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World-Premiere Opera ANOTHER CITY to be Presented at Houston Grand Opera in March

Another City asks audiences to bear witness to the unheard and misunderstood experiences of unhoused Houstonians.

World-Premiere Opera ANOTHER CITY to be Presented at Houston Grand Opera in March

Houston Grand Opera will stage its 74th world-premiere opera, Another City, on March 9, 10, and 11, with performances at the downtown campus of Ecclesia Houston. Created through extensive first-hand research by composer Jeremy Howard Beck and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann, Another City asks audiences to bear witness to the unheard and misunderstood experiences of unhoused Houstonians, as the opera presents the collective voices of a city in search of the meaning of home.

"The biggest challenge the opera poses is, 'how do we put a city, this city, on stage?' For the experience of losing a home and gaining housing is not just one story-the face of homelessness is as diverse and innumerable as there are humans on this planet," says Fleischmann. "In creating this powerful story, we looked for ways to guide our audience in and through an often chaotic and devastating world. We made it our goal to conjure an experience of both cities, so that at least for the duration of the opera, via the eyes, ears, and hearts of the viewer, a divided metropolis becomes one." 

Houston has made tremendous progress in combatting homelessness. As detailed in a June 2022 feature in The New York Times, over the past 10 years, the City has collaborated with organizations servicing those experiencing homelessness, working together to place over 25,000 people into an apartment or home. Since 2011, homelessness in Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city, has declined by 64%.

While conducting research for Another City, Fleischmann, Beck, and members of HGO were fortunate to work directly with members of the unhoused community and the entities that have been leading the charge to assist them over the past decade. Through their collaborations with SEARCH, The Beacon, Star of Hope, Coalition for the Homeless, New Hope Housing, and the Houston Mayor's Office, Fleischmann and Beck conducted in-depth listening sessions, yielding over 60 hours of recorded interviews with Houstonians currently experiencing homelessness. They joined case managers for ride-alongs to meet with clients (members of the unhoused community), volunteered in kitchens and at clothing drives, and helped with client intake, listening closely to community members generous enough to speak with them.

Born of these listening sessions, Another City shares the intersecting stories of Houstonians experiencing homelessness and those working to help them, sung by a cast of 12 and unfolding over the course of a single day and night. As housing is lost, gained, and carried as memory, the opera asks the question: how do we bridge the chasm between the city we can see and the one we cannot-a city which is all around us but invisible, hiding in plain sight?

"Charged with the responsibility of musically honoring a vast spectrum of experiences," says Beck, "I set out to sonically portray the beauty of these lives we continually look past by creating art out of similarly overlooked, unexpected materials: danceable grooves and tuneful songs share equal footing with symphonic development. Field recordings I made of Houston are layered and interwoven with swinging street band sounds, ambient soundscapes, propulsive rhythms, and truly operatic heights of emotion."

Another City will be presented at Ecclesia Houston, which engages issues related to poverty and social justice and assists unhoused Houstonians through various resources. The story, however, will be set at The Beacon, another pivotal organization that provides services to those experiencing homelessness such as private showers, hot meals, full-service laundry, and assistance renavigating the system. The site-specific performance will utilize Ecclesia's immersive space, which allows artists to move in and around a central platform. Conducted by HGO's resident conductor Alex Amsel, the production will be directed by Emily N. Wells, with lighting design by Michael James Clark, costumes by Clair Hummel, and sound design by Andrew Harper.

Another City is part of HGO's award-winning Song of Houston series, which develops new works based on stories that define the unique character of Houston. The world-premiere work's acclaimed librettist, Stephanie Fleischmann, is the recipient of Opera America's 2022 Campbell Librettist Prize. Its celebrated composer, Jeremy Howard Beck, has seen his music performed at concert halls and opera houses throughout the country.

For more information on the performances, workshops, and other collaborative activities HGO's Community and Learning team conducts throughout Houston, with Another City partner organizations and other groups, visit

Performances of the world-premiere opera Another City run at 7:30 p.m. on March 9 and 10, and 2 p.m. on March 11, 2023, at Ecclesia Houston, 1100 Elder Street. Tickets are $25. For more information and to buy tickets, visit or call the box office at 713-228-6737.

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