HOUSTON—October 30, 2023—Houston Grand Opera (HGO) is proud to announce its partnership with Apple Music Classical, Apple Music’s new app designed to provide classical music lovers with the ultimate listening experience. The partnership represents a historic opportunity for HGO to share its world-class music-making with a broader audience than ever before.
“As an international company serving an international city, one that each season hosts singers and musicians of peerless artistry, we invite you to join us from around the globe,” says HGO General Director and CEO Khori Dastoor. “Today, we are thrilled to expand our programming to a worldwide audience through our strong new partnership with Apple, whose commitment to excellence and innovation is in perfect alignment with our own long history.”
HGO is the second American opera company to join forces with the brand. As part of the new partnership, the company will be presenting new recordings of classic and contemporary operas from current and future seasons alongside special remastered releases from its rich back catalogue, which spans decades and includes history-making productions such as Treemonisha (1975) and Porgy and Bess (1976).
The company’s first new release on the platform is a Spatial Audio remastered recording of HGO’s iconic 2011 production of Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Dead Man Walking, conducted by HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers and starring mezzo-sopranos Joyce DiDonato and Frederica von Stade. Released with Erato/Warner Classics, the album has been remastered in Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos for an unparalleled immersive, multidimensional listening experience. HGO’s remastered version—the only Spatial Audio recording of the work, the most performed American opera of the 21st century—became available to audiences exclusively on Apple Music Classical on October 27, 2023.
HGO’s artistic leadership selected Dead Man Walking as its inaugural release on Apple Music Classical to honor its longstanding relationship with Heggie, the country’s leading opera composer. The company has commissioned four of the ten full-scale operas in Heggie’s body of work, including Intelligence, his new opera with librettist Gene Scheer and director/choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, which made its world premiere on October 20, launching HGO’s 2023-24 season. Dead Man Walking recently opened the Metropolitan Opera’s new season.
Going forward, a host of planned spatial recordings of major performances and company-commissioned additions to the repertoire will build upon HGO’s exciting catalogue on Apple Music Classical. Offerings will include this season’s Intelligence, as well as two operas from last season: Massenet’s Werther, with mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard as Charlotte and tenor Matthew Polenzani in the title role, and Javier Martínez and Leonard Foglia’s HGO-commissioned mariachi opera, El Milagro del Recuerdo. Also upcoming is a new Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos release of HGO’s 2019 recording of Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas, another company-commissioned world premiere (1996), starring soprano Ana María Martínez in the title role.
HGO plans to use the Apple Music Classical platform to further engage audiences at home and abroad through curated playlists and, in a future season, podcasts. The company will launch the new partnership with playlists that draw upon HGO’s vast trove of incredible productions from its history and shine a spotlight on great performances by alumni of its prestigious training program for emerging artists, the Sarah and Ernest Butler Houston Grand Opera Studio.
Apple launched Apple Music Classical, a standalone streaming app available to all Apple Music subscribers, in March 2023. It is the world’s largest repository of classical music and offers the most dynamic sonic experience available to listeners, complete with unrivaled search capabilities and an interface designed for enjoying classical music to the fullest. For more information on downloading Apple Music Classical and accessing HGO content, click here.