October 23 - November 14 2015: Tosca
October 30- November 13 2015: Eugene Onegin
December 4-20 2015: The Little Prince
January 23- February 8 2016: Le Nozze di Figaro
January 29- February 12 2016 : Rusalka
March 5-13 2016: Prince of Players
April 16- May 1 2016: Siegfried
April 22- May 7 2016: Carousel
Houston Grand Opera
October 23 - November 14 2015: Tosca
October 24 - November 7 2014: Otello
October 31- November 15 2014: Così fan tutte
December 5-21 2014: A Christmas Carol
January 23- February 8 2015: Madame Butterfly
January 30- February 15 2015 : The Magic Flute
April 18- May 3 2015: Die Walküre
April 24- May 9 2015: Sweeney Todd
October 19 - November 10 2012: La bohème
October 26- November 11 2012: L'italiana in Algeri
January 18- February 10 2013: Show Boat
January 25- February 10 2013 : Don Giovanni
April 18- May 5 2013: Tristan und Isolde
April 26- May 11 2013: Il Trovatore
Patrick Summers (pictured left) has been named Artistic and Music Director of Houston Grand Opera. Summers is also the Principal Guest Conductor of the San Francisco Opera. Perryn Leech will become the company's Managing Director.
October 21 - November 6 2011: Il barbiere di Siviglia
October 28- November 13 2011: Fidelio
January 27- February 12 2012: La Traviata
February 3-11 2012 : The Rape of Lucretia
April 13- 28 2012: Don Carlos
April 21- May 4 2012: Maria Stuarda
Nathan Gunn sings the title role in Barbiere with Ana María Martínez as Rosina and Lawrence Brownlee as Almaviva. Karita Mattila stars in Fidelio. David Lomelí sings in La Traviata opposite Albina Shagimuratova. Michelle DeYoung sings Lucretia, Brandon Jovanovich is Don Carlos, and Joyce DiDonato is Maria Stuarda.
* Notes *
Händel's Serse had a strong opening yesterday evening at Houston Grand Opera. The production, from the English National Opera, is entertaining, and features astroturf as a main stage element. The chorus seemed to all be painted grey, and the supernumeraries white. During the overture, the principals are introduced in turn, with the names of the characters projected on a scrim. Though a diversion from the music, one imagines this is quite helpful to the audience, given how convoluted the plot of Serse is.
The orchestra, conducted by William Lacey, played nimbly, the overtures of Act I and III were spirited. "Ombra mai fù" was taken rather slowly. There were some moments when things seemed a bit awry, as in the Sinfonia of Act I, or at the the end of Act II. The chorus, on the other hand, sounded vivid and together.
Before the performance began, it was announced that Susan Graham, who is singing the title role, was feeling unwell, and begged our indulgence. She still sounded pure and clear, and she sang very beautifully. There were a few times her voice was rather quiet, or her low notes were off, but these were minor distractions. Her Act II Scene 10 aria, "Il core spera e teme" was especially fine. Laura Claycomb was convincing as Romilda, her voice is icily lovely, and though she has a lot of vibrato in her high tessitura, it is not unpleasant to the ear. She sang wonderfully with David Daniels (Arsamenes), their duet in Act III was amusing. Daniels also sang his Act II aria superbly. Sonia Prina's rich, warm voice was appropriate for Amastre, and was a nice respite from all the high voices. Heidi Stober was exceedingly funny as Atalante, and she too had a good warmth. Philip Cutlip and Adam Cioffari, in the bass roles of Ariodate and Elviro, respectively, both were hilarious.
* Tattling *
There was talking and whispering, but it was mostly reserved for when no one was singing. It was more unfortunate that the applause made some of the music inaudible. One cellular phone rang just before Act I, another just before Act II, and yet another at the beginning of the last aria of Act II.
October 23 - November 7 2009: L'Elisir d'Amore
October 30- November 15 2009: Lohengrin
January 22- February 7 2010: Tosca
January 29- February 13 2010 : Turn of the Screw
April 16- May 1 2010: The Queen of Spades
April 30- May 14 2010: Xerxes
Patricia Racette sings the title role in Tosca opposite of Marcus Haddock. Susan Graham and David Daniels star in Xerxes.
The world premiere of Jake Heggie's Last Acts (Three Decembers) occurred on Leap Day at Houston Grand Opera, the first of eight performances. The reviews do not look favorable so far, laughter was mentioned, as was Broadway. The same cast is set to sing when the production comes to Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley at the end of the year.
October 17- November 1 2008: Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci
October 30- November 14 2008: Beatrice and Benedict
January 23- February 6 2009: A Midsummer Night's Dream
January 30- February 6 2009: Chorus!
April 17- May 2 2009: Rigoletto
May 1-9 2009: Brief Encounter
Next season, Elizabeth Futral and Nathan Gunn sing in the world premiere of André Previn's Brief Encounter. Dolora Zajick sings Santuzza in Cavalleria and Brandon Jovanovich has his HGO debut as Turiddu. The lineup is oddly devoid of Puccini, and is quite complementary to Dallas Opera's season.