Opera in the Heights Sets 2015-16 Season

Opera in the Heights (OH!) has announced its 2015-2016 20th anniversary season, presenting a smorgasbord of delectable operas that should appeal to a wide range of patrons. The season kicks off with Leoncavallo's, I Pagliacci. Next is a Menotti 1940s double-bill, The Medium and The Telephone. Following is Rossini's La Cenerentola, the perfect Cinderella opera. The season will end where opera began, with Gluck's 1762 composition, Orfeo ed Euridice, which is an OH! world premiere. All will be conducted by Maestro Eiki Isomura.

"Opera in the Heights has chosen an inspired blend of works, including the beloved tragedy, I Pagliacci; Menotti's contemporary, spooky and humorous, double bill of The Medium and The Telephone; a family-friendly comedy in La Cenerentola; and an iconic early opera from the 1700s, Orfeo ed Euridice, which has never been performed in Houston," says Mariam Khalili, Opera in the Heights Executive Director. "We are thrilled with the selections for our 20th anniversary season because they are truly a celebration of operatic history that will delight art lovers of all ages."

As with last season, OH! presents two Sunday matinees for each opera. Every production will feature seven performances, with the first week consisting of Friday and Saturday evening performances and a Sunday matinee, while the second week will feature Thursday, Friday and Saturday night performances and a Sunday matinee.

The season opens Sept. 18 with I Pagliacci, (The Clowns) a one-act opera that takes place in Calabria Italy in 1860 and focuses on a commedia dell'arte troupe that comes to town to present a comedy which turns into a real-life tragedy. Performances will start at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26; Sept. 20 and 27 are the 2 p.m. Sunday matinees.

October and November bring to the stage two operas by Menotti, both sung in English: The Medium and The Telephone. Performed as a double bill, audiences will encounter a fake medium who starts to hear voices and feel phantom presences she cannot explain. In The Telephone, a man comes to his girlfriend's apartment to propose, only to find her preoccupied with talking on the telephone. Performance dates are Oct. 30, 31, Nov. 5, 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 1 and 8 are the matinees at 2 p.m.

Rossini's La Cenerentola is OH!'s late winter production and is perfect for the entire family. Rossini's take on the classic fairy tale, Cinderella, the opera La Cenerentola is considered to be one of his greatest achievements, complete with mistaken identities, stepsisters and of course, romance. Performance dates are Feb. 5, 6, 11, 12 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 7 and 14 at 2 p.m.

The season closes with Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, which is based on the myth of Orpheus, a legendary ancient Greek hero endowed with superhuman musical skills, and his love, Eurydice. The opera takes to the stage on Apr. 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16 for 7:30 p.m. performances; matinees are at 2 p.m. on Apr. 10 and 17.

Khalili is excited about the season and the ancillary activities planned around the operas. "We plan to engage our patrons more actively in our works, including opening night happy hour events for subscribers held at suitable venues prior to the show, young professionals gatherings and other special events for ticket holders," she says. "These offer a chance to talk with people who are long-time opera aficionados, as well as those going for the first time."

"With the launch of a new young professionals group, patrons can mingle with singers and other contributing artists at our events," Khalili continues. "You never know how a conversation will evolve or what interesting person you might meet at these casual get-togethers. We also have audience lectures and 'Talk-Backs' after performances, in which patrons can ask the singers and directors questions about our productions."

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 Aug. 1. Prices are $35 - $67 for regular tickets, $32 - $58 for seniors and $15 - $17 for student tickets in limited seating areas. 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.

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