A few minutes before the clock struck noon at the Winspear Opera House, the piano was tinkling in the background of the First Sight Luncheon. Waiters had just placed glasses of crystal clear water on the tables. Suddenly—a voice soared. It was one of the performers of the SMU Meadows Chorale group. At first, it seemed a scheduled part of the lunch. That’s when the entire Chorale burst onto the second floor balcony, holding colorful champagne flutes in their hands, singing one of the best known opera melodies of all time.
The singers, decked out in ties and button-downs, filled the room with the sublime “Libiamo ne’leiti calici” (“Let’s drink from the joyful cup”) from Verdi’s La traviata. At the conclusion, the patrons at the luncheon erupted in a finale of claps, and lunch happily continued on.
This was the scene at the Winspear, presented by the Meadows Chorale (conducted by Pamela Elrod Huffman).
The second main stage production from SMU Meadows Theatre was Top Girls. It debuted October 22 at the Margo Jones Theatre, and it ran through Sunday. The production was declared by arts writer Mark Ravenhill to be “the best play in the last 20 years.”
It opens with a dinner party in a London restaurant thrown by Marlene, the newly promoted managing director of the Top Girls employment agency. Her guests are famous women from history and myth, including Pope Joan, the Victorian traveler Isabella Bird, the 13th-century Japanese-courtesan-turned-Buddhist-nun Lady Nijo.
Photographer Kim Leeson went behind the scenes to capture the production.
Last fall, a handful of student composers set out to accomplish every musician’s dream: Create original music, record it in a top-notch studio and all the while be guided by experts. A group of six students and alumni were able to do just that with help from a three-time Grammy winner, a Meadows Prize winner and a highly respected, award-winning music composer and theorist.
It all started with a brilliant and ambitious idea by violist and 2013 Meadows Prize winner Nadia Sirota. She wanted students to write original music and produce an album performed by Meadows new music ensemble SYZYGY. With guidance from Sirota, Artist-in-Residence and Director of Chamber of Music Matt Albert and Meadows Associate Professor of Music Composition and Theory Xi Wang, who assisted in choosing the composers, the six students were tasked with creating original music. They were given the framework and spent the summer composing and editing. Then, in October 2013, the group went to January Sound Studios with SYZYGY and completed an album on master tapes.
During the process, each student and alum got to see how a professional album is made. Each track shows the love of the process and how the process rewards the listeners with tracks that range from brightly feverish to baroque and brooding.
In many ways, the album is the artistic result of trial by fire.
The Dallas Film Scoiety Summer Film Camp brings students together with professors from SMU’s Division of Film and Media arts, helping educate budding filmmakers, and stir up talent in the Dallas Fort-Worth area. The DFS’ sessions concentrate the production aspects of filmmaking, including screenwriting and acting. Here are scenes from the latest camp:
SMU Meadows Division of Film and Media Arts is devoted to training and mentoring students to become artists in film and media. Alumni enjoy careers as directors, screenwriters, producers, cinematographers, media executives and artistic directors, with work ranging from documentaries and shorts and feature-length films to television series and online digital videos. Alumni projects have included work on Lincoln, August Rush, Jurassic Park, Supernatural, King of the Hill, Wishbone, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and other well-known productions.
Principal photography occurred in May/June 2014 (production photos available here), and the project is currently in post-production for an expected Summer 2015 release. Anyone interested in helping with post-production can contact the producers at SMUSummerFilm@gmail.com.
(Feature, psychological thriller)
original story: Esther Tshibangu (SMU Film B.A. 2013)
additional writing: Cydney Cox (SMU Film, B.A. 2014) and Daniel Tomlinson (SMU Film B.A. 2014)
director: Rachel Wilson (SMU Film, B.A. 2014)
producers: Geenah Krisht (SMU Film, B.A. expected 2015) and Cydney Cox (SMU Film, B.A. 2014)
Tagline: “Blood spilt by the family stays in the family.”
Students in the Division of Dance create their own original choreography for this twice-a-year concert. Often Featured: 10-15 innovative works ranging from modern to ballet to hip-hop to jazz. Student Adrian Aguirre (B.F.A. Dance and B.A. Film & Media Arts, ’16) captured this behind the scenes look at the 2013 Brown Bag Series.
SMU’s Division of Art hosts an ongoing series of lectures and panels by an exciting group of artists, critics and curators. This series of discursive events is not only a crucial part of the graduate and undergraduate curriculum, it also provides a space for the Dallas community to engage with art and ideas.
Watch the latest from the lecture series right here: