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Houston Grand Opera Announces A New Outdoor Performance And Additions To Digital Season

A virtual concert featuring Trinidadian soprano Jeanine De Bique and the HGO Orchestra is now also set for May

Houston Grand Opera Announces A New Outdoor Performance And Additions To Digital Season

Houston Grand Opera has announced the company's return to live, in-person performance at a special outdoor event, as well as the extension of HGO Digital, the Sarah and Ernest Butler Performance Series, with new virtual content. HGO Digital is available to stream on Marquee TV, an on-demand streaming platform dedicated to global arts and culture.

My Favorite Things: Songs from The Sound of Music, a socially distanced, outdoor singalong to be held at the University of Houston's TDECU Stadium, represents the company's exciting return to live performance after more than a year without gathering with its audiences.

HGO had to cancel Rodgers and Hammerstein II's The Sound of Music, along with the rest of its 2020-21 season, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the organization had to cancel spring's Opera Ball, its largest fundraising event, for the second year in a row. But on May 8, 2021, HGO will present My Favorite Things: Songs from The Sound of Music, a singalong and fundraiser featuring members of the principal cast from the full production including Trinidadian soprano Jeanine De Bique as Maria and baritone Michael Mayes as Captain von Trapp, as well as the HGO Chorus and Orchestra. De Bique had been scheduled to make her HGO debut in The Sound of Music opposite Mayes, who was last seen at HGO in the 2019-20 season as Rigoletto.

Joining forces with The University of Houston, the organization will offer a fun participatory experience for the entire family to enjoy. Concurrent to the singalong at the university's TDECU Stadium, the company will host a special socially distanced fundraising event for supporters. Tickets for patrons and subscribers open on Thursday, March 11; and general seats go on sale March 17, visit HGO.org for more details. For special events tickets, visit HGO.org/FavoriteThings. A limited number of free tickets will be made available to frontline workers and teachers at a later date.

The safety of guests, talent, crew, and staff is the top priority for both HGO and University of Houston. They will continue to monitor COVID-19 in Texas ahead of this event. Safety standards to be put in place include social distancing, a mask requirement, and sanitation stations, among other measures. Attending any public event means assuming risk related to exposure to COVID-19.

"I could not be more excited to reunite at University of Houston with our audiences this May," said HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers. "While the HGO Digital season has shown us, brilliantly, how much the virtual realm has to offer, there is nothing in this world like being in the physical presence of incredible operatic voices. I've missed it so much, and I know our audiences have too. But this time, opera artists won't be the only ones singing. We'll all be joining together, singing these iconic songs that celebrate unity and perseverance. I can think of nothing more appropriate after all this time apart."

"HGO is one of the world's great opera companies, and we couldn't be more excited for them to be partnering with the University of Houston on this event," Andrew Davis, Founding Dean of the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts. "We are just as excited about their return to live performance as we know they are."

In addition to starring in the singalong, De Bique will join the HGO Orchestra, conducted by Summers, for Jeanine De Bique: In Concert, an evening of works by Handel and Mozart. The virtual concert will be available to stream on May 14 at 7:30 p.m. CST.

Summers added, "I have been eager for many years to welcome Jeanine to HGO. Her artistry is dazzling, and her command of Handel and Mozart is something I cannot wait for HGO audiences to experience."

In lieu of its canceled in-person 2020-21 season, HGO developed the alternative virtual season, HGO Digital, to share free content with its audiences over the past year. After receiving an overwhelming amount of positive feedback on this initiative, the organization has decided to extend the HGO Digital season with additional performances. Each program is available for 30 days after the original air date.

"I am constantly in awe of the resilience of this company," said HGO Acting Chief Operating Officer Molly Dill. "Not having live performances has been devastating, but also allowed us to expand artistically and bring opera to audiences in a whole new way. We're so proud of the entire HGO Digital season."

In April, beloved soprano, HGO Studio alumna, and Houstonian Nicole Heaston joins the lineup for HGO Digital's Live from The Cullen recital series with a program of spirituals and classic songs from American composers such as Aaron Copland, Carlisle Floyd, and George Gershwin. The recital will be available to stream on April 9 at 7:30 p.m. CST. Learn more at HGO.org/LivefromTheCullen.

Also in April, the HGO Digital series will feature chamber opera Marian's Song. The company's 68th world premiere, Marian's Song was commissioned by HGOco and composed by Damien Sneed to a libretto by Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton, Houston's poet laureate emeritus. Marian's Song made its debut in March 2020, just before the pandemic forced stages to go dark. Offering an innovative fusion of opera, spoken word, and multimedia projections, the work brings contralto Marian Anderson's storied life-including her celebrated career and social justice efforts-to center stage.

For the new filmed version, HGO Studio alumna Zoie Reams reprises the role of Marian Anderson and spoken word poet Tina B. again portrays Neveah. Marian's Song will be available to stream on April 30 at 7:30 p.m. More information can be found at HGO.org/Marian.

In May HGO will make its much anticipated 2021-22 season announcement. The company expects to make a triumphant return to The Wortham Theater Center to open its new season in October. HGO is hard at work creating a thrilling lineup of incredible opera for Houston, while developing safety protocols to ensure the wellbeing of audiences, staff, and artists returning to the company's home theater.

In partnership with Houston Public Media, the organization's historic broadcast initiative continues through June 2021. Listeners have two opportunities each week to enjoy broadcasts of past HGO performances: Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 1 p.m. Additionally, users can stream the broadcasts at HGO.org/Radio.

To learn more about Houston Grand Opera, visit HGO.org.


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