The UNT Music Library currently hosts an exhibit of 60 years of historical memorabilia from the Dallas Opera, from the collection of retired Dallas Opera Chorus member Phillip Barbosa. Please join us for a Meet & Greet with Mr. Barbosa at 2:15 pm on Friday, December 1st.
Dallas native Phillip Barbosa performed with the Dallas Opera Chorus for thirty-six years, beginning in 1959 while he was still a teenager. This was two years after the founding of the company, then called the Dallas Civic Opera, in 1957 by Lawrence Kelly and Nicolà Rescigno. Among the early highlights of the young company was the appearance of the famed Greek soprano Maria Callas, who opened the first season with an inaugural recital, and who would return the following year to perform starring roles in Verdi’s La traviata and Cherubini’s Medea. Callas’s appearances with the Dallas Civic Opera, at a time when there weren’t many regional opera companies in the U.S., put Dallas on the operatic map and established its reputation as a major U.S. opera center.
Many international stars have made their American debuts with the Dallas Opera, among them Montserrat Caballé, Gwyneth Jones, Dame Joan Sutherland, Jon Vickers, and Plácido Domingo, in addition to director Franco Zeffirelli. Early in his tenure with the company Mr. Barbosa began collecting autographed programs, photographs, and other memorabilia of all of the stars who came to Dallas to perform with the opera. He has continued this endeavor to the present day, and his collection now numbers in the hundreds of items. Together they chronicle the history of the Dallas Opera in a very personal way, reflecting Mr. Barbosa’s own passion for opera as well as his desire to preserve the Dallas Opera’s illustrious history, a history of which he was an intimate part for more than three decades.
Located in the Sandborn Music Reading Room in Willis Library, Room 430A at the University of North Texas.