HGOco, Houston Grand Opera's community collaboration and education initiative, presents River of Light, the final installment in HGOco's East + West series. The chamber opera examines the intricacies of a contemporary, cross-cultural family facing the preservation of family legacy. River of Light follows Indian wife Meera and her American husband, Burton, as they explore and create the cultural heritage of their newborn daughter.
Award-winning composer Jack Perla — who also composed the first East + West opera, Courtside (2011)—has set the libretto by Houstonian literary paragon Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. An award-winning and bestselling author, poet and activist, Divakaruni currently teaches in the nationally ranked creative writing program at the University of Houston.
The accomplished international cast includes Maya Kherani as Meera, Michael Sumuel as Burton, Alissa Anderson as Neighbor/Cousin Renu and Samuel Levine as Neighbor. The creative team includes director E. Loren Meeker (HGOco's Past the Checkpoints and From My Mother's Mother), music director and HGO Studio alum David Hanlon (Past the Checkpoints), scenic designer Laura Fine Hawkes, costume designer Clair Hummel and lighting designer Kyle McAnally. Native Indian instruments tabla (percussion) and sitar (plucked stringed instrument) are woven into the score.