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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world. To listen to KPAC 88.3 FM, simply open the player in the gray ribbon at the top of this page and choose KPAC: Classical Music.

Opera About To Get Right Down To The Heart Of The Hill Country

A scrappy opera organization is staging a one-of-a-kind event. I found out more by speaking to John Dooley. John has sung at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Lincoln Center, and the Pittsburgh Opera, but he’s now decided to take things underground.

“I’m performing with the Texas Hill Country Opera — a concert in The Cave Without a Name.”

Has he ever sung in a cave?

“No, no, I’ve never taken my talent underground.”

So he’s getting really low.

“Exactly, exactly. It’ll be an interesting experience. But I hear the acoustics can’t be beat.”

The Hill Country Opera is bringing Dooley and his opera-singing wife, Shannon Kessler Dooley, for two events at the Cave, which is 15 miles east of Boerne.

“The first half of the program is kind of exploring different aspects of love in the opera realm. And then we have a sort of pre-holiday program on the second half of the concert. Kind of exploring some of the different carols and a couple of songs that are appropriate for Thanksgiving.”

He says this performance will put opera right in front of you.

“We’re not in a big 2,000-seat house; we’re in an intimate cave setting.”

They won’t be figures on a stage in the distance; they’ll be right there.

“Exactly, exactly. And we’re just normal, regular people, so come up and talk to us afterwards, or ask your questions, or do whatever, you know.”

It’s not a huge production.

“Just two of us, and then a piano. So it’s kind of an amazing thing to hear the power of the human voice in person, and that close up. And I’m sure the acoustics of the cave will magnify it that much more.”

And afterward, they’re going to be roasting chestnuts and drinking wassail.

“Absolutely. I think they have a food truck and some holiday-inspired events.”

There are two shows on Saturday, Nov. 22, and those coming should know they would have to walk down 122 steps to the concert, and back up afterward.

We’ve more on the event here.

We've more on the Texas Hill Country Opera here.

We've more on John Dooley here.

We've more on Shannon Kessler Dooley here.