We recently had the luxury of being able to escape into the fantasy world of the Opera right in the city. We went to see The Magic Flute at the Dallas Opera located in the beautiful Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in the Dallas Arts District. We have been to Broadway shows (loved Hamilton that we saw in Chicago this Spring), made it a Mozart concert in Vienna at the Musikverein, been inside the Opera House in Paris but we have never actually been to a classical Opera show. It was a delightful evening of Mozart, Monsters and Magic at The Dallas Opera!
A Date Night at the Dallas Opera
I had previously been to the Elevator Project located in the AT&T Performing Arts Center to see a performance by a Dallas-based Indique Dance Company group but had never been inside the main Opera House and was pretty excited about our evening. Like always we ran into some traffic driving into Dallas but nothing too bad.
We started our ‘Date Night’ evening in the Arts District. With the Dallas Museum of Arts, Nasher Sculpture Center and Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Arts District is the place to be for culture lovers. When the weather is nice there are food trucks at Kylde Warren Park that I like to stop at but it was chilly and there were some nice restaurants in downtown Dallas that I have been wanting to try. Checking out the restaurants and art in the Arts District is always one of my favorite things to do in Dallas! We parked at the Winspear Opera House and crossed the street for some sake and sushi at Musumé, I loved that they had some vegan sushi! We then walked back across the street to The Dallas Opera.
Winspear Opera House
Named for patrons Margot and Bill Winspear, the Winspear Opera House is a modern interpretation of a traditional opera house. Designed by British architect Spencer De Grey, the design features a beautiful glass facade that wraps around the main building. The opera house has acoustics specifically tailored to Opera and Musical Theatre performances. The opera house is named for the late Margot and Bill Winspear, who were devoted supporters of the opera art form and The Dallas Opera.
The horseshoe-shaped opera house has about 2200 seats and features gold leaf covered balconies. At the center of the Opera House is a beautiful chandelier that tries to steals the show before the actual show starts. It retracts into the ceiling prior to the start of the performance accompanied by music and looks like stars in the night sky.
Mozart’s The Magic Flute
The opera show we saw was Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Production of the late Sir Peter Hall, master of theater and opera. From the music to the costumes to the visuals – it was stunning. The show was sung in German but with English supertitles, so you don’t have to worry about following the storyline. I had read up a little before the show which also helped.
Variety said this about the Magic Flute “A visually stunning, semi-Egyptian wonderland, populated by a mad menagerie of colorful beasts festooned in the zaniest of costumes.” My favorite part was when Prince Tamino first plays his magic flute and all animals both fictional and real start coming out from the woods, the giraffe and the alligator were adorable. The three ladies, attendants of the Queen of the Night were just spectacular!
Pre-Opera Talk and Supertitles make Opera more accessible
If you want to learn more about the opera you are seeing you can go early and join Pre-Opera Talks at the Dallas Opera. They are free with a ticket and are informative 30-minute lectures featuring opera experts from all over DFW. It is a guaranteed way to increase your knowledge and enjoyment of opera. Pre-Opera talks are held in the Margaret McDermott Performance Hall, one hour before each Opera performance, excluding opening night.
The Dallas Opera also had supertitles which are translations that are projected above the stage. So you don’t have to know German or Italian to appreciate and understand the show. It makes the Opera easy to follow along.
What to wear to the Opera?
If this was your first time, you are probably wondering what you should wear to the Opera? I was too and I looked it up. There’s really no wrong way to dress for the opera! While opera fashion can be as wild and crazy as a Paris or New York Fashion Week, but I noticed it was also a more casual affair. People were dressed well but not over the top.
You can decide what to wear to the opera based on which night or day the show falls on. Opening and weekend night performances are usually the dressiest nights. Patrons whip out their more formal dresses, floor-length gowns and big statement pieces, tuxes and bowties for those nights. Weekday and matinee performances are generally more casual. Opera-goers are more casually dressed in short dresses, casual business wear, nice jeans and a blouse and some minimal accessories. But it is always better to dress up than down, just down go overboard and go shopping for a gown. You will most likely find clothes in your closet that you can wear to an Opera.
We were at the Opera on a weeknight so I wore nice dark jeans, a teal top in silk and some Chanel earrings and a necklace and wedges. You can never go wrong with some Chanel! No cameras allowed inside either so I just brought a small clutch bag. All the photos here were just iPhone shots.
Opera houses can get cold, so come prepared with an extra layer you that can keep you warm. Choose an item that is as formal as the rest of your outfit. A black or gold shawl, a cape or a wool jacket always works. I saw a few people with faux fur stoles, it seems to adds a touch of class to the outfit. Leave the denim jackets, puffer coats, logo tees and ripped jeans behind.
Winspear Opera House is home to the Dallas Opera as well as the Texas Ballet Theatre and also has Broadway productions. I enjoyed dressing up and getting Outside Suburbia and hitting the town for the showing and having a lovely date night in Dallas. Check here to see what is playing and to get your tickets. I hope you get to plan your fun evening in the city soon.
Address of the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House
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