Houston Grand Opera Announces 2014-15 Season
Houston Grand Opera (HGO) announced today another bold season of firsts for 2014-15. As Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers and Managing Director Perryn Leech revealed, coming attractions include the world premiere of A Christmas Carolby Iain Bell-the company’s 55th new commission -from award-winning Dickens authority Simon Callow; the continuation of HGO’s firstRing cycle, with the North American premiere of La Fura dels Baus’s groundbreaking take on Die Walküre; the American premieres of Sir Nicholas Hytner’s Magic Flute and Lee Blakeley’s Sweeney Todd; and a host of career-shaping artistic role debuts that speak to Patrick Summers’s gift for casting. Together with the company’s first presentation of John Cox’s Otello, and the returns of Göran Järvefelt’s belovedCosì fan tutte and Michael Grandage’s hit staging of Madame Butterfly, these rich offerings serve once again to illustrate some of the ways that HGO-still the only opera company with two Grammys, two Emmys, and a Tony-epitomizes “one model of what a forward-looking opera company could be” (Greg Sandow, Arts Journal).
Houston Grand Opera has long taken the lead when it comes to creative casting. Just as it was HGO that presented Christine Goerke in her first major Wagnerian role, as Lohengrin‘s Ortrud, it is in Houston that the soprano will make her first U.S. appearances as Brünnhilde, alongside the first complete Sieglinde of Karita Mattila’s distinguished career and the resumption of Iain Paterson’s first staged portrayal of Wotan. Similarly, Stephen Costello, a favorite Verdi and Donizetti leading man, ventures into new waters with his professional role debut in Così fan tutte. The Magic Flute introduces Houston resident David Portillo in his house and role debuts as Tamino, Otello presents Tucker Award-winnerAilyn Pérez in her house and role debuts as Desdemona, and Madame Butterfly marks the U.S. operatic debut of Grammy Award-winning conductor Giancarlo Guerrero. Likewise Susan Bullock and Nicholas Phan- leading exponents of Wagner and Britten respectively-joinNathan Gunn in turning their talents to gallows humor with role debuts in Sweeney Todd, a celebration of the nation’s homegrown musical theater tradition that rounds out HGO’s compelling 2014-15 lineup.
As HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers explains, “What is most important to us as a company is presenting the broadest possible selection of repertoire performed by the best established and emerging artists in the world, and that’s what we kept in mind while planning this season. Telling stories through music and drama is at the very core of what we do, and this coming season explores many ways in which that can be accomplished. From classic works by Mozart, Wagner, and Verdi, to the wonderfully unique musical world of Stephen Sondheim and the much-anticipated world premiere by Iain Bell, HGO will continue to broaden the scope and meaning of opera for our audience.”
HGO Managing Director Perryn Leech adds: “With each new season we aim to embrace the longstanding operatic tradition, as seen in the second installment of our first Ring cycle. Presenting new works helps the art continue to flourish and evolve, as highlighted by the coming season’s production of A Christmas Carol by Iain Bell, which is just the first in a series of holiday-themed operas that we have commissioned. Our 2014-15 season will help us continue to grow our audience, reaching out especially to those who don’t yet have a relationship with opera. We believe the coming season’s productions will enable us to keep offering the thriving Houston community the cultural enrichment it both needs and deserves.”
Details of these upcoming Houston Grand Opera productions are provided below, and more information is available at the company’s web site:HGO.org.