Opera in the Heights Sets 2014-15 Season: RIGOLETTO, HANSEL UND GRETEL & More

Opera in the Heights Sets 2014-15 Season: RIGOLETTO, HANSEL UND GRETEL & More

Opera in the Heights (Oh!) announces its 2014-2015 season presenting a fresh new look at some classic works, including Rigoletto, Hänsel und Gretel, La clemenza di Tito and Carmen. Audiences will experience lecherous villains, innocent girls, curses, mischievous children, murder plots, tragedy and seduction all in the comfort of Lambert Hall beginning in September.

"In programming the 2014-2015 season I have gathered an outstandingly talented group of guest artists that will give us a year to remember," says Artistic Director Enrique Carreón-Robledo. "I am very excited to present a balanced list of works that combine two well-known jewels of the repertoire with two operas that have rarely been performed in Houston. Four of the most gifted stage directors of their young generation join us to create unique productions exclusively conceived to fit our company and promote our mission."

As with last season, Oh! presents two Sunday matinees for each opera. Every production will feature seven performances, with the first weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday matinee, while the second week will be Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday matinee.

The season opens Sept. 26 with Verdi's Rigoletto, when a lecherous duke, an innocent girl and a father's curse turn a hunch-backed court jester into a broken man. The opera's original title, La maledizione (The Curse), refers to the curse placed on both the Duke and Rigoletto by a courtier whose daughter had been seduced by the Duke with Rigoletto's encouragement. Performances at 7:30 p.m. are Sept. 26, 27, Oct. 2, 3 and 4; Sept. 28 and Oct. 5 are the 2 p.m. Sunday matinees.

November brings to the stage Humperdinck's fairy tale of two adventurous children and a witch you'll never forget with Hänsel und Gretel. The libretto was written by Humperdinck's sister, Adelheid Wette, based on the Grimm brothers' fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel." It is much admired for its folk music-inspired themes, one of the most famous being the "Abendsegen" ("Evening Benediction") from act two. Performance dates are Nov. 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 16 and 23 are the matinees at 2 p.m.

Mozart's La clemenza di Tito is Oh!'s winter production, about a woman scorned, an evil assassination plot and shocking forgiveness. The story reflects on the strain society's demands for perfection put on our public figures, as we watch personal drama become public crisis, something modern audiences can appreciate. Performance dates are Jan. 30, 31, Feb. 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 1 and 8 at 2 p.m.

The season closes with Bizet's Carmen, which tells the tragic tale of the ultimate femme fatale, the naïve soldier she seduces and his rival, the glamorous toreador. The depictions of proletarian life, immorality and lawlessness, and the tragic death of the main character on stage, broke new ground in French opera and were highly controversial. Carmen takes the stage on Mar. 20, 21 26, 27 and 28 for 7:30 p.m. performances; matinees are at 2 p.m. on Mar. 22 and 29.

Subscribers can now purchase regular season tickets from$113 - $223. Senior subscription prices are $103 - $193. Student season tickets (ID required) are also available for any performance night in limited seating areas for $49 - $64.

Single tickets go on sale July 1. The prices are $35 - $67 for regular tickets, $32 - $58 for seniors and $15 - $17 for student tickets in limited seating areas. To buy tickets, please visit www.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 projected above the stage.

Photo by Kinjo Yonemoto