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Dallas Opera’s 2023-24 season will include a world premiere and Strauss’ ‘Elektra’

Joby Talbot’s ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’ will get its delayed premiere.

Delayed two years by the coronavirus pandemic, Joby Talbot’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly will finally have its Dallas Opera premiere in November. The 2023-24 lineup also includes the company’s first presentation of Richard Strauss’ Elektra in 25 years.

Elektra and two audience favorites, Puccini’s Tosca and Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, will be presented in productions new to Dallas. Music director Emmanuel Villaume will conduct all but the Gounod, which will be paced by principal guest conduct Nicole Paiement. Final performances of all four operas will be livestreamed.

The story of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Nov. 3, 5, 8 and 11), about a man rendered mostly immobile and speechless by a stroke, would seem unlikely for an opera. But the libretto by Gene Scheer, who also provided texts for Talbot’s Everest and Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick, tells the story through the main character’s recollections and the reactions of other characters.

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The opera is based on a memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, an editor of the French fashion magazine Elle. Turned into a 2007 film directed by Julian Schnabel, it records Bauby’s determination to dictate his life story via a system of eyeblinks laboriously recorded by a secretary.

Baritone Lucas Meachem, last seen here in the 2022 Barber of Seville, will portray Bauby, in a cast also including Sasha Cooke, Richard Croft, Deanna Breiwick, Kevin Burdette, Andriana Chuchman and Andrew Bidlack. The production will reunite stage director Leonard Foglia and set and projection designer Elaine McCarthy, who previously collaborated on Moby-Dick and Everest.

Based on Sophocles’ tragedy, Elektra (Feb. 9, 11, 14 and 17) will feature Marjorie Owens in the title role, with Angela Meade as Chrysothemis, Denyce Graves as Klytämnestra, Alfred Walker as Orest and Clifton Forbis as Aegisth. The cast for Tosca (Oct. 13, 15, 18 and 21) will include Ewa Plonka (Tosca), Joseph Calleja (Cavaradossi) and Gihoon Kim (Scarpia).

Long Long and Golda Schultz will portray the star-crossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet (March 1, 3, 6 and 9, 2024), with Raymond Aceto as Friar Laurence, Eugene Villanueva as Mercutio, Andrew Turner as Tybalt, Donnie Ray Albert at Capulet, Claudia Chapa as Gertrude and Emily Sierra as Stephano.

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The season’s other offerings will include a People’s Choice Concert (Oct. 7), the Titus Family Recital by tenor Lawrence Brownlee (Jan. 21, 2024), the Hart Institute for Women Conductors Showcase Concert (Jan. 28) and the National Vocal Competition (March 8). Family Operas, for children 3 and older, will be The Billy Goats Gruff (Oct. 14 and March 10, 2024) and Pépito (Nov. 12 and March 2, 2024).


Subscription renewals are available now; new subscriptions go on sale April 19. Single tickets will be sold starting July 21. Information: 214-443-1000,