DALLAS, JANUARY 17, 2012 – The Dallas Opera is delighted and extremely proud to announce the commissioning of a new, full-length opera by acclaimed American composer Jake Heggie (Moby-Dick) and the Tony Award-winning playwright/librettist Terrence McNally (Master Class) in their first joint project since the groundbreaking masterpiece, Dead Man Walking.

The new commission, with generous underwriting support from The Eugene McDermott Foundation and The Hoblitzelle Foundation, is slated to open the Dallas Opera’s 2015-2016 Season Friday, October 30, 2015 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District.

The new work, GREAT SCOTT, is based on an original story by Mr. McNally and will star legendary American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato.  The opera will be conducted by one of the fastest-rising young artists on the podium today: Maestro Evan Rogister.


“In the remarkable wake of Moby-Dick,” explains Jake Heggie, “I am over the moon to return to The Dallas Opera for my next grand opera. And a brave project it is: a big, new American opera based on an original libretto by one of our most honored and beloved playwrights, the great Terrence McNally. This is our first major collaboration since Dead Man Walking back in 2000, and we are ecstatic to work together again.

“GREAT SCOTT promises to challenge, inspire and delight us all, especially as it is being created for one of the most beloved and brilliant opera stars of our time, Joyce DiDonato. The musical and dramatic possibilities have my imagination bubbling over! And once again, I am deeply impressed by the vision, courage, leadership and commitment to bold, new work by the entire Dallas Opera family and community. The creation of a new opera takes the support, participation and enthusiasm of an entire community –and Dallas rallies like no other city I know,” adding, “It’s great to be back.”

Terrence McNally describes the new commission:

“What happens when a famous American singer who has been the subject of a 60 MINUTES profile goes back home to star in a production of a forgotten masterpiece of the bel canto repertory?  Arden Scott belongs to the world now but she is a hometown girl at heart.  She has never looked back until now.  ROSA DOLOROSA, FIGLIA DI POMPEI is her occasion to do so.

ROSA is a grand opera complete with two mad scenes, an erupting volcano, a children’s chorus and corps de ballet,” writes Mr. McNally.  “Every conceivable disaster awaits them.  Will mere human resources be equal to the opera’s inhuman demands?  The rehearsals and performance of ROSA will mirror the upheaval of Arden Scott’s own life.”

“We began talking with Jake about the next possible collaboration during the tremendously successful opening of Moby-Dick,” says Dallas Opera Artistic Director Jonathan Pell.  “It’s very exciting to know that we will be working with Jake again on a major, new project and, in the process, have an opportunity to work with one of America’s greatest playwrights.  Terrence McNally has written many of the most important and influential stage works of the past quarter-century and I can’t wait to see where he—and Jake—take us next.”

Joyce DiDonato, “probably the most in-demand lyric coloratura mezzo in the world” (Opera News), will sing the title role of opera singer Arden Scott.  Most recently, Miss DiDonato triumphed in the Metropolitan Opera world premiere of The Enchanted Island, prompting Anthony Tomassini of The New York Times to write, “She commanded the stage from her first showcase scene…singing with cool control, then bursting into fearless flights of passagework.”

This winter, she will sing the premiere of a new Jake Heggie work, Camille Claudel: Into the Fire, a dramatic scene with the Alexander String Quartet commissioned by San Francisco Performances; she will appear with the New York Philharmonic in performances of Berlioz’ Les nuits d’été in London, New York and Philadelphia; in concert performances of Ariodante throughout Europe with Il complesso barocco; and with the Kansas City Symphony performing a Rossini-Heggie program as part of the Helzberg Hall inaugural season.

Then, later this spring, Miss DiDonato will star in Houston Grand Opera’s new production of Maria Stuarda followed by La Cenerentola at the Bavarian State Opera.  To every program and premiere, Joyce DiDonato brings “the gleaming tone, pellucid projection and smiling warmth for which she is justly celebrated” (Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph).

“We look forward to hearing Joyce DiDonato in the exceptional acoustic of the Winspear Opera House,” says Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny, “and experiencing the magic she creates onstage in her performances.  Her extraordinary artistry and accessibility, combined with the unique talents of Jake and Terrence at the peak of their careers, hint at the possibility of something very special—perhaps even unforgettable—when the world premiere of GREAT SCOTT opens the season in 2015.

The stage director and design team for GREAT SCOTT, as well as additional members of the cast, will be announced at a later date.

Following the October 30, 2015 world premierethe Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance at the Dallas Opera—additional performances of GREAT SCOTT are scheduled to take place on the Shannon and Ted Skokos Stage in the Winspear Opera House on November 1 (m), 4, 7 & 15 (m), 2015.  As always, Dallas Opera season subscribers will have first access to seats for this exciting new production.