• Houston Grand Opera's press area contains media resources including press releases, reviews, and production photography.
    For more information on the 2013-14 season, view the press pages below.

    Media inquiries: Christine Cantrell, Elmore Public Relations Inc., christine@elmorepr.com.

Press & Media
  • Houston Grand Opera Announces Another Season of Firsts for 2014–15

    2014-01-23

    Houston Grand Opera (HGO) announced today another bold season of firsts for 2014-15. As Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers and Managing Director Perryn Leech revealed, coming attractions include the world premiere of A Christmas Carol by Iain Bell-the company's 55th new commission - from award-winning Dickens authority Simon Callow; the continuation of HGO's first Ring cycle, with the North American premiere of La Fura dels Baus's groundbreaking take on Die Walküre; the American premieres of Sir Nicholas Hytner's Magic Flute and Lee Blakeley's Sweeney Todd; and a host of career-shaping artistic role debuts that speak to Patrick Summers's gift for casting. Together with the company's first presentation of John Cox's Otello, and the returns of Göran Järvefelt's beloved Così fan tutte and Michael Grandage's hit staging of Madame Butterfly, these rich offerings serve once again to illustrate some of the ways that HGO-still the only opera company with two Grammys, two Emmys, and a Tony-epitomizes "one model of what a forward-looking opera company could be" (Greg Sandow, Arts Journal).

    Houston Grand Opera has long taken the lead when it comes to creative casting. Just as it was HGO that presented Christine Goerke in her first major Wagnerian role, as Lohengrin's Ortrud, it is in Houston that the soprano will make her first U.S. appearances as Brünnhilde, alongside the first complete Sieglinde of Karita Mattila's distinguished career and the resumption of Iain Paterson's first staged portrayal of Wotan. Similarly, Stephen Costello, a favorite Verdi and Donizetti leading man, ventures into new waters with his professional role debut in Così fan tutteThe Magic Flute introduces Houston resident David Portillo in his house and role debuts as Tamino, Otello presents Tucker Award-winner Ailyn Pérez in her house and role debuts as Desdemona, and Madame Butterfly marks the U.S. operatic debut of Grammy Award-winning conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. Likewise Susan Bullock and Nicholas Phan - leading exponents of Wagner and Britten respectively - join Nathan Gunn in turning their talents to gallows humor with role debuts in Sweeney Todd, a celebration of the nation's homegrown musical theater tradition that rounds out HGO's compelling 2014-15 lineup.

    As HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers explains, "What is most important to us as a company is presenting the broadest possible selection of repertoire performed by the best established and emerging artists in the world, and that's what we kept in mind while planning this season. Telling stories through music and drama is at the very core of what we do, and this coming season explores many ways in which that can be accomplished. From classic works by Mozart, Wagner, and Verdi, to the wonderfully unique musical world of Stephen Sondheim and the much-anticipated world premiere by Iain Bell, HGO will continue to broaden the scope and meaning of opera for our audience."

    HGO Managing Director Perryn Leech adds: "With each new season we aim to embrace the longstanding operatic tradition, as seen in the second installment of our first Ring cycle. Presenting new works helps the art continue to flourish and evolve, as highlighted by the coming season's production of A Christmas Carol by Iain Bell, which is just the first in a series of holiday-themed operas that we have commissioned. Our 2014-15 season will help us continue to grow our audience, reaching out especially to those who don't yet have a relationship with opera. We believe the coming season's productions will enable us to keep offering the thriving Houston community the cultural enrichment it both needs and deserves."

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  • Recent Press Releases
    Many contemporary opera composers use recent history as a source for their work, but few are as close to their subjects as the creators of "The Passenger" (1968), an opera about Auschwitz, now in its U.S. premiere engagement at the Houston Grand Opera and scheduled for New York's Lincoln Center Festival in July. The opera is based on a novel by the Polish writer Zofia Posmysz, who spent three years as a prisoner in Auschwitz. The composer, Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919-1996), fled from Warsaw to Russia in 1939; his entire family died in the camps. Personal experience does not always translate into art, but "The Passenger" resounds with an authentic voice. It is a deeply humane and believable opera, told directly, without bombast or sentimentality.

    Houston Grand Opera today announced the finalists for the annual Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers Concert of Arias, to be presented in the Cullen Theater at the Wortham Theater Center on Thursday, January 30, at 7 p.m.  

    Nigel Redden, director of the Lincoln Center Festival, and Rebecca Robertson, President and Executive Producer, Park Avenue Armory, today announced that the two organizations will co-present The Passenger, Mieczyslaw Weinberg's uncompromising 1968 opera about the Holocaust, performed by Houston Grand Opera and directed by David Pountney, in its New York premiere performances July 10, 12 and 13 at Lincoln Center Festival 2014. Pountney's production will have its U.S. premiere on January 18, 2014 at Houston Grand Opera.
    In January 2014, Houston Grand Opera (HGO) presents the American premiere of The Passenger (1968), a powerful opera exploring the Holocaust by exiled Polish-Jewish composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg. Reinforcing the immense significance of this historic event, HGOco– Houston Grand Opera's community collaboration and education initiative–will present a series of concerts and films throughout the city, focused on remembrance of the past and prominent themes explored in the gripping story of genocide.
    On January 18, 2014, Houston Grand Opera (HGO) presents the American premiere of The Passenger (1968), a powerful Holocaust opera by exiled Polish-Jewish composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg. Based on a novel by Auschwitz survivor Zofia Posmysz, The Passenger was recognized as “a perfect masterpiece” by Shostakovich but was censored by the Soviet establishment and never performed in Weinberg's lifetime.
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