Houston Grand Opera 2016/2017 Season Update

By: Jul. 25, 2016
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Houston Grand Opera will present four pinnacles of the operatic repertoire during the company's 2016-17 season, which also features the highly anticipated world premiere of It's a Wonderful Life by composer Jake Heggie with libretto by Gene Scheer, and much-loved comedies by Donizetti and Mozart. Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers will lead Götterdämmerung, the final installment of Wagner's epic Ring cycle, featuring a new generation of leading Wagnerians includingSimon O'Neill as Siegfried and Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde. HGO will bring back its popular production of Gounod's Faust, with the HGO debut of international star tenor Michael Fabiano in the title role partnered by Houston favorite Ana María Martínez as Marguerite, along with the role debut of prominent bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni as Mephistopheles. The company will celebrate the 30thanniversary of HGO's world premiere of John Adams's pivotal Nixon in China by presenting James Robinson's production, of which HGO is a co-producer, with HGO Studio alumnus Scott Hendricks as Richard Nixon and soprano Andriana Chuchman as his wife, Pat. Patrick Summers will conduct Verdi'sthrilling Requiem, which critics at the time termed "an opera in ecclesiastical robes," with soloists Angela Meade, soprano, in her HGO debut; Sasha Cooke, alto; Alexey Dolgov, tenor; and Peixin Chen, bass; and the HGO Orchestra and Chorus. HGO's 62nd season will open with a whimsical production of Donizetti's buoyant The Elixir of Love, featuring tenor Dimitri Pittas as Nemorino and HGO Studio alumna Nicole Heaston as Adina and led by the eminent English conductor Jane Glover, HGO's 2016-17 Lynn Wyatt Great Artist, in her first HGO appearance. Mozart's zany yet deeply emotive comedy TheAbduction from the Seraglio-featuring Russian coloratura soprano and HGO Studio alumna Albina Shagimuratova as Konstanze and leading American tenor Lawrence Brownlee as Belmonte in HGO's inventive 2002 co-production-will close the main-stage season.

HGO's main-stage season will comprise 42 performances (including two free community performances) of seven productions. The company will also present three student performances.

HGO will also present the world premiere of Some Light Emerges by composer Laura Kaminsky with libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed. Inspired by the creation of Houston's iconic Rothko Chapel by philanthropist and art collector Dominique de Menil, the work is commissioned by HGOco, the company's community collaboration and education initiative. In May HGOco will present Das Barbecü, a comedic country-western take on Wagner's Ring by Scott Warrender and Jim Luigs. Houstonian Charles Swan will direct.

This season HGO launches a new subscription series for young people ages 25 and under, offering seven operas for $125. This series complements the ongoing discounted Opening Nights for Young Professionals series, as well as continuing opportunities available to the community for discounted and free tickets through the multiyear Nexus ticket underwriting initiative.

HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers notes, "This season we conclude HGO's first Wagner Ring cycle, present three operas by important living composers, and enjoy a glorious 'tenor-fest' unique in our history. Götterdämmerung brings the Ring to a summit that is shattering, provocative, and hopeful, with a cast of young Wagnerians long ago identified and cultivated by HGO. Our 30th anniversary production of John Adams's unparalleled Nixon in China returns this important opera to the stage where it premiered. The most prolific of modern composers, Jake Heggie, presents his sixth opera and his third premiere with HGO, based on an iconic American story that will inspire us at holiday time and will star tenor William Burden. Renowned composer Laura Kaminsky and her probing colleagues bring their unique voices to an opera about the creative forces behind Houston's Rothko Chapel. Our opening repertoire features two operas with iconic tenor roles, The Elixir of Love and Faust, and HGO welcomes the opportunity to present in them two of America's most gifted new stars, Dimitri Pittas and Michael Fabiano. I am particularly gratified that our superb HGO Orchestra and Chorus will take center stage in what I have always considered to be Verdi's greatest score, his powerful Requiem."

HGO Managing Director Perryn Leech adds, "HGO's Ring cycle has raised the excitement around opera in Houston to a new level, and we are thrilled to continue serving the entire Houston community through both the main-stage season and our HGOco activities at the Wortham and at venues around the city. We are especially pleased to reaffirm our commitment to Houston's young audiences with the addition of our new Under 25 subscription series. We know that many young people in our growing city are looking for exciting entertainment experiences at a reasonable price. They are keen to investigate new works and a broad range of repertoire. Now they can see seven stirring and very different operas, each at around the cost of a movie ticket."

Details of the upcoming Houston Grand Opera productions are provided below, and more information is available at the company's website: HGO.org. All repertoire, dates, pricing, productions, and casting are subject to change without notice.


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