accepted for a unique residential program designed to provide training and career support for distinctively talented women conductors: The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera. Female conductors, as well as accomplished women singers, opera coaches and accompanists, and instrumentalists with established careers seeking a new career at the podium are encouraged to apply for the expanded institute, now in its second year. Although the emphasis is on women conductors on the cusp of major careers in opera, more seasoned applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Six women will be selected from among those applying, along with four additional American observers. Those attending are also eligible to take part in an annual summer networking event in Dallas. There is also the potential for one or more participants to be invited back to serve as Assistant Conductors on future Dallas Opera productions. Maestra Nicole Paiement’s residency for this institute is supported by the TACA Bowden & Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund.
The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors will reconvene on November 26, 2016 and run through December 11, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. This year’s institute will include two public concerts (details pending) in addition to intensive one-on-one’s, master classes, career advancement curriculum, and opportunities to conduct the highly regarded Dallas Opera Orchestra.The institute, conceived by Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny, was created a year ago with initial support from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation. Since that time, it has garnered additional generous support from Linda and Mitch Hart, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the TACA Bowden & Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund. Stated Mr. Cerny: “The Dallas Opera has demonstrated, in multiple ways, its commitment to reshaping the opera field through the use of innovative public outreach, and by exploring new technologies, commissioning new works to expand the operatic repertoire, and programming with passion and imagination.“This much-needed program, generously supported by benefactors here in Dallas and elsewhere,” Mr. Cerny adds, “will enable more women conductors to add their talents and insights to our collective understanding of this incredible art form.”
The tremendous success of the inaugural institute became apparent by the evening of the concluding public concert attended by music lovers, opera VIPs and media. Scott Cantrell, Classical Music Critic for The Dallas Morning News lavished praise on individual performances and wrote: “Some fine conducting talents were displayed; one hopes to see and hear more from them.” The Senior Classical Music Critic for Theater Jones, Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, agreed: “They all did a fine job and got most of the details correct. Every one of them delivered involving performances and was, for the most part, right with the singers and clear in their stick technique. Most importantly, the orchestra responded to one and all with good ensemble playing and responsiveness to each conductor’s desires.”
The 2016 Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors will provide a host of career-building opportunities:
- To rehearse and conduct The Dallas Opera Orchestra, a full-sized professional ensemble, with outstanding young opera artists
- Participate in master classes with Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement and renowned Italian Maestro Carlo Montanaro, as well as special guests
- Attend seminars and discussions, guided by a variety of experts, on how women conductors can make a greater impact on their field and advance their conducting careers
- Network with peers and take part in a media “refresher” course