Houston Grand Opera to Present New Production of Verdi's AIDA

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Houston Grand Opera to Present New Production of Verdi's AIDA

Verdi's timeless Aida returns to the Wortham stage in a new production directed by Phelim McDermott. This stunning new design is enhanced by the incorporation of visionary artists Basil Twist's silk choreography. Set in ancient Egypt during the pinnacle of war, the captive princess Aida falls in love with a conquering general and must choose between true love and loyalty to her country. Verdi's powerful music heightens the unforgettable story of betrayal and sacrifice.

Celebrated American soprano and HGO Studio alumna Tamara Wilson sings the title role of Aida. HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers conducts.

Aida runs two hours and 54 minutes with one intermission and will be sung in Italian with English projections.

In 2018, Tamara Wilson was seen at HGO as Chrysothemis in Elektra. Opera performance highlights in her 2018-2019 season included a return to the Metropolitan Opera as the title role in Aida, the role of Leonora in Il Trovatore at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Desdemona in Otello at the Canadian Opera Company, the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos at Teatro alla Scala, and Chrysothemis in Elektra at Opernhaus Zurich. She won first prize in HGO's 2005 Concert of Arias and won the prestigious Richard Tucker Award in 2016.

Tenor Russell Thomas, making his role debut as Radames, has been noted for a "heroically shining tone of "gorgeously burnished power" (The New York Times). An alumnus of the young artist programs at the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, he has performed leading roles at some of the world's leading opera houses. These include the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, the English National Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Royal Opera House.

Mezzo soprano Michaela Martens as Amneris made her HGO debut in 2018 singing Klytaemnestra in Elektra, which she also sang with San Francisco Opera. Recent roles include Martha in John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary with the St. Louis Symphony at Carnegie Hall and Freia in a concert performance of Das Rheingold with North Carolina Opera. Metropolitan Opera roles include Marilyn Klinghoffer in John Adams's The Death of Klinghoffer, Judith in Bluebeard's Castle, Kundry in Parsifal and Gertrud in Hansel and Gretel.

Singing the role of Amonasro is tenor Reginald Smith, Jr., who made his much-anticipated debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Jim in Porgy and Bess to open the 2019-20 season. His orchestral appearances include Christmas Pops Concerts with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Oregon Symphony. Future engagements include stage debuts with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Santa Fe Opera.

Bass and HGO Studio alumnus Peixin Chen as Ramfis appears regularly at HGO, most recently as Doctor Bartolo in last season's The Barber of Seville and as the bass soloist in the Verdi Requiem (2017). Other HGO roles include Doctor Bartolo in The Marriage of Figaro and Sarastro in outdoor performances of The Magic Flute. He entered the Studio after winning third prize in HGO's 2012 Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias. Previously, he joined the Metropolitan Opera for productions of Aida and Salome.

Appearing as the King is Musa Ngqungwana, South African-born bass baritone who has been praised by The New York Times for his "rich, glowing voice and elegant legato," and by The Wall Street Journal as "a powerful bass-baritone." This season, he sings the title role in Porgy and Bess at Washington National Opera, Atlanta Opera, Grange Park Opera, and Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra, in addition to appearing as Leporello in Don Giovanni with Pittsburgh Opera.

Current HGO Studio Artist and soprano Dorothy Gal as Priestess has participated in Marilyn Horne's The Song Continues workshop at Carnegie Hall and was a vocal fellow at Ravinia's Steans Music Institute. She has appeared on WQXR's Young Artists Showcase and was a New Horizons Fellow at the Aspen Summer Music Festival. Roles include Amy in Little Women, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Poussette in Manon, Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Papagena in HGO's The Magic Flute.

Tenor Christopher Bozeka as Messenger is another HGO Studio alumnus and has been recognized for his "expressively captivating" performances as well as his "beautiful, piercing tone" (San Francisco Chronicle). This season, he also appears in HGO's Aida and Salome, sings Nadir in Bottesini's Ali Baba with Opera Southwest, and performs as soloist in concerts with Ars Lyrica Houston and Firelands Symphony Orchestra.

Soprano Elena Villalón as Inès was an Audience Choice Award winner in HGO's 2019 Concert of Arias and is an alumna of HGO's Young Artists Vocal Academy. Originally from Austin, she was also a winner of the 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In the spring of 2019, Villalón completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). She has been a vocal fellow and soprano fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center.


Friday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 16 at 2 p.m.


Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Ave.


Tickets range from $25 to $270. For more information and to buy tickets, visit HGO.org or call the box office

at 713-228-6737.

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