Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Cowboys Stadium ushers in opera guests for free on Saturday
The show is three hours long, with one intermission. Just like a football game.
Opera singer Aaron Blake stood with his back to the giant television screen at Cowboys Stadium, held his camera out in front of his face, and snapped a photo, grinning. In a few days, his face would be on that giant screen.
On Saturday, April 28, the Dallas Opera will host its first simulcast of an opera at Cowboys Stadium. Nearly 32,000 seats have been reserved, which is more than four times the amount of seats they originally intended to fill. The objective is for the Dallas Opera to “get opera off its pedestal” by showing it in a football stadium, complete with hot dogs and beer for those who want it. Better still, seats are free.
Blake and a few dozen opera performers will be on stage at the Winspear Opera House on Saturday, and it's that performance of The Magic Flute that will show in real time at Cowboys Stadium. They are potentially performing for 35,000 people or more, but Blake says they're treating it like a regular Saturday night show.
“I'm no more nervous than any other performance,” Blake said, who has been an artist-in-residence with the opera for two seasons. “It's just going to be on a bigger screen.”
And big it is: The television screen at Cowboys Stadium stretches from the 20 yard line to the 20 yard line, or 160 feet. The opera will use the stadium's sound system plus an added sound system for acoustics.
“Everyone knows the screen will be extraordinary,” said Keith Cerny, general director and CEO of the Dallas Opera. “We have to do a little work to make the sound extraordinary.”
It's worth noting that the show is three hours long, with one intermission. The Magic Flute is sung in German and will have English subtitles.
The performance on April 28 is the execution of a vision that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his wife Gene Jones have for the stadium. In addition to being a sports destination, Gene Jones said she also wanted to showcase museum-quality contemporary art and show off artistic talent “to a whole new audience” at the arena.
Much of the allure of the event is likely the opportunity to walk inside Cowboys Stadium without having a ticket to a Cowboys game. The Jones' daughter Charlotte Jones Anderson suggested that the event will attract people who can't afford to visit Cowboys Stadium or the Winspear – or those who enjoy the opera but don't want to take their kids to the theater.
The opera will accept ticket requests online until 10 a.m. Friday. Walkup customers on Saturday may also get a seat if there is room.
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