Dallas Opera: 60 Years : Exhibition Highlights

Among the early highlights of the young company was the appearance of the famed Greek soprano Maria Callas, who opened the first season with an inaugural recital, and who would return the following year to perform starring roles in Verdi’s La traviata and Cherubini’s Medea. Callas’s appearances with the Dallas Civic Opera, at a time when there weren’t many regional opera companies in the U.S., put Dallas on the operatic map and established its reputation as a major U.S. opera center.

Placido Domingo made his American debut with the Dallas Civic Opera in 1961 performing the role of Arturo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor opposite Joan Sutherland in the title role.

Marilyn Horne performed the title role in Ambroise Thomas's Mignon in 1974. This was Ms. Horne's Dallas Civic Opera debut.

"Dame Joan Sutherland (Anna), internationally acknowledged as one of the finest singers of this century, has appeared at The Dallas Opera in concert as Lucia, Donna Anna, and Alcina (American stage debut, 1960). Beginning with her triumph as Lucia at Covent Garden in 1959, the Australian soprano has conquered the audiences of every major company in the world. Many of these companies, including La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera, have staged operas especially for Dame Joan. She has introduced many previously unknown works to the public--ranging from Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda to Massenet's Esclarmonde--and has documented her career extensively on recordings and television." Program notes from The Merry Widow (1989).

Tony Award-winner Paulo Szot made his Dallas debut in 2010 in the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni. At the time, D Magazine declared Mr. Szot to be "smoking hot" and a "barihunk."

On October 30, 2015, the Dallas Opera performed the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Great Scott, featuring American mezzo-soprano, Joyce DiDonato, in the title role of Arden Scott. The star-studded cast also included soprano Ailyn Pérez, mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, baritone Nathan Gunn, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, bass Kevin Burdette, tenor Rodell Rosel and baritone Michael Mayes.