Out soprano who’ll headline Dallas Opera’s 2011-12 season releases ‘It Gets Better’ video

Patricia Racette

Operatic soprano Patricia Racette released an “It Gets Better” video that she made with her partner, Beth Clayton. They filmed their piece at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

As Arnold Wayne Jones reported last week, Racette will star in the second production of the Dallas Opera’s 2011-12 season, a revival of the company’s 1997 production of Leoš Janáček’s Katya Kabanova, written in 1921. The show runs Oct. 28 and 30, and Nov. 2, 5 and 13.

She will also at the Winspear Opera House in a recital for patrons, the opera announced on Jan. 13:

An exclusive patron recital on November 9, 2011, “A Cabaret Evening with Patricia Racette,” featuring the luminous Ms. Racette performing selections from the Great American Songbook in the intimacy of the Winspear Opera House.

Racette has appeared in Dallas before when she starred as the heroine in the 2004 production of Jenůfa.

—  David Taffet

Dallas Opera announces 2011-12 season, with some gay

The Dallas Opera has announced its lineup for next season, and it offers some particular interest for the gay community.

The season kicks off at the Winspear on Oct. 21 with Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, followed the following week with the Janacek opera Katya Kabanova. The latter will star out soprano Patricia Racette, last seen in Dallas in Janacek’s Jenufa (pictured). Racette, the partner of fellow soprano Beth Clayton, will then perform at the exclusive patron recital on Nov. 9 as the featured cabaret entertainer.

The season continues in February with a staged concert of Tristan und Isolde, directed by out director Christian Rath, who last helmed Beethoven’s Fidelio here in 2002. The season concludes next April with La Traviata and Mozart’s Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Off with her head!

You’d think Anna Bolena, Dallas Opera’s final entry in Donizetti’s Tudor Trilogy, would be as juicy as the story that inspired it: Infidelity, treason, politics, religion, even a beheading! But the only head missing is the one that kept sense how to make the production work as a stage piece.

Denyce Graves’ opening aria, with her distinctive mezzo power, sets a high bar for musicality of the show, which Oren Gradus as Henry VIII, Stephen Costello as Lord Percy and Hasmit Papian as Anne meet.

But aside from a homoerotic stag fight between two shirtless brutes, it drags. The elephantine scenery — a giant set of accordian doors that teeter dangerously during scene changes — and some stodgy, presentational acting (especially the false performance by Elena Belfiore in the “trouser role” as Smeton), rob the opera of its drama. Even a doomed queen deserves more life than this generates. (On the other hand, there’s still time to catch Don Giovanni, which is very much worth a look.)

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 5, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Best bets • 10.29.10

Saturday 10.30

Masking your feelings is just fine
We’ve been trying to figure what this year’s number one costume will be. Lady Gaga has provided much inspiration throughout the year, so expect a few meat dresses in the crowd. The Chilean miners were a hot topic and easy to pull off. And lest we forget a good ole Texas Rangers costume. You’ll likely see all three and a whole heckuva lot more at this year’s Oak Lawn Halloween street party.

DEETS:
3900 block of Cedar Springs. 7 p.m. Free.

………………………….

Saturday 10.30

Rugby tourney will drag you to hell
The Dallas Diablos are making a mark on the rugby tournament scene this weekend. The team holds their second Hellfest event, but this year it’s big time. Word of mouth grew on this and the Diablos are expecting to host 160 players repping eight teams from around the country. And that’s all in one day.

DEETS: Lake Highlands Park, 9500 E. Lake Highlands Drive. 9 a.m. Free. DallasDiablos.org.

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Wednesday 11.03

Don’t lose your head, lady
We all know what happened to Anne Boleyn and it wasn’t pretty. But we bet getting there should be lush and gorgeous in the Dallas Opera’s production of Anna Bolena. Gaetano Donizetti details the queen’s last days who went from beloved wife to second best thanks to that mistress Jane Seymour. Bitch.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 7:30 p.m. Through Nov. 14. $25–$215. ATTPAC.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 29, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas

Best bets • 10.22.10

Friday 10.22

Speaking out on arts and AIDS
This month’s Queerly Speaking event brings in rapper, author, poet (and more) Tim’m West in this special Arts and AIDS edition. West uses hip-hop, spoken word and performance art in selections of “Ready Set Grow” where he takes on coming out, race and sexuality and his triumphs and travails in his battle with AIDS.

DEETS: South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh. 8 p.m. $5. RedDirt.biz.

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Saturday 10.23

These are the good kind of Con men
The Art Conspiracy people call what they do street-level philanthropy. We call it greatness. The annual event raises money for nonprofits with this year’s proceeds going to Today Marks the Beginning which educates children on non-violence through art. If that’s not enough, then the reasonably priced art and local live bands will make the night more worthwhile.

DEETS: Art Con Warehouse, 511 W. Commerce St. 7 p.m. $10. ArtConspiracy.org.

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Wednesday 10.27

Hump day with a major hottie
Mozart’s Don Giovanni still gets us verklempt thanks to hottie baritone Paulo Szot. He plays the legendary Don Juan in this Dallas Opera production following his Metropolitan Opera debut. And he’s a Tony award winner. He’s got major cred to go with those swoony bedroom eyes.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 7:30 p.m. Through Nov. 7. $25–$400. ATTPAC.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 15, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Hot Szot

Swoon-worthy gay baritone Paulo Szot injects tons of sex appeal in Dallas Opera’s pulpy ‘Don Giovanni’

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

DON’T YOU WISH YOUR BOYFRIEND WAS HOT LIKE HIM  |  As Mozart’s antihero sex maniac, Paulo Szot gets to woo many women onstage. But the baritone mostly just misses his dogs and partner of 10 years, who are back in Brazil. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)
DON’T YOU WISH YOUR BOYFRIEND WAS HOT LIKE HIM | As Mozart’s antihero sex maniac, Paulo Szot gets to woo many women onstage. But the baritone mostly just misses his dogs and partner of 10 years, who are back in Brazil. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

DON GIOVANNI
Winspear Opera House,
2403 Flora St. Oct. 22–Nov. 7.
Tickets from $25.
DallasOpera.org

…………………………..

If you ever wanted to know how important casting is to the success of a play or an opera, consider this: If Don Giovanni, the most notorious lover in history, isn’t swoon-worthy onstage, there’s no chance an audience will lose itself in fantasy.

That is not a problem when you have Paulo Szot in the role. Szot effortlessly smolders with swagger and charm. In leather pants and pencil moustache, his chest heaving from under an iridescent cape, he looks like a superhero from the 1940s.

That’s fine with John Pascoe, the director and designer of this production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni — he wants you to think of a pulp romance novel cover when you see it.

“He’s like George Brent or Errol Flynn,” says Jonathan Pell, artistic director of the Dallas Opera, marveling at Szot’s graceful charisma. You totally understand how Don Giovanni was able to woo so many women.

In person, Szot himself is as compelling as his character, but disarmingly humble. And he’s not a womanizer at all — he and his partner have been together 10 years, sharing their home on the edge of the Brazilian rainforest with their four Weimaraners.

“I built that house three years ago — it is my dream home,” Szot says, eyes twinkling. “But I get to stay there, like 10 days. I miss my dogs, but I talk to them on Skype. They listen to me.”

It would be difficult not to listen when Szot talks — or sings. One of the most gifted baritones of his generation, Szot rocketed to international fame when he took on the role of Emile de Becque, the reclusive plantation owner who falls for an American farmgirl, in Lincoln Center’s 2008 revival of South Pacific. Szot won a Tony and the hearts of everyone who heard him sing “Some Enchanted Evening” and, even more thrillingly, “This Nearly Was Mine.”

“The main song [for Emile] is ‘Some Enchanted Evening,’ but somehow ‘This Nearly Was Mine’ became the 11 o’clock number,” Szot acknowledges. “It was magical for me; I’m very glad so many people liked it.”

Szot — already an in-demand opera star — was originally scheduled for only a six-month run in the role due to opera commitments, but extended it to more than two years (with brief departures for opera gigs), appearing only recently in a TV simulcast on PBS’ Live from

Lincoln Center. His appearance with the Dallas Opera represents his first full opera performance since leaving Broadway, although in between he pursued another dream: Singing at the Carlyle Hotel in New York.

“That was very new for me,” Szot says. “I’ve always wanted to sing songs I would sing to my friends in my house. It was so intimate, and in such a famous place. I’m coming back in February.”

From opera to musical theater to cabaret, Szot wants to do it all — and so far, he seems to be succeeding. Though the skill sets are different, he sees the line between these musical art forms blurring.

“The biggest difference [between opera and Broadway] is the number of performances. In opera, you rely on your throat and can’t sing eight shows a week. But microphones allow some control — that’s a wonderful thing. And Emile only has like 14 minutes of singing, though he’s constantly onstage, and there’s the dialogue.”

Szot agreed to do South Pacific not only for the Broadway experience, but also to tackle one of the few leading-man parts for a baritone; tenors usually get to be the hero. But ultimately, Szot’s fine with the more villainous parts. He concedes that Don Giovanni doesn’t get the best numbers in the show, but there are other benefits.

“I think those characters, not the good guys, are more interesting,” he says. “They are more colorful — particularly the Mozart ones.”

This production has captured even his attention. He’s enchanted by the costumes and the direction, and says he’s bringing many of the skills he learned in two years of South Pacific to the role.

“I’ve always wanted to do different kinds of music — I didn’t grow up choosing between one another. The techniques differ from singing before 200 in a cabaret and 4,000 in The Metropolitan. But it’s all a dream come true for me.”

Trust us, Paulo — we’re livin’ the dream with you.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 15, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Dallas Opera is looking for some muscle hunks; naturally, they came to us

The P.R. department of the Dallas Opera reached out to me with a request from Stephen Lawless, the gay director of their upcoming production of Anna Bolena. Seems as if he wants two male deer to lock antlers and battle each other in the forest. But the zoo is not accommodating him. So here’s the request as pitched to me:

“two well-defined muscular men of impressive size to be two stags with antlers wrestling onstage shirtless and barefoot.”

I have to say, I’m intrigued. 

Naturally, as I will be reviewing the show, I had to decline. But I know our readers include dozens of men who fit the bill, and some must wanna get up on the Winspear and preen a little. Especially anyone who didn’t get into Equus earlier this year.

If you’re interested, e-mail Tai.Renfrow@dallasopera.org. And e-mail me, You know, just because.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Applause • That’s so gay

Queer connections infiltrate lots of the upcoming season of arts

Tony Award-winning gay baritone Paulo Szot
Tony Award-winning gay baritone Paulo Szot, above, is a coup for the Dallas Opera; Pink Martini, below, gets the Meyerson jumping as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s guest next week.

When you have a gay theater company (as Dallas does in Uptown Players) and another troupe dedicated to bringing Broadway musicals to town (as Dallas Summer Musicals does), you can be pretty confident in finding gay appeal in the lively arts.

But cast your gaze — and your gays — outside the usual focus, and there a lot more to discover across the arts in North Texas this season.

Chief among the highlights: The Dallas Opera’s coup in snagging dreamy gay baritone Paulo Szot, who won a much-deserved Tony for the revival of South Pacific, in the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Oct. 22). Director Stephen Lawless returns to helm Anna Bolena (Oct. 29). DallasOpera.org.

Of course, Uptown Players and DSM are getting into the action with their upcoming shows as well. UP’s final production of their 2010 season is the American premiere of Closer to Heaven, written to the songs of the Pet Shop Boys. The musical drama opens Oct. 1 at the Kalita Humphreys Theater. The group will announce its 2011 season on Tuesday. UptownPlayers.org. And DSM’s national tour of Shrek is the State Fair Musical this year, opening Sept. 28. DallasSummerMusicals.org.

Next week, Theatre Three produces the local premiere of Songs from an Unmade Bed, a song cycle about a gay man working his way through a relationship. In previews from Sept. 3 in the Theatre Too space. Also in Theatre Too: Bruce R. Coleman’s latest play, the puppet show Tales from Mount Olympus, and spring welcomes Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them by Christopher Durang. Next up on the main stage is Laramie Project creator Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations, followed in December by the local premiere of The Drowsy Chaperone. Theatre3Dallas.com.

Contemporary Theatre of Dallas continues its presentation of Ed Graczyk’s world premiere Texas-set comedy-drama with a gay twist, Blue Moon Dancing, which runs through Sept. 12. Its 2010–11 season kicks off in October, and includes plays directed by Rene Moreno (The Trip to Bountiful) and Michael Serrecchia (Cheaters), plus a play by gay playwright Alan Ball (Five Women Wearing the Same Dress). ContemporaryTheatreofDallas.com.

The Dallas Theater Center launches its new season next month with the company’s gay artistic director Kevin Moriarty’s adaptation of Henry IV (opens Sept. 11).  The season ends with the musicals Cabaret and The Wiz. DallasTheaterCenter.org.

WaterTower Theatre begins its season with its artistic director, Terry Martin, directing and starring in Our Town (previewing on Sept. 24), and closes the season with Howard Ashman’s camptastic Little Shop of Horrors in July. WaterTowerTheatre.org.

Pink Martini
Pink Martini

Bass Hall brings in Spring Awakening on Nov. 9–10, followed by Mamma Mia, A Chorus Line, Beauty and the Beast and 9 to 5 later in the season. BassHall.org. In Dallas, the Lexus Broadway Series includes Young Frankenstein (Jan. 4) and Billy Elliot (June 8), while TITAS starts with MOMIX (Sept. 10) and the return of Complexions Contemporary Ballet (May 11). ATTPAC.org. The Dallas Black Dance Theatre stages a dance by local legend Bruce Wood in the spring as well (see story Page S6).

It’s not just opera and theater that goes gay, either: The Dallas Symphony Orchestra welcomes queer-led bank Pink Martini on Sept. 3, and The Music of Michael Jackson starts Sept. 1. DallasSymphony.org.

Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 27, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas

Readers Voice Awards – Travel


RIGHT AT HOME: Owner Wayne Falcone polished a gem of Oak Lawn history by rescuing and reinventing the Daisy Polk House. – DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

BEST BED AND BREAKFAST


Daisy Polk Inn
2917 Reagan St., Dallas.
214-522-4692
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Daisy Suite and Reagan Suite: $150 a night.
Dickason Suite: $129 a night.
DaisyPolkInn.com

The Daisy Polk Inn is every bit the grand dame that its namesake was. Built in 1904 and fully restored by 2002, the home was first owned by, who else, Daisy Polk — an “up and coming” star (according to the Dallas Press) of the Dallas opera scene who also taught at Hockaday School for Girls and passed away in 1980.

She lived at the Reagan Street address for 60 years. The gorgeous arts and crafts home now belongs to local pharmacist Wayne Falcone, who purchased the property in 1996. He lovingly restored it to its natural and historically correct beauty with the help of Dallas antiques expert and interior designer Gerald Tomlin.

Once the home was granted historical status and licensure to become a bed and breakfast, Falcone decided to open its doors to the public.

Guests can rent any one of the three rooms or the whole place if they prefer. Unlike typical B&Bs. Falcone turns over the keys to his guests, and they have the place to themselves until morning, when breakfast is served. And breakfast at the Daisy Polk Inn is no simple affair. From the china to the home-baked goodies, it is a lavish meal that guests won’t soon forget.

— Jenny Block

 



BEST ROMANTIC GETAWAY
New Orleans, La.
Convention and Visitor’s Bureau:
NewOrleansCVB.com
Visitor’s bureau LGBT focus:
NewOrleansOnline GLBT

 

A little more than two years ago, most of America seemed to have written off New Orleans — it was destined to become a modern-day Atlantis, swallowed up by the sea and passed away into legend.

But the residents of the Crescent City would have none of that. They persevered, rehabilitating the city as quickly as possible and welcoming back tourists — especially gay tourists — with enthusiasm. (It helps that the French Quarter, the center of gay life, is above sea-level and was largely spared when the levees broke.)

Certainly bachelor revelers into great partying and easy hookups don’t have to find a reason to frequent the Big Easy other than Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence, but the city’s old antebellum charm makes it a romantic getaway for couples, too.

For exploring together, there’s the fabulous architecture, much of it spared from the hurricane: elaborate wrought iron, ethereal churches, sprawling plantations on the outskirts (including one, Houmas House, where “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte” was filmed).

Then there’s the food, an essential component whenever lovers get together. Creole and Cajun cuisine, from rich cream sauces to spices that can shoot steam from your ears, dominate, but the French influences extend all the way to the café au lait and beignets. And is there anything more romantic than a boat ride along the Mighty Mississip?

So yes, New Orleans is a great party town for solos, but we love to go there as pairs. After all, even couples know how to party.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

 


BEST AIRLINE
American Airlines
Corporate headquarters: 4333 Amon Carter Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas.
817-963-1234, 800-321-2121
Mon.-Sat. 24 hrs.
aa.com or American Airlines Rainbow

 


BEST NATIONAL ONLINE TRAVEL SITE
Travelocity
Corporate headquarters: 3150 Sabre Drive, Southlake, Texas.
888-872-8356
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Travelocity.com

BEST LOCAL ONLINE TRAVEL SITE
Best Gay Cruises
P.O. Box 59994, Dallas.
972-241-2000
Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
BestGayCruises.com


BEST BUDGET HOTEL CHAIN
La Quinta
Corporate headquarters: 909 Hidden Ridge, Suite 600, Irving, Texas.
800-642-4271
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
LQ.com


BEST LUXURY HOTEL CHAIN
Hilton Hotels
Eight hotels in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
800-774-1500
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Hilton.com


BEST DALLAS HOTEL
W Dallas-Victory
2440 Victory Park Lane, Dallas.
888-625-5144
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
WHotels.com/Dallas


BEST AIRPORT SHUTTLE SERVICE
SuperShuttle
SuperShuttle local office: 3010 N. Airfield Drive, Suite 100, DFW Airport, Texas.
With service to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas Love Field and Fort Worth Meacham International Airport.
800-258-3826
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
SuperShuttle.com

BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY
Rainbow Ranch
1662 Limestone County Road 800, Groesbeck, Texas.
888-875-7596
Sun.-Thu. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.,
Fri.-Sat. 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
RainbowRanch.net

BEST LOCAL TOURIST DESTINATION
Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
411 Elm St., Suite 120.
214-747-6660
Tue.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.,
Mon. noon-6 p.m.
JFK.org

BEST LOCAL TOURIST TRAP
West End Historical District
214-741-7180
DallasWestEnd.org

BEST VACATION SPOT TO GET LAID
Palm Springs, Calif.
Palm Springs tourism bureau:
Palm-Springs.org


BEST EXOTIC DESTINATION
Hawaii
Official tourism site: GoHawaii.com

‘GET ME OUT OF HERE!’ DESTINATION
Jamaica
Visitor Web site: ComeToJamaica.com

These articles appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 21, 2008

—  admin