The Dallas Opera this week announced its newest initiative: OperaTruck, an 18-wheel flatbed “big rig” that has been customized as an outdoor mobile stage, which can accommodate musicians and singers with appropriate distancing in “pop-up” performances. The Opera Truck is designed to bring productions of family fare to Greater Dallas communities, TDO officials said.
OperaTruck was retro-fitted and donated by Quincy Roberts, a TDO Trustee and TDO Chorus member. Roberts is also is a trained opera singer, and CEO of Roberts Trucking, the largest Black-owned construction hauler in Dallas.
Ian Derrer, TDO’s Kern Wildenthal general director and CEO, thanked Roberts for this unique gift, saying, “We are so very grateful to Quincy Roberts for his generosity of time and effort to provide TDO with the OperaTruck, which is helping us create inroads with new local partners, such as local churches and social service organizations.
“These collaborations will bring live classical music in an unexpected way — on a truck! — to engage new audiences and families with the stories we tell through music,” Derrer said.
OperaTruck makes its debut with three new community partners: First United Methodist Church of Heath on May 8 at 2 p.m., Trinity Basin Preparatory School on May 15 at 2 p.m., and St. Matthew’s Cathedral on May 23 at 3 p.m.
OperaTruck performances feature TDO singers in the family-friendly one-act operas Jack and the Beanstalk and Doctor Miracle. All OperaTruck performances take place outdoors; audiences should bring their own seating.
“It’s a privilege to both support The Dallas Opera and participate with them in performance,” said Roberts, “which is why providing them with a creative way to expand their community engagement efforts made so much sense. After a year without live performances, I can’t wait to see the OperaTruck in action in our communities.”
The OperaTruck will also bring performers for private events at the North Texas Food Bank in Plano and Family Gateway in downtown Dallas.
OperaTruck is the brainchild of Kristian Roberts, TDO’s director of education. She explained, “The pandemic has been challenging for arts organizations as a whole, but it has also given The Dallas Opera opportunities to become even more bold and creative in our approach to our mission. We have seized this moment to better serve the community while upholding our commitment to a talented generation of Texas-based singer/actors now developing their craft.
“I’m extremely proud of the work my team has done, and I am excited to see it help change stereotypes, expectations — and lives,” she added. “I cannot thank Quincy enough for his generosity. OperaTruck allows us to present free family-friendly content in a big, big way. And that’s about as Texan as it gets.”
Additional free outdoor performances of Jack and the Beanstalk will take place, without the truck, at the Dallas Arboretum on April 24, at 11 a.m. and noon, in the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden and at Klyde Warren Park on May 1 at 1 p.m.
— Tammye Nash