More than a decade after Fort Worth established its own opera, Dallasites were longing for arias and ariosos in their own backyard. So a group that included real estate magnate Henry S. Miller Jr. worked to form an opera group in Dallas, and their efforts came to fruition in 1957. The Dallas Opera started big—legendary soprano Maria Callas was the featured performer in its inaugural show—and it hasn’t stopped showcasing world-class music since. The opera runs about five programs each year—three-hour performances usually sung in Italian. Although most performances are renditions of works from renowned composers such as Mozart and Puccini, the Dallas Opera has also produced a number of regional and world premieres. Recently, a new opera based on Moby-Dick was commissioned for the 2009-2010 season.
The Dallas Opera offers educational programs for kids and teachers, as well as a series of Opera Overtures, hour-long lectures that take place before every performance. After the 2008-2009 season, the Dallas Opera left the Music Hall at Fair Park, which had been its performance space for more than half of a century. The opera has since moved into the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, a new 2,200-seat opera venue in the AT&T Performing Arts Center.