Skip to main content



A six-year multidisciplinary initiative designed to highlight the universal spiritual themes raised in opera and to expand and deepen Houstonians’ connections to opera and to art.

"Opera takes the human spirit in this grand cathartic way and sings it back to you."

-HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers


Carmen, The Snowy Day, The Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Turandot. 

In each opera, the protagonist faces a choice: fulfill their self-image of strength of character or succumb to their insecurity or social pressures. What grounds each of these decisions? Is it faith, community, morality, or self-determination?  Through this coming season’s programs, we seek to help our audience explore their relationship to character and deepen their connection to the characters of this season.

HGO launched Seeking the Human Spirit in 2017–18 season with three works tied to the theme of “Sacrifice”: 

Verdi: La traviata • Fall 2017 

Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek: The House without a Christmas Tree • December 2017
World Premiere

Bellini: Norma • Spring 2018

HGO continued Seeking the Human Spirit in 2018–19 season with three works tied to the theme of “Transformation”: 

Wagner: The Flying Dutchman • Fall 2018

Catán: Florencia en el Amazonas • Winter 2019

Tarik O'Regan and John Caird: The Phoenix • Spring 2019
World Premiere

The 2019–20 season focused on the theme of “Identity”:

Handel: Saul • Fall 2019

Javier Martínez & Leonard Foglia: El Milagro del Recuerdo / The Miracle of Remembering • Holiday 2019
World Premiere

Donizetti: La favorite • Winter 2020

Mozart: The Magic Flute • Spring 2020

Events and Programs


For the 2021-2022 Season, Seeking the Human Spirit events will focus of the theme CHARACTER.



Programs listed below are not public events.

The Women's Home/ The Institute for Spirituality & Health at Texas Medical Center 

The Courage to Search - a 14-week spiritual exploration program supporting women in recovery. HGO facilitates an empathy workshop, lunch time recital and Q&A by a mainstage artist. Participants attend one performance of an HGO mainstage opera.

Houston Methodist

Music Therapy Program residency working with residents in the Psychiatric short term care unit. HGO Studio Artists or HGOco Teaching Artists will work with program therapists to integrate song into recovery care and self-management. The 3-day residencies will also take place in December, February, and May .

Past Events and Programs

Through the Lens: Identity in the 21st Century
While we were sad to cancel our Through the Lens winner's reception, we are pleased to offer the grand prize to FAMILY SECRETS, and honorable mention to DUALITY OF BELLS. Both short films were created by students from the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston.

Songs on the Water
Our popular Songs on the Water recital series was postponed.

Happy Birthday, Marian!
February 27, 2020- 6:30pm
Emancipation Park

Members of the public experienced a candlelight labyrinth by Reginald Adams, music excerpts and spoken word from Marian's Song to honor the celebrated singer Marian Anderson.

Through the Lens: Identity in the 21st Century
Film shorts exploring identity through music and media by students from The Art Institute of Houston, Houston Community College, University of Houston, and Jack Yates High School
April 23, 2020- 7pm
Hines Building, 1100 Louisiana Street

The Arts of Intimacy
January 16, 2020- 6:30pm

Brown Auditorium Theater, Law Building
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Free and open to the public

Inspired by Houston Grand Opera’s winter production of La favorite, join us for an evening of lecture, music, art and poetry from 14th c. Castilian culture. Rice University professor Dr. Maya Soifir-Irish will provide context on the history and interfaith relations of the period that will also feature performances by Houston Poet Laureate Leslie Contreras Schwartz, writer and artist Tamara Al-Qaisi-Coleman, soprano Chabrelle Williams, Michael Fares, oud, and Kyle Comer, guitar.

Celebrate Houston's multi-cultural identity with three Holiday Concerts

A celebration of music, art and poetry at the crossroad of culture, identity and faith in 14th century Spain.
Free and open to the public

This Holiday season Houston Grand Opera partners with MECA (Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts), Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Discovery Green®, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir and AFA Houston Girls Choir for multi-cultural concerts that celebrate Houston’s Diversity.

Fiesta Guadalupana 

Date: December 11, 2019 - 9pm
Where: Our Lady of Guadalupe Church- 2405 Navigation Blvd. Houston TX 77003

Date: December 12, 2019 - 6 pm
Where: MECA- 1900 Kane Street Houston TX 77007

Carols on the Green - Celebrating the Season in Song

Date: December 14, 2019 - 7 pm
Where: Anheuser-Busch Stage, Discovery Green® 1500 McKinney Street Houston TX 77010

Exploring Your Creative Identity
HGO's new adult learning course for 55+

This workshop includes 8 sessions:

This workshop includes 8 sessions:
- September 10 | 10:00 AM - 11:45 AM
- September 17 | 10:00 AM - 11:45 AM
- September 24 | 10:00 AM - 11:45 AM
- October 1 | 10:00 AM - 11:45 AM
- October 8 | 10:00 AM - 11:45 AM
- October 15 | 10:00 AM - 11:45 AM
- October 19 | 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
- October23 | 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

The course is $300.00 and sessions cannot be purchased individually.

Inspired by HGO’s Transforming the Mind & Spirit: An Exploration of Creativity event, we will continue the journey through our Seeking the Human Spirit Initiative in fall 2019.

This new course will provide participants opportunities to discover and cultivate a variety of creative practices while collectively producing an original work of art based on the initiative’s theme IDENTITY. Singing, song composition, improvisatory acting, creative writing, and expressive movement sessions led by industry professionals will take participants through the creative process.

This course also includes access to mainstage dress rehearsals of HGO’s fall repertoire (Rigoletto and Saul) and a backstage tour. A final presentation of the created work, presented prior to the final dress rehearsal of Saul, completes this engaging learning adventure.

No previous experience required.

How Identity Ages
A panel discussion inspired by Saul

Thursday, October 10 | 7:00 PM-8:30 PM
Albert and Ethel Herzstein Theater, Holocaust Museum Houston
5401 Caroline Street, Houston, TX 77004
Free, but registration required.

Parking available on site for $8.

Houston Grand Opera and the Holocaust Museum Houston partner for a panel discussion about the impact of aging on our identity, personal agency and mental health.

Transforming the Mind & Spirit: An Exploration of Creativity with Mauro Ferrari, Maestro Patrick Summers and Invited guests
May 20, 2019 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
MATCH 4, 3400 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002

The 2018–19 community events for Seeking the Human Spirit culminate on May 20 with Transforming the Mind and Spirit: An Exploration of Creativity with Mauro Ferrari, HGO’s Patrick Summers, and invited guests who will discuss the various components of creativity, including mathematics, science, visual arts, music, mysticism, and mental health.

Fine Art and Mozart’s Beautiful Music Combine to Explore Women Rights throughout History
April 18, 2019 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
1001 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77005
Meet the Master Gallery Educator in the entry lobby to the Audrey Jones Beck Building. Tours will begin promptly at 6:30PM and 7:30PM or you can join the group in process.

HGO partners with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for Women Transformed through Art & Opera, a walking tour and recital reimagining Mozart and Da Ponte’s heroines in the opera Don Giovanni. Master Gallery Educator Luann Turley will lead guests to selected artwork in the museum that correlate to the opera’s three female characters, providing context that allows the audience to reflect upon the role of women in society from the time the opera premiered in 1787 to modern day. At each gallery an excerpt from the opera will be performed. Featured singers include Gwendolyn Alfred, Cecilia Duarte and Alisa Magallón accompanied by Kirill Kuzmin.

Free to the public. No registration required.

Panel Discussion—Don Giovanni and the #MeToo Movement
April 10, 2019 | 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Free and open to the public
Registration required

Rehearsal Room 4 (Enter at 510 Preston Street)
510 Preston Street, Houston, TX 77002

Join HGO for a conversation moderated by Carleen Graham, director of HGOco, about the impact of the #MeToo movement on the performing arts and the ways in which traditional opera is approached due to changing societal views. Attendees may choose to stay for the Don Giovanni piano dress rehearsal at 7:30 p.m.


  • Fleurette Fernando, M.A. in Arts Leadership Program Director, University of Houston
  • Kasper Holten, Don Giovanni Director
  • Alecia Lawyer, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra Executive Director
  • Eileen Morris, Ensemble Theater Artistic Director
  • Patrick Summers, HGO Artistic and Music Director

I, Don Giovanni: Film Screening
April 9, 2019 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Italian Cultural & Community Center
1101 Milford Street, Houston, TX 77006

The Houston Grand Opera and the Italian Cultural and Community Center present the film Io, Don Giovanni (I, Don Giovanni) about the life of Lorenzo da Ponte, his relationship with Mozart, and the creation of the opera Don Giovanni. The film also underscores the parallels between the life of Da Ponte and the character he and Mozart brought to life so vividly. A short discussion with HGO dramaturge Jeremy Johnson will follow the screening.

Wine and light bites will be served.

For more details, click HERE.

Songs on the Water
March 23 & 24, 2019 4:00 PM & 6:00 PM
Allen's Landing
1001 Commerce Street, Houston, TX 77002

Join us for Songs on the Water, a boat cruise à la Florencia en el Amazonas. Buffalo Bayou will stand in for the Amazon River on this 90-minute journey that includes a recital by artists of the HGO Studio, wine, and light bites. HGO joins Buffalo Bayou Partnership in presenting this unique event, which is part of the Partnership’s re-activation of the waterways post–Hurricane Harvey. It will be an enchanting musical experience for those on the boat as well as passers-by. 

Visit for dates and tickets. Admission $75. For more details, click HERE.

Museum of Fine Arts Houston Book Club
November 2018

Join the MFAH online bookclub and read “Love in the Time of Cholera” at your own pace. The novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez was one of Daniel Catan’s sources of inspiration as he composed “Florencia en el Amazonas”, one of HGO’s winter productions.

Visit for details about the program. 

Presentation: Der Fliegende Holländer: Transformation of the Fallen Soul
October 17, 7:30 PM
Jung Center, 5200 Montrose Blvd, 713-524-8253

Richard Wagner’s opera The Flying Dutchman provides opportunities to explore the notion of archetype, how it works in everyday life, and the ways it is reflected in great works of art, especially opera. The Flying Dutchman tells the story of a sea captain, cursed to perpetually sail the seas until he finds redemption in human love. A major theme is transformation, and we will explore several different aspects of the transformative process through archetypal motifs, including the fall, call, journey, wanderer, anima, separation, and redemption.

Transforming the Spirit Through Song
December 15, 2018, 7 PM
Discovery Green

Join members of the Houston Grand Opera Chorus and HGO Studio in a holiday sing-along led by HGOco Music Director and Composer-In-Residence Damien Sneed. Free and open to the public. Will coincide with Flea By Night and GUST - an interactive art installation created by Cocolab, a Mexico City-based studio for the Discovery Green Conservancy



"What I love about opera is that it connects us all...we are communicators, we are messengers. We are not the message."

-Ana MarÍa MartÍnez

Community Partnerships & Major Donors

1100 Louisiana/Fantome Tower L.P.

Reginald C. Adams

AFA Houston Girls Chorus

The Art Institute of Houston, Department of Media Arts

Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Discovery Green®

Emancipation Park Conservancy


Harris County Juvenile Detention Services

Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer

Holocaust Museum Houston

Houston Community College, Department of Media Arts

Houston Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine

Houston Playback Theater

The Institute of Spirituality and Health, Texas Medical Center

Jack Yates High School

Karen Stokes Dance

MECA—Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts

The Menninger Clinic

Mental Health America of Greater Houston

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church

Rice University, Department of Religion

St. John’s United Methodist Church, Downtown

The Women’s Home

University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication

VIP Arts Houston

Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir

Cookie Notice

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience on our site.

To find out more, view our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Back To Top Back to top