Opera Lucia Meets Restaurant Lucia

by Steven Doyle

Attending the opening night of Lucia di Lammermoor was quite an experience. The Dallas Opera was gracious enough to show the live performance under the stars at no charge on a very large screen with pretty awesome fidelity. However if you were fortunate enough to have an actual seat for that evening you would have been rubbing elbows with gents in top hats and their sexy escorts donning incredible jewels and gowns.

For an opera night in Dallas the evening was a bit more snazzy than usual,  whispered several Winspear employees as they escorted us to our seats. Typical nights are more relaxed, and the TDO seems to be going through a concerted effort to cater to all walks of life interested in great music.  

As we sat comfortable in our seats awaiting the first act there was buzz around our aisle about dining choices for the evening. We heard several local restaurants mentioned including Stephan Pyles Samar, which is walking distance to the Winspear. There was talk about Commissary, Screen Door and Tei An; again all a stones throw away.

Then we heard someone boast about dining a bit further, and they generated a bit more interest with their seat-mates. A gallant gent wearing a tuxedo announced that he had scored one of the more coveted seats in Dallas dining – Lucia.

How perfectly marvelous that the couple paired their evening with such an appropriate restaurant. Although Lucia di Lammermoor was written in Italian and premiered in a Naples theater in 1835, the tragic opera is loosely based on Sir Walter Scott’s historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor set in 17th century Scotland. With a loss for authentic Scottish dining available in Dallas I can see wishing to choose the less thematic Oak Cliff Italian restaurant. Besides, chef David Uygur really rocks a plate.

With all this in mind a call was made to chef Uygur to see what dinner he might pair with the opera. Uygur was pleased to oblige our odd request and offered a few new dishes to keep in mind when wanting to do a dual Lucia night.

“I might suggest the line-caught cod with aioli, charred cippolini, arugula and nduja; I’m also pretty fond of our risotto with artichokes and chicken liver. We are also going to put a sanguinaccio with hazelnut semifreddo and candied orange on the menu in the next few days,” offered Uygur.

As for the opera, it is sauced with romance, deception and even murder. A delicious combination for our musical palates. As a sweet dessert Dallas was treated to the premier of many in the cast including the baritone from San Marino Republic making his American debut, Luca Grassi as Lord Enrico Ashton.

A particular bravo to the costume designer, the late Peter J. Hall, for his lavish take on the period which the opera is set.

Pairing an opera can be a true treat and will consider the idea for future ventures into the theater. Lucia di Lammermoor continues through November 6, 2011 at the Winspear Opera House.

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Filed under Arts, Bishop Arts District, Dallas Opera, Food Challenge, Oak Cliff, One Arts Plaza, Steven Doyle

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