HGO's New Season

The end of The Ring Cycle and unconventional world premieres highlight new Houston Grand Opera season

End of The Ring, world premieres highlight Houston Grand Opera season

Houston Grand Opera Gotterdammerung
The highlight of the HGO season comes with the last installment of the Ring cycle, Götterdämmerung (The Twilight of the Gods), featuring a new generation of leading Wagnerians. Photo by Eva Ripoli
Houston Grand Opera Elixir of Love
The Houston Grand Opera season opens with Elixir of Love. Photo by Brian Tarr
It's a Wonderful Life Houston Grand Opera
 The creative team of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer tackle the holiday classic, It's A Wonderful Life.  Courtesy rendering
Houston Grand Opera Faust
The classic opera Faust returns to the HGO stage for the fist time in nine years, with a production that Francesca Zambello created for HGO in 1985. Photo by Jim Caldwell
Houston Grand Opera Nixon in China
A 30th anniversary production of John Adams' landmark opera, Nixon in China, is a highlight of Houston Grand Opera's new season. Photo by Michael Cooper
Houston Grand Opera Requiem
Verdi's Requiem is a Super Bowl alternative. Photo by Patrick Summers
Houston Grand Opera The Abduction from the Seraglio
The Abduction from the Seraglio will close Houston Grand Opera's 2016-17 season. Photo by George Hixson
Houston Grand Opera Gotterdammerung
Houston Grand Opera Elixir of Love
It's a Wonderful Life Houston Grand Opera
Houston Grand Opera Faust
Houston Grand Opera Nixon in China
Houston Grand Opera Requiem
Houston Grand Opera The Abduction from the Seraglio

The final chapter of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle and a 30th anniversary production of John Adams' landmark opera, Nixon in China, highlight Houston Grand Opera's 2016-17 season.

The lineup, announced Thursday, also includes two unconventional world premieres. The creative team of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer, known for such serious operas as Dead Man Walking and The End of the Affair, tackle the holiday classic, It's A Wonderful Life. And, the creation of the Rothko Chapel by Dominque de Menil is the basis for a new opera called Some Light Emerges as part of HGO’s community collaboration and education initiative, HGOco.

Such classics as Gounod’s Faust, featuring the HGO debut of international star tenor Michael Fabiano in the title role, Verdi’s Requiem, with soprano Angela Mea in her HGO debut, Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, led by English conductor Jane Glover in her first HGO appearance, and Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio, with Russian coloratura soprano and HGO Studio alumna Albina Shagimuratova, round out the 62nd season program.

In an attempt to draw a younger audience, HGO is launching a new subscription series for young people ages 25 and under, offering seven operas for $125, about the cost of an upscale movie ticket. For more information, go to HGO.org.

Here's a rundown of the season: 

The Elixir of Love (October 21 - November 4)

What's special: The HGO season opener is a crowd pleaser, with a colorful production, first created in 2001, that moves the comedy from a rural Italian village to the terrace of a Riveria resort, with hot-air balloons. And audiences will see the Houston debut of noted English conductor Jane Glover.

Faust (October 28–November 11) 

What's special: The classic opera returns to the HGO stage for the first time in nine years, with a production that Francesca Zambello created for HGO in 1985, featuring sets and costumes designed by Houston artist Earl Staley. Look for renowned tenor Michael Fabiano's HGO debut opposite Houston favorite, soprano Ana María Martínez.

It’s a Wonderful Life (December 2-17)

What's special: Will HGO find its holiday equivalent of The Nutcracker? The world premiere of an opera based on Frank Capra classic holiday film, It’s a Wonderful Life, sounds intriguing.

Nixon in China (January 20–28, 2017)

What's special: Has it really been 30 years since HGO unveiled the world premiere of John Adams’s landmark opera? This version is based on a 2004 production for the Opera Theatre of St. Louis that takes a more intimate approach than the original staging. HGO Studio alumnus Scott Hendricks plays the role of Richard Nixon and soprano Andriana Chuchman is his wife, Pat.

Verdi’s Requiem (February 10–18, 2017)

What's special: With the Super Bowl in town, the Wortham isn't available for a fully-staged opera, so the HGO chorus and orchestra will be showcased in what many consider to be Verdi's greatest score, with soprano Angela Meade making her HGO debut. 

Some Light Emerges: (March 2017)

What's special: The new chamber opera is mostly set in the Rothko Chapel, covering five people who visit over four decades, and examines the struggles and triumphs of Dominique de Menil in realizing her dream. 

Götterdämmerung (April 22–May 7, 2017)

What's special: The highlight of the HGO season comes with the last installment of the Ring cycle, Götterdämmerung (The Twilight of the Gods), featuring a new generation of leading Wagnerians including Simon O’Neill as Siegfried and Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde.The largest single artistic project in HGO's  history began in the 2013-14 season with Das Rheingold, with one Wagner opera performed each season since.

The Abduction from the Seraglio (April 28–May 12, 2017)

What's special: It's Mozart. It's a comedy. And this version of HGO's 2002 co-production features Russian coloratura soprano and HGO Studio alumna Albina Shagimuratova as Konstanze and leading American tenor Lawrence Brownlee as Belmonte.