What a night with The Dallas Opera! My friend Caitlin and I had the most enchanting girls night watching the comedy. Whoever thinks they don’t like opera surely has never seen the hilarious Mozart show Cosí fan tutte. It’s so silly that the audience couldn’t stop giggling. More on that later but first, dinner!
The show started at 7:30 pm. My move is to park at the Winspear, then walk to dinner somewhere on Flora Street for dinner at 5 pm. (When people turn up their noses at early dinner, I always think, you must not be a patron of the arts!) That gives me plenty of time for several courses before leisurely strolling back to the Winspear for the show. On this particular evening, we ate at Ellie’s Restaurant in the HALL Arts Hotel right across the street. It’s beautifully appointed with sophisticated decor and twinkling lights and there’s a pianist playing live jazz. It’s a truly a lovely dining experience, not to mention the food is divine.
One huge plus to dining in the Arts District before a show: a pre fixe menu! Three decadent courses for $58, which is a damn good deal for Dallas. I got the caesar salad to start and wow, is it delicious! I suppose purists might balk at the addition of Kalamata olives and a parmesan cracker but I loved both. Ellie’s uses high quality whole anchovies in the salad and a Meyer lemon caesar dressing. I ate every bite!
Salad was accompanied by our Stardust Cosmos, Meyer Lemon vodka, Cointreau, white cranberry, lime and iridescence. Even the bread and butter was an event; our server whisked tiny silver dish covers with a flourish to reveal softened butter with rosemary for our rolls.
For the main course, I ordered the Scottish Salmon with Lobster Gnocchi. I was picturing gnocchi with lobster bits inside so imagine my surprise when my plate arrived with salmon, gnocchi, and giant hunks of lobster! The salmon was perfectly cooked and the whole thing was just executed perfectly.
Last but certainly not least: the chocolate flourless cake with pomegranate syrup and brandied cherries. This cake was so rich, it was most like a large truffle. The perfect end to a magical dinner!
We were having such a lovely time listening to the pianist, we didn’t realize how late it had gotten! Luckily our server kept an eye on the time and brought us our check with zero prompting. That’s the thing about the Arts District: they will always make sure you make curtain. We headed back over to the Winspear for the show.
Now I’ve seen Cosí fan tutte before but I’ve never seen it like this. The Mozart show originally premiered on my birthday (January 26) in 1790 and I’ve only ever seen it in its original style. This production from San Francisco Opera is set at a country club in the 1930’s and I absolutely loved it. The costumes were a feast for the eyes. My biggest take away from the show was, I need bigger hats! It was one darling ensemble after the next with some of the best actors I’ve ever seen in an opera. This cast just gets physical comedy and goes all in. The packed house was howling with laughter!
The set design alone is worth the ticket price. The Dallas Opera never disappoints when it comes to a spectacular set. I felt as if I were vacationing at Lake Garda in Italy in the 30’s. We even got a sunset at intermission! The show honestly looked like one giant Rose Table shoot now that I think about it and the ending scene with glowing lanterns was breathtaking.
I really can’t say enough good things about this production. The Dallas Opera’s Cosí fan tutte could turn even the biggest skeptic into an opera lover. Go see it this weekend!
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