Road Show: Raymond Aceto in Dallas
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Road Show: Raymond Aceto in Dallas

The Ohio-born bass talks about his favorite places to visit in Big D.
by Mario R. Mercado. 

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Aceto as Baron Scarpia in Dallas Opera’s Tosca, 2015
© Karen Almond, Dallas Opera
Dallas Picks

RESTAURANTS

ORIGINAL PANCAKE HOUSE
2900 Lemmon Ave.
(214) 528-7215
www.ophdfw.com

BREAD WINNERS
3301 McKinney Ave.
(214) 754-4940
www.breadwinnerscafe.com

URBAN TACO
3411 McKinney Ave.
(214) 922-7080
www.dinedsrg.com

CAMPISI'S
5610 E. Mockingbird Ln.
(214) 827-0355
www.campisis.us

CAPITAL GRILLE
500 Crescent Ct.
(214) 303-0500
www.thecapitalgrille.com

ABACUS
4511 McKinney Ave.
(214) 559-3111
www.abacus-restaurant.com

TEI-AN
1722 Routh St.
(214) 220-2828
www.tei-an.com

HOTELS

RITZ-CARLTON, DALLAS
2121 McKinney Ave.
(214) 922-0200
www.ritz-carlton.com

HOTEL ZAZA
2332 Leonard St.
(214) 468-8399
www.hotelzaza.com

SHOPPING

HIGHLAND PARK VILLAGE
47 Highland Park Village
(214) 443-9898
Road Show Dallas Sm 316
Downtown Dallas
© Ken Hurst/Alamy Stock Photo
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Highland Park Village

DALLAS HAS BECOME A SECOND HOME  for American bass Raymond Aceto, who has appeared in fifteen Dallas Opera productions since 1993. Back then, he performed at the company’s original venue, the Fair Park Music Hall, a magnificent Spanish-style neo-Baroque pile with less-than-magnificent acoustics. In October 2009, he was part of the Otello cast that inaugurated the company’s occupancy of the gleaming Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House. “It still strikes me as amazing,” says Aceto, “that in today’s times William Winspear, the lead donor, insisted that this venue be designed especially for opera, acoustically as an opera house, rather than as a multipurpose theater. 

“Over the years, I have seen the arts grow and evolve, as has the city,” Aceto continues. He says the 2,200-seat opera house “has a sense of intimacy.” The Winspear, part of the AT&T Center for the Performing Arts, represents a landmark in the larger Dallas Arts District, located on the northern edge of downtown, which encompasses the city’s superb museums and restaurants, as well as Klyde Warren Park. 

That park, which opened in 2012, was constructed ingeniously on a deck over a recessed highway. The five-acre urban green has a playground, a butterfly garden, food trucks and a pavilion, to which opera productions are simulcast. “Only a few blocks from the opera house, Klyde Warren has become a destination in itself,” Aceto says. The park forms a gateway between the Arts District and Uptown. “Two hotels, the Ritz-Carlton and Hotel ZaZa, and their high-energy bars—perfect places to ease down from post-performance adrenaline—are within walking distance of the Winspear.”

Aceto and his wife, Rebecca, stay in an apartment in Uptown. “When I want to get away into nature, I enjoy walking or jogging along the Katy Trail, a nearby, 3.5-mile path that runs through Uptown, the Oak Lawn area and the leafy Turtle Creek neighborhood.”

The singer has long-standing restaurant favorites. “For breakfast, you can’t beat the ‘49er flapjacks’ at the Original Pancake House. They fill the plate. For a leisurely start to the day, one of my standbys is Lucky’s, part farm-to-table, part retro diner. Bread Winners, where the dishes range from a special house eggs benedict to breakfast enchiladas, is on McKinney Avenue.”

Aceto’s picks for lunch and dinner include La Duni for Latin brunch, Spanish tapas at Café Madrid and Campisi’s for old-school Italian. “For updated Mexican street food, my pick is Urban Taco, with its tiered outdoor patio,” he says. There is no shortage of places to satisfy meat-eaters in Dallas; Aceto favors Capital Grille, located in Crescent Court. He calls Abacus, a fine-dining restaurant by Dallas chef Kent Rathbun, a “terrific place for a tasting-menu splurge.” Back in the Arts District, Tei-An, a Japanese soba house and sushi bar, has the feel of a serene retreat. Its upper terrace offers a sweeping view of Downtown.

Dallas is a city devoted to style. Neiman Marcus’s first store opened in Downtown more than 100 years ago. A short drive from Uptown lies Highland Park Village, a luxury shopping center with Spanish Mediterranean-style architecture. Extending from a central fountain is a gracious, if heady, mix of luxury—Hermès, Brunello Cucinelli, Alexander McQueen, along with designers with Dallas pedigrees, Lela Rose and Billy Reid. Amid the attentively landscaped setting you’ll find the practical, too—a tailor, a barber, even a UPS store. 

Sports loom large in Texas. Aceto has sung at the AT&T Stadium, the new home of the Dallas Cowboys, which opened in 2009. Each spring since 2012, Dallas Opera, in association with the Cowboys organization, has presented a free live simulcast. (Advance tickets are required.) An audience of 15,000 attended the inaugural stadium simulcast of Mozart’s Magic Flute, projected on the stadium’s four jumbo, high-definition video boards. Aceto’s Sarastro may never have sounded more ominous or seemed so much bigger than life. spacer 

Mario R. Mercado writes on music, dance, theater and art. 

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