Category Archives: Uncategorized

Flying From the Nest – Feb. 18, 2024

The Puccini Society of Dallas
Invites you to attend our February Program

“Flying from the Nest”

A program of songs and arias with:

Lauren Manon, soprano
Cherisse Williams, soprano
Sarah Foshee, mezzo-soprano
Eleanor Williams, mezzo-soprano
Stephen Dubberly, piano

Sunday, February 18, 2024 at 3:00 pm
Members $30 Guests $40
Valet Parking provided

Please RSVP no later than Feb. 14 to
[email protected]

Mail checks to:
Puccini Society of Dallas
P.O. Box 1782
Colleyville, TX 76034-1782
Call Jana at (817) 999 – 5509 for credit card payments.

Photo Gallery

Eleanor Williams, Mezzo-Soprano

Sara Fochee, Mezzo-Soprano

Lauren Manon, Soprano

Clarissa Williams, Soprano

Party Pictures

Puccini Friends; I am still excited about our beautiful event yesterday!  Stephen put together a wonderful program with those very talented young singers from the Opera in Italy program.  We were all very impressed with their talent and potential.  Stephen’s commentary put each aria into context and helped us relate to the character being portrayed.  We are so fortunate to have Stephen in our society and that he is willing to put together these outstanding program for us!

Linda and Tom are such gracious hosts and are so kind to invite us time and again.  Their home is truly beautiful and interesting, as many of you observed yesterday.  Thank you for your welcoming hospitality.

Mac presented another of his fabulous receptions!  We are so grateful that he does this for us and for his culinary talents.  Everything was beautiful and delicious.  His featured cocktail of the day was particularly enjoyed by everyone. Jana always makes things run smoothy with her many responsibilities.  You two are our Puccini Valentines, along with Patsy and Bob who always assist Mac, set up and serve drinks, and even bring chairs.  Lots of logistics are involved in our meetings, and thanks to all who helped out with that yesterday.

Our next event is planned for March 30 and will feature soprano Jocelyn Hansen.  Jocelyn has performed in three main stage productions for the Dallas Opera the season, and is equally outstanding in musical theater performances.  I know she’ll bring us a program that will be enjoyed by everyone.  Please save this date.

Thanks to everyone for your ongoing support of the Puccini Society.


Introducing Cherisse Williams

Brooklyn, New York, native soprano Cherisse Williams is a Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Business Administration in Music Business student at the University of North Texas, under the tutelage of Dr. Carol Wilson.

 In performance with The Dallas Opera’s Educational Outreach, she will perform the role of Manuelita (Pépito).

Last season, Ms. Williams sang the role of Micaëla (Carmen). She has played the role of Adina in L’elisir d’amore with UNT Opera, Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute and Gretel (Hansel and Gretel) with Once Upon an Opera, and Nannetta in the Midwest Institute of Opera’s production of Falstaff.

Her Manhattan School of Music credits include the Princess in their mainstage production of L’enfant et les Sortilèges, and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro for their opera scenes titled “A World Made Real: Five Stories of Women in Pursuit of Dreams.” Other credits include the role of Sally Hemings in the world premiere of Dana Wilson’s The Wolf by the Ears, Beth (cover) in Little Women, Mademoiselle Silberklang in The Impresario with the Ithaca Hidden Gems Project, The Princeton Festival’s production of Porgy and Bess (ensemble), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Peaseblossom) at Westminster Choir College Opera Theatre.

Ms. Williams was a winner of the Willam Gammon Henry Concerto Competition at the University of North Texas and a first-prize winner at the NATS-CNYFL competition. She is a member of the New York Philharmonic Chorus and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance from Westminster Choir College, a Master of Music from Ithaca College, and a Professional Studies Certificate in opera from The Manhattan School of Music.  She is  a volunteer artist for Sing for Hope, a proud sister of Sigma Alpha Iota and one of the owners of the Sparkle Twins.

In addition to singing, Ms. Williams is a professional commercial and print model, and a former preschool teacher. She has starred in the national Verizon Holiday commercial along with her identical twin sister, which received over 2 million views worldwide. 

Adia Evans-Ledon – Jan. 20, 2024

The Puccini Society of Dallas
Invites you to attend our 1st program of the New Year


Adia Evans-Ledon, soprano

1st Place Winner of the
2023 Dallas Opera Guild Lone Star Biennial Vocal Competition

Saturday, January 20, 2024, at 3:00 pm

Members  $30            Guests  $40

Valet Parking provided

Please RSVP by 1/15/2024 to [email protected]

Mail checks to:

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

Call Jana at (817) 999-5509 for credit card payments.

Opera Arlington – Nov 18, 2023

The Puccini Society of Dallas Presents

An Afternoon of Music with Opera Arlington

Presented by Bree Nichols

Founder and Director of Opera Arlingto

Bree Nichols, soprano – Jason Nichols, tenor
Chivonne Perkins, soprano – Megan Koch, soprano

Saturday, November 18, 2023, at 3:00 pm

Park Towers on Turtle Creek
3310 Fairmount,
Dallas  75201

Members  $30   Guests  $40

Valet Parking provided

Kindy RSVP by November 13 to
[email protected]

Mail checks to:

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

call Jana at (817) 999-5509 BEFORE Nov 6 for credit card payments.

Matthew Dexter – Oct. 28, 2023

The Puccini Society of Dallas presents
our October program


Matthew Dexter, baritone
accompanied by Stephen Dubberly

 Saturday, October 28, 2023

3:00 pm

Members  $30        Guests  $40

Valet Parking provided

Kindy RSVP by Oct 25 to [email protected]

Mail checks to:

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

Puccini Friends – We are excited to gather on Saturday, October 28 to hear from a talented young UNT student, Matthew Dexter. Please see Matthew’s bio information below. Also, refer to the invitation for the October program attached. Thank you to all who have already responded.  Please RSVP no later than Oct 25 if you ploan to attend.

Marilyn Halla

Photo Gallery

Photos by Ed Flaspoehler

Artist Bio

MATTHEW DEXTER, bass-baritone from McKinney, Texas, is a senior majoring in vocal performance at the University of North Texas.  He is a member of UNT’s A Cappella Choir and the Vox Aquilae Baroque choir.  During his time with UNT Opera, he has performed the roles of Mícha in The Bartered Bride, Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, and Zúñiga in Carmen. He will premiere the role of the Conductor in That Hellbound Train in spring 2024.  He also performed the role of The Herald in the concert version of Verdi’s Otello with the UNT Symphony Orchestra.  For the past two years, as a vocal fellow at Spoleto Festival USA, Matthew appeared in the world premiere of Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels’ Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Omar in 2022 and covered the role of the Old Doctor in Samuel Barber’s Vanessa.  He was a winner of Youngarts 2020 and performed at the winners’ concert in Miami.

Stephen Dubberly, a faculty member in the UNT College of Music, has written of Matthew, “There is no question in my mind that he is by far the most outstanding undergraduate with whom I have worked in my 40 years of university teaching.”

Additionally, Matthew was named as the Presser Undergraduate Scholar recipient for 2022-2023. See below about this prestigious award:

The Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award is presented annually to a student entering their senior year who has shown extraordinary musical and academic accomplishments. The Presser award is considered the most prestigious undergraduate honor in music at the University of North Texas and is provided by the Presser Foundation that awards annual scholarships, grants and funds for the furthering of music education and music in America.

In perpetuity, the recipients are referred to as Presser Scholars. The winner is nominated by the College of Music faculty and selected by the College of Music Council of Division Chairs. The scholarship has been awarded annually for more than six decades.

Sabatina Mauro – Sept. 30, 2023

The Puccini Society of Dallas presents

“Suits, Sisters and Sidekicks, an Operatic Afternoon”

Sabatina Mauro – Mezzo Soprano
Jiyoun Oh – Pianist

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

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

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