Opera in the Heights Announces 2017-18 Season
Opera in the Heights (OH) announces its 2017-18 season, a diverse collection of masterworks, which artistic director Eiki Isomura calls "a representation of what we value most at Opera in the Heights." In describing the company's four main stage productions, Isomura states, "There is no better showcase for the vocal virtuosity of our emerging artists than La Fille du Règiment. And there is no better gateway into the art form for our younger audiences than The Magic Flute," says Isomura. "The grandeur of Un Ballo in Maschera finds its most potent expression in the intimacy of our venue, Lambert Hall. Finally, Candide will highlight our brilliant OH Orchestra and give us an opportunity to honor the past with Leonard Bernstein's upcoming centennial and, at the same time, further expand our repertoire."
The season opener is La Fille du Règiment with performances on Sept. 29, Oct. 5 and Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m., with Oct. 1 as the 2 p.m. Sunday matinee. In November, The Magic Flute plays for two weekends and includes six performances, Nov. 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 12 and 19 at 2 p.m. In winter, OH offers Un Ballo in Mascheraon Feb. 16, 22 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. Closing out the season is Candide on April 13, 19 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Apr. 15 at 2 p.m.
"La Fille du Règiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) emerged as a clear choice for our season when an unusual and welcome abundance of exceptional, very high lyric tenors and coloratura sopranos showed up at our auditions," says Isomura. Donizetti's comedy about a girl adopted and raised by soldiers, is best known for its stratospheric tenor aria, "Ah mes amis,"which made Luciano Pavarotti a star. "La Fille rewards youthful voices at the peak of their agility, and yet, far too few young artists are entrusted with the technical demands of the piece, traditionally viewed as a vehicle for established opera stars."
The Magic Flute is one of the few genuinely family-friendly operas in the literature. With a story full of fantastical characters, Mozart's unforgettable music, and a clear moral about personal integrity, The Magic Flute is the ideal opera experience for young families. "OH will employ a double cast for this production, presenting six performances rather than the normal four, to demonstrate our growing commitment to providing a stage for emerging artists," says Isomura. "By offering two matinee performances, we hope also to give more families an opportunity to experience the opera."
Un Ballo in Maschera (Masked Ball), one of Verdi's most sophisticated masterworks, will be the heaviest, darkest, and grandest offering of OH's season. With its politically-charged story of a king, threatened by conspirators while engaged in a dangerous love affair, Ballo represents the quintessential opera composer at his full powers. "While this heavy-duty opus was conceived in the grand opera tradition, Ballo comes to life most vividly in our intimate theater, where the audience can read every emotional nuance on our artists' faces."
Candide, Leonard Bernstein's beloved operetta, is the season closer in 2018, when the late maestro would have turned 100. Based on Voltaire's classic satire about a young man's journey through an absurd series of unfortunate events testing his optimistic worldview, Candide sparkles with Bernstein's brilliant score full of memorable tunes. "With the final performances of Candide scheduled to ramp up to the opening of Houston Grand Opera's West Side Story in April, we may have the beginning of a Bernstein festival, of sorts, in Houston," adds Isomura.
Early bird subscription pricing is $119 - $259 for regular seating; $115 - $225 for seniors aged 62 and up, and $55 - $195 for students age 17 and under or with a valid student ID. Subscriptions go on sale Monday, March 6. To buy tickets or to become a subscriber, please visit operaintheheights.org or call 713-861-5303. All performances take place at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Boulevard, in the Houston Heights.
Opera in the Heights is a professional opera company that exists to provide a stage for emerging performers and to bring affordable opera to the Greater Houston Area. All operas are fully staged with orchestra and presented in the original language with English translation (where applicable) projected above the stage.
Photo Credit: Deji Osinulu Photography.