MIXED EMOTIONS: It was a big weekend for the Dallas Opera. It opened the 2010-11 season with Don Giovanni and produced its first simulcast in the new Annette Strauss Square. So how did it all come off? Depends on who you ask. Reviewing for theaterjones.com, Gregory Sullivan Isaacs calls it, “a dynamic, dramatic and distinctive production.” Meanwhile, Wayne Lee Gay, writing on Front Row, dubs the night, “an unfailingly engaging evening bound to keep any audience member’s eyes glued to the stage.” Our own Olin Chism says the one flaw was the star of the show. “Baritone Paulo Szot had a persistent slight vocal wobble on Friday night that became wearisome by the end of the evening.” And Scott Cantrell took issue with Nicolae Moldoveanu’s conducing. “The orchestra plays nicely enough for the most part, but in music demanding rhythmic precision Moldoveanu seems powerless to keep singers on point,” he writes on dallasnews.com. You can judge for yourself through Nov. 7.
BEST OF THE ‘BEST’: The big star of Casa Manana’s staging of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is Fort Worth favorite Ruta Lee. But from the sounds of the reviews, it’s the lower billed players that will remain in your memory. Writing for dfw.com, Mark Lowry says that Casa vet Ed Dixon as Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd, ”knocks it out of the park when he sings ‘Good Old Girl’ with that big, resonant voice. It’s the show’s finest moment.” Meanwhile, it’s Liz Mikel as Jewel who had theaterjones.com raving. “She gives Jewel the exact measure of sass and fun that keeps her from being just Miss Mona’s housekeeper,” Cathy O’Neal writes.
THE BIG SWITCH: Once upon a time, many of us dreamed of careers in the arts. Our garage band was going to play arenas one day. Surely that lead role in a high school production was going to lead to Broadway. Then, for whatever reason, those artsy dreams got put on the backburner. But that doesn’t mean that they can never come true. The Wall Street Journal speaks with a number of artists to returned to their passions after years working in other fields. They include a teacher turned painter and a lawyer who became a mystery writer.