Yes, the rumors are true. Elvis is coming to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Well...sort of.
Dubbed the "Elvis of opera" by Elle magazine, baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky will make his Dallas Symphony debut as part of the Lincoln Distinguished Artist series this April. Hvorostovsky, renowned for his smooth, soulful voice and stage presence, will perform a program of "Russian and Italian arias, all of which are my favorites," he says.
Born in an industrial Siberian city in 1962 to an engineer father and physician mother, Hvorostovsky took an early interest in music, mostly at his father's direction. He began studying music at age 7 and first took up piano. During his teen years, however, his interest in music followed a slightly different path. Hvorostovsky, much to his father's chagrin, formed a rock band with several friends and was soon performing the music of Queen and Deep Purple. Luckily, he realized his voice was destined for more than head banging and his father enrolled him in a choral school.
His career skyrocketed in 1989 when he won the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, barely beating out another well-known vocalist, Bryn Terfel. Since then, he has been heavily pursued by record companies and busily performing around the world, including appearances with the Berlin State Opera, Nice Opéra, and Chicago Lyric Opera. He is currently booked years in advance.
The baritone's performances have been receiving rave reviews, with his voice described as lustrous, rich, and velvety. But his silvery locks, sultry dark eyes, muscular build, and Slavic bone structure are getting lots of ink as well. After a recent appearance with the Chicago Symphony, the reviewer from the Chicago Sun Times stated, "Hvorostovsky is quite simply everything a discriminating opera lover could ask for. Trim, with a cascade of snow-white hair, boyish smile, and languorous eyes, he is that operatic rarity, a truly sexy looking leading man." But more important, the reviewer added, his voice "has become an instrument of extraordinary color and seemingly limitless technical ease. Hvorostovsky's sound has a rich, velvety depth, but the voice is also flexible with a youthful bloom in the top register. Few baritones spin a lyrical line as seamlessly or to greater emotional effect."
Although this is the singer's Dallas debut, he has worked before with Music Director Andrew Litton and looks forward to his appearance with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He and Litton were guest artist and guest conductor, respectively, with the Minnesota Orchestra in the summer of 2001. "I am so happy and excited to have the chance to work with Andrew again," he says. "He is a world-class maestro." Hvorostovsky performed Rigoletto in Houston last year, "which was a marvelous time, especially as it was the first time I sang this role onstage in the U.S." And on his first trip to Dallas, the baritone says, "I look forward to being with the warmhearted people in Dallas, to eat some wonderful steaks, and experience, again, great Texan hospitality."
Dmitri Hvorostovsky performs with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, April 17, at 8:00 p.m. For ticket information, call 214-692-0203 or visit www.DallasSymphony.com.