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World Premiere

The Snowy Day

Dec. 9 - Dec 19

Let yourself take a snow day

Relive the joy and wonder of childhood with a story as fresh and lovely as a new coat of snow. Ezra Jack Keats’s award-winning, ever-popular work from 1962, The Snowy Day, was the first mainstream children’s book to feature a Black boy as its protagonist. The story comes to life for the holidays in this anticipated world premiere opera from the brilliant creative duo of composer Joel Thompson and librettist Andrea Davis Pinkney. Join Peter, a young boy out exploring the city alone for the first time, as he experiences the delights of crunching, sliding, and playing in a fresh snowfall and, along the way, learns some truths about life. HGO Studio artist and soprano Raven McMillon takes on the role of Peter, and director Omer Ben Seadia brings the wonder and magic of the boy’s wintry world to life. HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers conducts.

Music by Joel Thompson, libretto by Andrea Davis Pinkney, based on the children’s picture book by Ezra Jack Keats. Opera initially conceived in collaboration with Julia Bullock.

Performance Dates: 

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Friday, December 10, 2021

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Sunday, December 12m, 2021

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Friday, December 17, 2021

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Sunday, December 19m, 2021

  • Price Range
    $20 - $210
  • Age
    Appropriate for all ages.
  • Running Time
    1 hour
  • Language
    Sung in English with projected English text.

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Cast & Creative

Villalon Headshot
Elena Villalón

Amy / Ensemble

PH Slack.2021CROP
Karen Slack

Mama / Ensemble

Newton Headshot
Nicholas Newton

Daddy / Tim / Ensemble

Acosta Headshot Jessica Osber Photography Scaled
Andres Acosta

Papi / Jasper / Ensemble

Ricardo Garcia
Ricardo Garcia

Ensemble / (Papi / Jasper - Alt. Cast - 12/15, 12/16)

Mcgee Headshot
Cory McGee

Billy / Ensemble

Creative Team
Composer Joel Thompson Crop
Joel Thompson


Patrick Summers 092314 Adj Cmyk Crop Hr
Patrick Summers


Omer.Ben .Seadia.200X250 1
Omer Ben Seadia


Amy Rubin Headshot
Amy Rubin

Set Designer

Jahn, Jessica Headshot1 2018
Jessica Jahn

Costume Designer

Michael James Clark

Lighting Designer

Courtney D. Jones


JJ Headshot 2

Jeremy Johnson


Houston Grand Opera Orchestra

What People Are Saying

“The fact that it’s still around — and picture books are like lettuce in the grocery store, they disappear so fast — the fact that it’s still with us is something,” said Newbery and National Book Award winner Katherine Paterson, who is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. “It’s so important for a child to be able to say, ‘There I am in the book,’ ” said Paterson, whose daughters are Chinese and Native American. “That’s been a wonderful change, even in the lifetime of my children, who are in their 40s now.” 


- The Washington Post, 2012 


New York Public Library books have been circulating among New York City homes for 125 years. Now the library system, the largest of its kind in the United States, has crunched the numbers to come up with the 10 most checked-out books in its history. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, more than half are books for children or young readers. No. 1 is “The Snowy Day,” Ezra Jack Keats’s picture book that is one of the first to depict an African-American boy, which has been checked out 485,583 times. 


- The New York Times, 2020 

Safety Remains Our Top Priority

The safety of our staff, cast, technicians, and audiences remains HGO’s first consideration as we plan our upcoming season. While there will be some changes, including the need for flexibility in seating options for the Fall Repertoire, we hope to return to normalcy—or close to it—by the holidays.   

We are grateful to have wonderful partners in Houston Methodist, who have graciously agreed to guide us as we establish safety protocols. In addition, we have consulted prominent physicians and are working in accordance with world health provider recommendations.

For more information on the measures HGO is implementing for live performances please review our safety page.

Learn More

Production Sponsors

  • Robin Angly and Miles Smith

  • Sara and Bill Morgan

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Grand Underwriters
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  • Rini and Edward Ziegler

  • The Powell Foundation

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  • Ms. Kiana K. Caleb and Mr. Troy L. Sullivan

  • Cynthia and Anthony Petrello

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