Houston Grand Opera Presents GIVING VOICE with Renowned Tenor Lawrence Brownlee

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Houston Grand Opera Presents GIVING VOICE with Renowned Tenor Lawrence Brownlee

Houston Grand Opera and world-renowned tenor Lawrence Brownlee bring together international stars J'Nai Bridges, Nicole Heaston, Reginald Smith Jr., Russell Thomas, Nicholas Newton and Kevin miller (piano) for a one-night only concert event. "Giving Voice: Lawrence Brownlee and Friends Sing Opera, Gospel, and Standards" was created to celebrate Houston's diverse community and showcases the power of voice and song. The intimate evening was the brainchild of Brownlee and Houston Grand Opera is proud to support this initiative. During the concert, audiences will be treated to a program that ranges from opera classics, to spirituals, gospel, and standards. All concert guests will be invited to mix and mingle with the artists following the performance.

Named 2017 "Male Singer of the Year" by both the International Opera Awards and Bachtrack, American-born Lawrence Brownlee has been hailed by The Guardian as "one of the world's leading Bel Canto stars." His voice has been praised by NPR as "an instrument of great beauty and expression...perfectly suited to the early nineteenth century operas of Rossini and Donizetti," ushering in "a new golden age in high male voices" (The New York Times). HGO roles include Nadir in The Pearl Fishers (2019); Belmonte in The Abduction from the Seraglio (2017) and Lindoro in The Italian Girl in Algiers (2012).

J'Nai Bridges, known for her "plush-voiced mezzo-soprano" (The New York Times), has been heralded as "a rising star" (Los Angeles Times), gracing the world's top stages. Her 2019-2020 operatic engagements in the U.S. this season include her debut at The Metropolitan Opera, singing the role of Nefertiti in Philip Glass' opera Akhnaten, and her house and role debut at Washington National Opera performing Dalila in Samson et Dalila.

HGO Studio alumna Nicole Heaston (1995-97) has appeared with opera companies throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Dallas Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Semperoper Dresden, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf, and the Glyndebourne Festival in England. She was most recently seen at HGO as Mimi in La boheme and Adina in The Elixir of Love (2016).

Tenor Reginald Smith, Jr., who made his much-anticipated debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Jim in Porgy and Bess to open the 2019-20 season, is singing the role of Amonasro in the upcoming Aida. His orchestral appearances include Christmas Pops Concerts with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Oregon Symphony. Future engagements include stage debuts with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Santa Fe Opera.

Tenor Russell Thomas, making his role debut as Radames in HGO's Aida, has been noted for a "heroically shining tone of gorgeously burnished power" (The New York Times). An alumnus of the young artist programs at the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, he has performed leading roles at some of the world's leading opera houses. These include the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, the English National Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Royal Opera House.

Nicholas Newton, current HGO Studio artist, won third prize at Concert of Arias 2019 and made his HGO debut this past fall in Rigoletto. Notable performances include the roles of Count Ceprano in Rigoletto and Capulet (cover) in Roméo et Juliette with Wolf Trap Opera, Achilla in Julius Caesar at Rice University, and L'arbre and Le fauteuil in L'enfant et les sortilèges at Aspen Music Festival under the baton of Robert Spano.

New York native Kevin J. Miller is a pianist and collaborator acclaimed for his dynamically artful performances. An in-demand recital accompanist, he works regularly with several top vocalists. He has an ongoing partnership with international tenor Joseph Calleja, with whom he has performed at the Club de musicale in Quebec City, the Harriman Jewel series in Kansas City MO, and at the Jordan Hall in Boston. He accompanied Calleja and Nadine Sierra at the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as an appearance with Calleja on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series.


Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020 at 5 p.m.; post-performance gathering to follow


Cullen Theater at the Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Ave.

Tickets range from $25 to $65, with student tickets at $15. Group tickets are on sale now at houstongrandopera.org. Contact Nicholas Berkley-Gough at nberkleygough@houstongrandopera.org to secure tickets for your group.

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