• Puccini: La bohème
    Photography by Felix Sanchez

  • Puccini: La bohème – NEW PRODUCTION!
    Brown Theater | Sung in Italian with projected English translation.

    Houston Grand Opera’s 2012-13 season opens with a new production of La bohème, directed by John Caird and featuring designs by Olivier Award winning designer, David Farley. Starring Dimitri Pittas as the poet Rodolfo and Katie Van Kooten as the seamstress Mimi, Puccini’s soaring, lyrical masterwork will be conducted by American conductor Evan Rogister.

    An honorary associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and principal guest director of the Royal Dramatic Theatre, Stockholm, Caird has directed plays, operas, and musicals from the West End to Broadway. He has been named HGO’s Lynn Wyatt Great Artist for the 2012-13 season.

    Katie Van Kooten, who makes an important role debut in April 2012 as Elizabeth I in HGO’s production of Mary Stuart, won great acclaim in London for her appearances at the Royal Opera as Mimi. The Guardian noted, “She sings Mimi in a substantial soprano with a metallic glint that cuts effortlessly through the orchestra. She’s at her best pouring despair and resolve into her description of her failing love affair.”

    A native New Yorker, Dimitri Pittas received acclaim for his debut with HGO last season as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor. “In his HGO debut, [Pittas] demonstrated youthful energy and passion that was just right for Edgardo.”(Opera News.) Pittas has recently made several important debuts, including Macduff with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and the Bayerische Staatsoper, as Alfredo Germont in La traviata with Deutsche Oper Berlin, and a role debut as Rodolfo in La bohème at the Metropolitan Opera.

    Heidi Stober, American soprano and alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, will sing the sassy Musetta. A principal artist of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Stober made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Hansel and Gretel in 2011. During the 2011 season, she also debuted with SanFrancisco Opera singing the role of Sophie in Werther, followed by Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro. Last seen in Houston as Atalanta in Xerxes, she won praise for her “ample, agile, gleaming soprano.” (Dallas Morning News.) Roles at HGO have included Blonde in The Abduction from the Seraglio, Drusilla in The Coronation of Poppea, Xenia in Boris Godunov, Norina in Don Pasquale, and La China in the world premiere of Catán’s Salsipuedes. For Deutsche Oper, Stober has sung many leading roles, including Micaëla in Carmen, Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel, Oscar in Un ballo in maschera, and Nanetta in Falstaff.

    Marcello, Musetta’s on-again, off-again lover, will be sung by Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins. He recently sang the role of Mercutio in Dallas Opera’s Romeo and Juliet, receiving high praise: “Hopkins is the vocal standout, his baritone bold and bright.” (Dallas Morning News.) An alumnus of HGO’s Studio, Hopkins has made many important debuts including the role of Ping in Turandot for the Metropolitan Opera as well as Papageno in The Magic Flute for Santa Fe Opera. This season he will be singing the role of Junius in HGO’s new production of The Rape of Lucretia.

    Making his HGO debut as the philosopher Colline will be South African bass-baritone Vuyani Mlinde. A graduate of London’s Royal College of Music, he joined the Jette Parker Young Artist program at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2009. He recently sang at Oper Frankfurt in productions of Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Carlo, Die Zauberflöte and Tosca.

    Singing the composer Schaunard is HGO Studio alumnus, American bass-baritone Michael Sumuel. He recently made his debut with the San Francisco Opera in the world premiere of Heart of a Soldier and this year, will make his European debut as Schaunard at the 2012 Glyndebourne Festival Opera.

    Conductor Evan Rogister is a protégé of Patrick Summers, and is generating great excitement among observers of young conducting talent. For the past two years, this HGO Studio alumnus has worked at the Deutsche Oper Berlin under where he conducted such repertoire as Otello, Rienzi, Die Zauberflöte, La bohème, and Manon Lescaut. This season, he will conduct Tannhäuser, Hänsel und Gretel, La traviata, Carmen, and Die Zauberflöte for Deutsche Oper.

    A co-production with Canadian Opera Company.
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