Editor's Note: As part of CultureMap's State of the Arts series, we are highlighting upcoming fall arts events you won't want to miss.
Who could forget the huge pink grand piano, silly plumes, Cubist-inspired guitars, or all that crazy business with the chandelier in Houston Grand Opera’s Barber of Seville last season? The shower of counterfeit bills at the finale?
Those strangely exaggerated costumes and incredible pops of color were unforgettable, thanks to the imaginative team of Spanish director Joan Font and designer Joan Guillén, founders of the Barcelona-based Els Comediants.
The anticipated cast promises some golden voices.
I adore Rossini’s operas, which are both crazy and controlled, and always filled with memorable overtures. With great anticipation, I’m sharpening my pencils to write about Font and Guillén’s return to HGO for Rossini’s L'italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), which runs Oct. 26 through Nov. 11 at The Wortham.
The opera is often described as a fascinating integration of the serious and the noble side-by-side with the outrageously comic, one reason why it’s labeled a dramma giocoso.
The anticipated cast promises some golden voices. Italian mezzo Daniele Barcellona makes her HGO debut as Isabella. The ever-popular bass Patrick Carfizzi (Bartolo in last year’s Barber) returns as the Turk Mustafà. American tenor Lawrence Brownlee, who gave such a stunning interpretation of Count Almaviva last season, returns as well in the role of Lindoro. Brownlee is particularly intriguing in terms of Rossini. He’s sung no less than 14 roles in 13 of the master’s various operas (I regret I didn’t catch his Don Ramiro in HGO’s 2007 La Cenerentola), so his interpretation here should be confident and multi-layered.
The smart and classy, if sometimes controversial, Italian conductor Carlo Rizzi conducts, making for an evening you won’t want to miss.