by Scott Simon
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You don’t often hear “football” and “bel canto” in the same sentence. How about the same opera?

The new production Great Scott, which premiered Friday at the Dallas Opera, pulls that off with a meta-story of sorts: It’s an opera about a struggling opera company, whose future just happens to hinge on the outcome of the Super Bowl. If that sounds complicated, fear not — the show’s star, Joyce DiDonato, says there’s a simpler idea at its heart.

“I think the best way to describe it is that it’s a generous, melodic love letter to the world of opera and art, and it’s mashing together a lot of different worlds,” she says. “We have the world of a local football team, The Grizzlies, that’s going to the Super Bowl for the first time. And we have this American diva coming home for the first time in a long time.”

DiDonato, a real-life opera star, plays that diva herself. She joined NPR’s Scott Simon to talk about working with composer Jake Heggie and playwright Terrence McNally, and how the show marries the classic and the modern. Hear their conversation at the audio link, and read an edited version below.

Read and listen to the entire feature here.