Arthur L. Kramer:
December 1880 - February 1950
Arthur L. Kramer was born on December 17, 1880 in Kentucky. His family moved to Dallas when he was nine years old. Kramer practiced law with the firm of Haxter and Kramer from 1902-1912.
From 1930, Kramer, the president of A. Harris and Company (which later became part of Sanger-Harris, then Foley's, and now Macy's.) made frequent trips to New York to lobby for Dallas as a new tour city for the Metropolitan Opera, which is now considered the largest classical music organization in North America. Kramer was an active supporter of the Symphony, the Opera, and other arts in Dallas.
In 1939, the Met agreed, but only if Kramer could guarantee $65,000 for the four performances. Along with a group of donors, Kramer managed to acquire $136,800 for the initial Met season. The first performances were:
- Massenet's Manon
- Verdi's Otello
- Wagner's Tannhauser
- Puccini's La Boheme
With this, the Dallas Grand Opera Association was born, an organization with the sole purpose of sponsoring and promoting annual appearances of the Metropolitan Opera in Dallas. During its 45 years, the DGOA presented 171 productions. Kramer passed away in 1950, but his son continued to manage the DGOA.
The Met continued to visit Dallas until 1985, when it suspended the arrangement and eventually cancelled due to budgetary reasons. Afterwards, the Dallas Opera rose as its prominent replacement for classical music productions in Dallas.
sources: D Magazine, Texas Monthly, Dallas Public Library, Wikipedia