Houston Grand Opera named only U.S. finalist for Best Opera Company in the World

Houston Grand Opera named only U.S. finalist for World's Best Company

Houston Grand Opera presents Götterdämmerung
When the curtain rises on Götterdämmerung, HGO could be the World's Best Opera Company. Photo by Eva Ripoll

On May 7, all opera-lovers’ eyes will look to London for the announcement of the International Opera Awards. Here in Houston that gaze should be particularly intense, because Houston Grand Opera finds itself named as a much-deserved finalist in the Best Opera Company Award category.

HGO stands as not only the one U.S. opera house to make that rarified shortlist, which includes such celebrated companies as The Royal Opera House in London, Milan’s La Scala, and France’s Opéra de Lyon. HGO is also the only opera company from outside of Europe to be selected by the jury as one of the final six recognized for their excellence.

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition from such a prestigious organization,” said HGO artistic and music director Patrick Summers and managing director Perryn Leech in a statement reflecting on the announcement of HGO’s nomination. “This affirms a fact that our audiences and supporters have long appreciated: that the quality of work produced by Houston Grand Opera is second to none.” 

The International Opera Awards, founded in 2012, celebrates excellence in opera world-wide, while also raising funds for Opera Awards Foundation, a charity that supports emerging opera artists across the globe.

With more than 20,000 nominations from opera industry insiders, the finalists were chosen by a illustrious jury chaired by John Allison, editor of Opera magazine, and consisting of prominent opera critics, company directors, and international opera artists. HGO’s placement as a finalist certainly validates and celebrates the company’s place on the world opera stage.

In a strange bit of happenstance, HGO’s last performance of Götterdämmerung, (Twilight of the Gods) the final opera in Wagner’s tetralogy, and the conclusion of the company’s historic project to deliver one opera from the Ring Cycle per season, also occurs on May 7. With the time difference, the awards ceremony inside the London Coliseum might very well arrive at the Best Company reveal exactly as the curtain goes up at the Wortham Center. Coincidence or a dramatic sign from the opera gods?