Sabatina Mauro – Sept. 30, 2023

The Puccini Society of Dallas presents

“Suits, Sisters and Sidekicks, an Operatic Afternoon”

Sabatina Mauro – Mezzo Soprano

in loving memory of Robert Maris

September 30, 2023 at 3:00 PM

Members $30 / Guests $40
(Valet parking provided)
Kindly RSVP by September 25th
[email protected]

Mail checks to:
Puccini Society of Dallas
P. O. Box 1782
Colleyville, TX. 76034-1782

Credit card payments: Contact Jana @ (817) 999-5509

The Puccini Society’s first program of the fall season is planned for Sept. 30.  Sabatina Mauro will present our program.  She is a young artist with the Dallas Opera and is a very fine mezzo.  I know you’ll enjoy her program.  

Please mark you calendar for our first event on September 30.
Please R.S.V.P by September 25.

Marilyn Halla,
Puccini Society of Dallas

Bethany Jelinek – May 27, 2023

The Puccini Society of Dallas presents “From the Heart” with

  Bethany Jelinek, soprano

winner of the Jonathan Pell People’s Choice Award at the
2023 Dallas Opera Guild Biennial Lone Star Vocal Competition

accompanied by 
Victor Diaz Hurtado, pianist

 Saturday, May 27, 2023
3:00 pm

to [email protected]

Puccini Society of Dallas
P.O. Box 1782
Colleyville, TX  76034-178

Puccini Friends: After what seems like a long intermission, we were finally able to finish our season.

Our final Puccini program for this season was on May 27.  Bethany Jelinek, winner of the People’s Choice Award  at our recent  Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition presented our program. It was stunning!

Thanks to so many who were able to be present for our final program of the year.  We ended the season on a high note indeed!  Bethany Jelinek presented a wonderful program of arias and songs by Handel, Wagner, Strauss, and Massenet, which were beautifully performed with the collaboration of Victor Hurtado, pianist. Bravi Tutti!

Robert Maris graciously hosted us in his lovely home.  The program and reception were inside and many guests enjoyed his lovely outdoor patio following the program.  Thank you Robert for your gracious hospitality.

Our usual fine team coordinated the event:  Jana took care of invitations, reservations, and check-in.  Mac coordinated and provided a delightful spring reception with the help of Patsy.  Bob as always took care of providing and serving beverages.  I feel sure everyone appreciates their ongoing efforts to make sure each of our events is an enjoyable experience for members. Ed has some nice pictures which will be available our web site soon.  It is always nice to look back on the history of our programs.

I look forward to next season when we plan to present several winners from the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition as well as other exciting young artists.  Until then, I hope your summer is pleasant and filled with beautiful music and nice experiences.

Marilyn Halla
Puccini Society of Dallas

Photo Gallery

Puccini News – May 2023

Bethany Jelinek

Puccini Friends;  

After what seems like a long intermission, we’re ready to finish the season with two nice events.  

Our final Puccini program for this season will be on May 27.  Bethany Jelinek, winner of the People’s Choice Award  at our recent  Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition will present our program. 

Our invitation and details will be coming soon.

The Lafayette Musicians

Matthieu Peyregne du Mortier, who presented an early French music program for us last season has created a new organization called Lafayette Musicians.  Their first concert is on May 21 at 4:00 p.m.  See the information which follows.

Under the direction of Matthieu  Peyregne du Motier,  a French conductor specializing in baroque music, the Lafayette Musicians, a new professional orchestra and choir plans to perform 4 great Sacred classical music concerts every year.

Their inaugural concert will be held on Sunday, May 21st at Christ the King Catholic Church in Dallas, Texas at 4pm.

The concert will feature:

Handel and Lully on David’s psalms : Dixit Dominus, Miserere, De Profondis,…

This incredible music will be performed on historical instruments. In addition, the audience will receive booklets with translations and theological explanations to enhance their understanding and enjoyment of the concert.

Marilyn Halla
Puccini Society of Dallas

Puccini Society 2022/2023 Season

Portrait of Giacomo Puccini by Anne Cushing Ganz

Dear Puccini Friends;  

As we approach another fall season I am excited to announce our upcoming Puccini Society programs.  Our first event of the new season will celebrate our Founder, Bettie Francis on the occasion of her 90th Birthday!  In Dec, 1995, Judson and Bettie Francis, Pat Blankenship, and Earl Carter created the Puccini Society of Dallas in order to share their love of Puccini’s music with others.  Pat planned the programs, recruited members, and did whatever was necessary to keep the society going. Betty spent many successive years as Society Secretary, printing and mailing invitations and taking reservations, hosting events, as well as taking care of society correspondence.   Our first program was held in March, 1996 at the home of Inge and Sam Vastole.

At Pat’s request, Dallas artist and teacher Ann Cushing Gantz painted a portrait of Giacomo Puccini for Judson Francis.  Several members of the Puccini Society surprised Judson with the portrait at a small cocktail party in June,1996, shortly before his death.  The portrait became the logo for the Puccini Society, and our society awarded the late Mrs. Gantz an honorary lifetime membership.

We are dedicated to acknowledging, enjoying, and promoting the music of Puccini and other great opera composers. We offer educational programs for our members and our goal is to help and encourage aspiring, young singers.  Many of our members volunteer their time and talents for which we are grateful.

Among our first members who are still active in our society are Marion Ward, Bill Herrera (a past President), Inge and Sam Vastole, and myself. Bettie is our only surviving founder.  We are delighted to honer her on the occasion of her 90th birthday!  Without her years of leadership this society could not have thrived in the way it has.

Our fall schedule is as follows:

Sept. 25; Andrew Simpson, bass (and son of our own Tina Simpson) will sing for us at the home of Wendy Kumph and  her mom, Sue Prideaux.  The address is 3806 Stratford, 75225, just east of Dallas Country Club.  We will celebrate our Founder, Bettie Francis.

Oct. 23; St. Matthew’s Cathedral Arts Series will present Mary Dibbern with Courtney Maina, soprano and Christopher Leach, tenor, in Songs of Mary Howe.  These will be taken from their newly released CD, Songs by Mary Howe, which The Puccini Society helped underwrite.  We will be at the Collora Piano Studio.

Nov.19; Stephen Dubberly will present two outstanding young singers and will also report on the Craft’s Opera in Concert program in Italy, which we help sponsor.  Location TBA.

Dec. 3; Joint program with Voce Intimae (art song organization), Christian Bester, General Director.  We will hear all of Puccini’s  songs which will be narrated by Stephen Dubberly and held at the home of Enika and Richard Schulze.

Our membership renewal letter will go out soon with our new P.O. Box number, and we encourage everyone to renew their membership promptly.  We look forward to seeing everyone soon and often at our programs.

Best wishes,

Marilyn Halla

Josefina Maldonado Dec 4, 2021

Puccini Society of Dallas presents

Josefina Maldonado, Mezzo-soprano

Josefina Maldonado
Mezzo Soprano

Saturday, December 4, 2021 at 3:00 P.M.

Members $25 Guests $35
Valet Parking Provided

RSVP by Dec 1 to
[email protected]

Pay at Door or mail check to
Puccini Society
PO Box 25105,
Dallas, TX 75225

For credit card charges, please contact
Jana at 817-999-5509

Josefina Maldonado, Mezzo-soprano

Emerging Dallas-born artist, Josefina Maldonado has been critically acclaimed by The Texas Classical Review and Theater Jones as ‘vocally superb’ with a ‘remarkably rich timbre’. Ms. Maldonado was a young artist with The Dallas Opera Outreach Program in the role(s) of Veronica/Dr. Miracle and Dorabella/ Così Fan Tutte, for Bremen Town Musicians.

For her European debut, Ms. Maldonado was a principle artist in two modern world premieres of serenatas by Johannes Schmelzer; Le veglie ossequiose and Die sieben Alter stimmen zusammen, for the Olomouc’s Baroque Festival held in the Czech Republic.

Ms. Maldonado holds a B.M. from the University of North Texas where she was a frequently featured soloist alongside the UNT Symphony Orchestra. Her major roles with UNT Opera included Dorabella/Così Fan Tutte, Ruggiero/Alcina, Cherubino/Le nozze di Figaro, Siébel/Faust and Mother Marie/Dialogues of the Carmelites.

Photo Gallery

Schollmaier Scholars – November 13, 2021

The Puccini Society of Dallas presents


with the Foote Foundation Schollmaier Scholars and graduate students of


Presented in memory of:
Cecile Bonte, Eleanor Krebs, Marigny Lanier, Ed Lynch, and Jody Reed

Saturday, November 13, 2021

3:00 p.m.

Members $30             Guests $35

Please RSVP to [email protected] by Nov. 10

Puccini Friends

What a big group we had yesterday to enjoy Barbara Hill-Moore’s wonderful students.  Some of these singers are young artists to watch!  Prosper is really getting some wonderful opportunities with both Dallas and Ft. Worth Operas.  Others may well be singers to watch in the future.  

Our fall Puccini event featuring the students of Barbara Hill Moore, Senior Associate Dean, SMU. Barbara sponsors these international students through the Foote Foundation. It was an amazing event. So good to be meeting in person again.
Photo by Mac Irwin

To enjoy their beautiful singing in the stunning surroundings of Bill Cornog’s home was a double pleasure; and what a gracious and accommodating host he is.  All in all the afternoon was a lovely tribute to our past members Cecile Bonte, Eleanor Krebs, Marigny Lanier, Ed Lynch and Jody Reed. They were each valued and loved members of the Puccini Society.

A proud teacher: Barbara Hill Moore.
Photos by Josephine Dewaal

To enjoy their beautiful singing in the stunning surroundings of Bill Cornog’s home was a double pleasure; and what a gracious and accommodating host he is.  All in all the afternoon was a lovely tribute to our past members Cecile Bonte, Eleanor Krebs, Marigny Lanier, Ed Lynch and Jody Reed. They were each valued and loved members of the Puccini Society.

We continue to welcome new members to our group:  Mary Lou Alford has just joined us along with a number of others who were introduced at our Sept. meeting. Mary Lou is delighted to find that she has a number of friends and acquaintances in our group. New members this fall include:  Mary Lou Alford, John Shriner, Anna Morini, Yvonne Sage, Carl Schieffer, Dona and Michael Watson, and Mary Ellen Winborn. Also Brian Hackfeld, Joey Meirtschin, and Mark Landson. Welcome to all! Guest are always welcome and we were happy to have several yesterday as well.

I hope everyone will remember that these beautiful receptions are spearheaded by Mac Irwin and Patsy Brooks.  Special thanks to Rosemary O’Neill and Josephine DeWaal for their special home baked Irish Tea Bread and Stollen.  We appreciate them all so much!  Bob Brooks makes sure we all have a wine of choice and graciously serves as bartender.  Our whole Board is a great team as each member reliably does their job.  Thanks to Jana Irwin for keeping our reservations and checking everyone in.  The Tobys sent membership renewals and many have responded.  You can still renew and now Jana can take your payment via credit card (817-999-5509) or a check to P.O. Box 25105, Dallas, 75225. Laurie Pan took very nice pictures which will be posted on our web site. Many thanks to all.

Yesterday’s guest Robin Green will host our Dec. 4 program in her lovely home.  Josefina Maldonado, soprano will present our program.  We had Josefina scheduled to sing for us just as we were asked to curtail our in-person meetings, and I’m really delighted to reschedule her now.  She is a very accomplished young singer whom we will be thrilled to finally hear. Invitations will be sent out soon with meeting details.
Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving,

Marilyn Halla

Event Photos by Laurie Pan

Julie Liston Johnson – December 14, 2019

The Puccini Society of Dallas presents

Julie Liston Johnson, soprano
Molly Fillmore, mezzo soprano
with Szu-Ying Huang, pianist

At the home of

Linda and Tom Smith
6614 Forestshire Drive
Dallas, Texas 75230

December 14, 2019, 3:00 P.M.

Members $25 – Guests $30 – Valet Parking

Please RSVP to

P.O. Box 25105
Dallas, Texas 75225
puccinisociety @

Puccini Friends;

I want to share with you my enthusiasm for our upcoming program next Saturday at the home of Linda and Tom Smith.

Linda suggested we invite soprano Julie Liston Johnson to perform, and when I contacted her she was happy to accept our invitation. She received her Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School where she held a teaching fellowship and is currently on the voice faculty of the University of Texas at Arlington while also finishing her DMA at the University of North Texas. She has sung solos at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Trinity Church Wall Street as well as prestigious halls in Italy and England. A frequent performer in the Metroplex, many of you may have heard her performances. Favorite opera roles include Donna Anna, Dido, and Madama Butterfly as well as concert performances of The Queen of the Night’s vengeance aria and Gilda in Rigoletto. She lives in Dallas with her husband Bart Johnson and their daughter Ava Grace.

Julie has invited mezzo soprano Molly Fillmore to join her for our program. Molly made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Helmwige in Die Walkure, conducted by James Levine. During her seven seasons at the Met she also appeared in Philip Glass’ Satyaraha; both of these were broadcast worldwide in movie theaters and on PBS television. She sang over 25 roles at the Cologne Opera, performed title roles with San Francisco Opera, and Arizona Opera as well as appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Kennedy Center, Spoleto Festival and Tanglewood Festival. She is now Chair of the Division of Vocal Studies and Professor of Voice at the University of North Texas College of Music.

Taiwanese pianist Szu-Ying Huang will perform with Julie and Molly. She has performed extensively as soloist and chamber musician in major cities throughout the United States, Canada, Austria, China and Taiwan. She will soon receive her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance at the University of North Texas where she held assistantships in opera accompanying, collaborative piano and choral accompanying.

This promises to be a truly memorable program as well as a festive holiday celebration. Linda and Tom live at 6614 Forestshire Dr., 75230 and we meet at 3:00 p.m. If you haven’t replied please do so now in order for us to have adequate seating. I’ll look forward to seeing you there!

Marilyn Halla

Puccini Society 2019/2020 Season

Hello friends!  We’re definitely at the end of summer this weekend, and most groups are well into their plans for the coming year.  While I was in Santa Fe I contacted several singers whom we want to have this year, and whom I had talked with previously.  It looks like another good year of programs.  I sent out our dates and the singers made their choices. We can still book one more program if anyone has suggestions.

This is what it looks like so far:

  • Oct. 19;  Francisco Bedoy, tenor
  • Nov. 16; Rachel Davies, mezzo
  • Dec. 14; Julie Johnson, mezzo at the home of Linda and Tom Smith
  • Jan. 18 or 25; Mary Dibbern with Gabby Gifford and Malcom Payne, baritone
  • Feb. 15 or March 21; hopefully Lauren McNeese, sop. singing Strauss songs
  • April 18; Josefina Maldonado, soprano

I look forward to seeing everyone again soon, and welcome any suggestions. 

I hope everyone has had a good summer,

Marilyn Halla

End of Season Supper – May 5, 2019

The Puccini Society of Dallas Presents

Ed Flaspoehler and Friends
A Program of New Music by Dallas Composers

Sunday, May 5, 2019, 5:30 PM

Join us in celebrating the end of the season with supper and an evening of music by Dallas Composers. Program includes the premiere performance of the Sonata for Flute and Piano (2018) by Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, and the Piano Trio, “Moments in Memory,” by Mark Landson.

Ed Flaspoehler Flute
Gregory Sullivan Isaacs Composer
Mark Landson Composer and Violin
John LandefeldCello
Sunny Heesun YunPianoS

Hosted by Bettie Francis
3600 Princeton Avenue
Dallas, TX 75205

Members $40, Guests $45

Valet Parking

R.S.V.P. to Bettie Francis
at 214.528.4554 or
P.O. Box 25105
Dallas, TX 75225 or
[email protected]

Gregory Sullivan Isaacs is an American musician, composer, classical music critic and music director who has held musical directorships of opera, choral, and symphonic organizations. Since 2014, he has been the senior classical music critic for the online arts magazine TheaterJones, as well as a freelance writer for other publications, including The Fort Worth Star Telegram.  He is a member of ASCAP and the Music Critics Association of North America.

Mark Landson is a violinist, violist, composer, the founder and Director of Open Classical, and the founder and violist of contemporary music group Neo Camerata. He has been featured by the Dallas Observer in their “Top 100 Creatives in Dallas” series, by DFW arts website TheaterJones in their “Forward Thinkers” series, and through numerous other broadcast interviews and press articles as a prolific contributor to the creative culture of North Texas.

Pianist Sunny Heesun Yun is from South Korea. As a solo pianist, she has performed throughout America, Europe, and South Korea. She won the first place in several international competitions, including Rose Petroff Foundation Piano Competition in San Antonio, Texas, American Protégé International Piano and String Competition in New York City, American Protégé International Concerto Competition in New York City, and International Symphonic Workshops Piano Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. Sunny Yun is a member of the piano faculty at Eastfield College in Dallas.

Puccini Society member Ed Flaspoehler is an accomplished flutist. In 2018, he commissioned his friend, Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, to write a Sonata for Flute and Piano, which will receive its first public performance with Puccini Society of Dallas on May 5, 2009. Ed also performs frequently at Open Classical, hosted by Mark Landson, and has invited Mark to perform his piano trio, “Moments in Memory,” on the same program.

Cellist, John Landefeld, will perform as part of the piano trio.

Puccini’s Manon Lescaut – February 23, 2019

The Puccini Society of Dallas Presents

Dr. Stephen Dubberly, UNT Opera
A Lecture and Performance on
Puccini’s Opera Manon Lescaut

Alisa Magallon, Soprano, and
James Chamberlain, Tenor

Hosted by
Enika and Richard Schultz
5042 Lakehill Court
Dallas, TX 75220

Valet Parking
Members $25 – Guests $30

R.S.V.P. to Bettie Francis
P.O. Box 25105
Dallas, TX 75225 or
puccinisociety @

STEPHEN DUBBERLY Associate Professor and Music Director at UNT’s Opera Department

Our February program will be presented by Stephen Dubberly, UNT School of Music Director of Opera.  Many of you know Stephen and will welcome him back again.  He will discuss Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut” which will be presented by the Dallas Opera in early March.  Along with his informative talk on the composition and history and story of this work, he will bring singers from the UNT Opera Program to sing arias from this opera.  Enika and Richard Schulze will host us once again, and members of the Dallas Opera Guild will be invited to attend.  

Please put Saturday, Feb. 23 on your calendar and plan to attend this program.  “Manon Lescaut” is one of the less familiar Puccini operas, and your attendance of a performance will be greatly enhanced by learning more about it.

In 2016 The Dallas Opera presented the French version of this story, “Manon” by Jules Massenet, but the Italian version is an entirely different work, and is one of Puccini’s most beautiful compositions.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Marilyn Halla