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This Week In Texas Music History: Maria Callas Opens Dallas Opera

Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll have a date with a diva in Dallas.

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

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On Nov. 21, 1957, the Dallas Opera opened with a performance by renowned soprano Maria Callas. Local civic leaders had organized the opera company as a way of expanding the city’s musical offerings and attracting prominent artists. Callas’s performance drew large crowds and widespread critical acclaim, inspiring her to continue working with the Dallas Opera throughout its first year. Her rendition of Medea, which was recorded at the Dallas Opera, brought further recognition to the fledgling organization.

The Dallas Opera built on its early success to become one of the most well-respected opera companies in the country. It produced the American premieres of works by Handel and Monteverdi, and Placido Domingo made his American debut there. In 2009, the Dallas Opera moved to the state-of-the-art Winspear Opera House, where it continues to operate.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet the oven-baked Big Boy of Austin punk.