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Musings

  • Opera Camp Reflections
    Jul 18, 2017

    Summer break is a perfect time for kids to explore new activities they may not have the chance to experience in school or at home. And what better place to do so than summer camp!

  • Seeking the Human Spirit
    Jun 30, 2017

    On May 22, 2017, Houston Grand Opera (HGO) proudly announced the most ambitious artistic community initiative in its history: Seeking the Human Spirit (STHS). The six-year (2017–23) initiative strives to emphasize spiritual themes in opera, and thus expand and deepen Houstonians’ connections to opera and to art. 

  • Connecting Across the Centuries
    Mar 9, 2017

    Opera plumbs the depths like no other art. We need look no further than HGO’s 2017–18 season to reinforce that point. In Verdi’s La traviata, Bellini’s Norma, and Bernstein’s West Side Story, wrenching conflicts between passion and duty drive protagonists to make the ultimate sacrifice, and smoldering revenge drives the title character of Elektra to commit murder.

  • Before and After the World Premiere
    Dec 22, 2016

    Have you ever heard of Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne? Even the greatest composers have written works that do not succeed. That is one reason why opera companies and funders have taken an increasing interest in holding opera workshops during the creative process. 

  • Show on the Road
    Nov 18, 2016

    I recently heard that the two least popular music styles are rap and opera.  I’d say it’s because each requires active listening. At an opera performance, there is a hefty amount of information coming at you from the stage. So how do we make opera less intimidating?

  • Winging It—or Not—With Props
    Nov 7, 2016

    We always work to make even the smallest details of our props historically accurate because it helps the performers really believe in the world they are creating onstage. For the upcoming world premiere of It’s a Wonderful Life, we bought some historical bank deposit slips on eBay and Amazon. With computer technology we recreated them using the name of the bank that the main character, George Bailey, owned.

  • The Start of the Season
    Oct 17, 2016

    It’s not the sound of singers, although that is part of it. It’s not the return of familiar faces, although they are a part of it. It’s not the volume of laughter—although that is certainly a big part of it. All of these things signal the start of the season, and they are bound together with a creative energy that makes the whole building seem to hum.

  • Tie One On For Rudy
    Sep 21, 2016

    During the month of September HGO is celebrating the life of Rudy Avelar, the HGO's director of patron services, who passed away over the summer. For nearly 40 years Rudy was at every performance greeting patrons, making problems go away, and indulging his love of opera and its performers. 

  • A Summer of Opera Travels
    Aug 23, 2016

    This summer I had a lighter performance schedule than usual, which was exactly what was intended and needed after the demanding summit of Siegfried, which will remain one of the most joyous memories I’ve ever had as a conductor.

  • What’s in an HGO Wig?
    Aug 9, 2016

    “I don’t want them to notice,” says Dotti Staker, the Wig and Makeup Department head at Houston Grand Opera.