Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: April 17

TheDallasOpera-TheAspernPapers
Dark mysterious artist types. (The Aspern Papers at the Dallas Opera).

Sometimes I imagine sending and receiving emails that definitely don’t exist. But I swear today’s pick is something I actually got an email about last week and mentally marked it as interesting, but now can’t find anywhere. How else would it have sounded so familiar when my friend brought it up at dinner last night?

Anyway, guys, phantom emails are the stuff horror movies are made of. And so tonight we have a screening of a short sci-fi thriller, made right here in Dallas, at the Texas Theatre. Rather than the tale of a neurotic writer type, Summons is concerned with a real estate agent who dreams about a mysterious light that he fears may be controlling him (and he’s not the only one). Here’s a cool black and white photo from the set, and if any of this sounds familiar, Summons was part of the shorts competition of this year’s Dallas International Film Festival. If you’re so inclined, there’s a cocktail hour of celebration before the first screening at 8 p.m., and the film will show again at 9 p.m. For dinner, there’s a tasty stalwart El Ranchito, but all this talk about Jack Perkins’ new barbecue joint yesterday has made me feel like a visit to Lockhart is in order until I can get over there.

Also this evening, there’s a performance of The Aspern Papers, the Dallas Opera’s revival of Dominick Argento’s English-language composition based on Henry James’ creepy, suspenseful novella of the same name. It’s a twisting tale of long-dead lovers, musical genius, and old Italian cities, still beautiful even in their decline. In a crumbling house on Lake Como, an aging opera diva and her niece live in relative seclusion until their solitude is interrupted by a stranger’s arrival. The stranger claims to be a writer, but of course, everyone’s kinda shady. Our critic, Wayne Lee Gay, says that layers of romantic betrayal coupled with the opera’s mythical structure and high-minded themes “demands a high level of mental alertness and emotional openness from the audience—which is, after all, a large part of what great opera is about.” Read his review here before you go, and if you don’t believe us, both the Dallas Observer and the Morning News felt similarly thrilled.

For more to do tonight, go here.