Seeking the Human Spirit 2017–2023

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.


  • 3 mainstage operas per season, united by a single theme.  One of them will be a new work.

  • Projects created by HGO and partner organizations to enhance and enrich the community’s experience of the themes.

  • Some activities will be available to the public; others will be for groups such as hospital patients, women who are rebuilding their lives after homelessness, and young people pursuing interfaith projects.

 Upcoming Events

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

- HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers


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

Verdi: La traviata Fall 2017
Albina Shagimuratova as Violetta
Eun Sun Kim, conductor
Arin Arbus, director

Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek: The House without a Christmas Tree • December 2017
World Premiere
Heidi Stober as Adelaide Mills
James Robinson, director

Bellini: Norma • Spring 2018
Liudmyla Monastyrska as Norma
Jamie Barton as Adalgisa
Kevin Newbury, director

The 2018–19 mainstage operas, will speak to the theme of “Transformation”:

Wagner: The Flying Dutchman • Fall 2018
Andrzej Dobber as the Dutchman
Rachel Willis-Sørensen as Senta
Kristinn Sigmundsson as Daland
Tomer Zvulun, director

Catán: Florencia en el Amazonas • Winter 2019
Ana María Martínez as Florencia
Francesca Zambello, director

Tarik O’Regan and John Caird: The Phoenix • Spring 2019
World Premiere
Thomas Hampson as Lorenzo Da Ponte
Luca Pisaroni as Young Lorenzo Da Ponte 

Handel: Saul

Donizetti: La favorite

R. Strauss: Salome

Wagner: Tannhäuser

Adam Guettel: world premiere based on H.G. Wells’s The Invisible Man


Original book for Storybook Opera • Fall 2017
Dennis Arrowsmith/ Eduard Hakobyan: The Armadillo’s Dream

Veterans Songbook Capstone • Fall 2017
Tom Cipullo: Glory Denied
Veterans Songbook Final Concert
An Evening with Tom Philpott, author of Glory Denied

Serial Opera pilot • April 2018
Avner Dorman/Stephanie Fleischmann: Star-Cross’d

La traviata
La traviata

SACRIFICE: A young woman agrees to give up the man she loves to save his honor.

The House without a Christmas Tree
The House without a Christmas Tree

SACRIFICE: A daughter forgoes the Christmas tree she deeply desires in order to obey her father and help another family.

07:30 PM
02:00 PM
07:30 PM
07:30 PM
07:30 PM

SACRIFICE: A high priestess makes the ultimate sacrifice when she is forced to choose between love and duty.

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


Houston Methodist/Center for Performing Arts Medicine

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Jung Center, Houston

The Rothko Chapel

The Women’s Home/Institute for Spirituality and Health

Sacred Sites Quest

With a special thanks to our Major Donors

Mr. and Mrs. Oscar S. Wyatt Jr.

Dian Graves Owen Foundation

The Wortham Foundation, Inc.

Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation

Mr. John G. Turner and Mr. Jerry G. Fischer

Louisa Stude Sarofim Foundation

Mr. and Mrs. Byron Dyer

OPERA America

Mr. and Mrs. Donald G. Sweeney

Mr. and Mrs. Gabriel Loperena

Mrs. Pat Breen

The Alkek and Williams Foundation