HGO honors

Houston Grand Opera named only North American finalist for best opera company in the world

Houston Grand Opera only North American finalist for world's top opera

Houston Grand Opera presents The Pearl Fishers
Houston Grand Opera continues its triumphant return to the Wortham Center season with The Pearl Fishers. Photo by Todd Rosenberg Photography

Last year, the world discovered even a hurricane can’t keep a grand diva down or a phenomenal opera company, and it looks like the International Opera Awards foundation agrees. Houston Grand Opera has just been named a finalist for 2019 best opera company in the world.

Founded in 2012, the International Opera Awards is an annual celebration of excellence in opera around the world. The awards aim to recognize and reward success in opera while raising the profile of the art form.

HGO was also nominated for best company in 2017 and once again it is the only company from the U.S and North America on the shortlist, which includes other opera company greats like Opéra National de Paris, Gothenburg Opera of Sweden, and companies in Belgium, Austria, and Germany.

In a dramatic Hurricane Harvey story likely worthy of its own opera, for its 2017-2018 season HGO refused to cancel its programming as its Wortham Center home was restored. Instead it created a temporary theater inside the George R. Brown Convention Center, appropriately named Resilience Theater.

“It means a great deal to us that such a prestigious organization recognized the work we did in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey while displaced from our creative home, the Wortham Theater Center,” says HGO managing director Perryn Leech. “It is a testament to the resilience of our company, Board, and donors, that we were able to continue to produce great opera.”

The International Opera Award winners will be announced April 29 at a ceremony at Sadler’s Wells in London. In what is perhaps a good timing omen, HGO’s commissioned opera The Phoenix will be in the middle of its run. The world premiere work by composer Tarik O’Regan and librettist John Caird tells the journey of Mozart’s notorious librettist's, Lorenzo Da Ponte, rise, fall and rise again in the opera world.

Bravo to Houston’s own operatic phoenix.