a grand new season

Houston Grand Opera raises the curtain on dramatic new season full of rare gems and classics

Houston Grand Opera raises the curtain on dramatic new season

La Traviata Houston Grand Opera
HGO's season kicks off with the vivid La Traviata. Photo by Lynn Lane

Opera lovers and the opera-curious are in for a great time during the 2022-2023 season. Houston Grand Opera's lineup includes a brand-new staging of a rare operatic masterpiece and two U.S. premieres, along with the return of a groundbreaking Mariachi opera and fan favorites.

The season kicks off October 21 with La Traviata, Verdi's epic tragedy. Love, passion, jealousy, and rage swirl together in the story of the courtesan Violetta and the romantic Alfredo, whose love for Violetta threatens to bring shame on his family.

Grammy Award-winning soprano Angel Blue makes her HGO debut as Violetta and leading tenor Bryan Hymel sings Alfredo. It's conducted by Matthew Aucoin, also making his HGO debut.

The Wreckers, the company's second opera of the season, is a rarely performed gem, never seen in the U.S. with a a full production by a major opera company. The 1906 opera by composer and activist Dame Ethel Smyth is the story of villagers on England's Cornish coast who eke out their living plundering the ships that slam against the rocky coastline.

When they find someone is warning the ships of their plans, their search to find the traitor threatens to consume the village. Acclaimed Grammy-winning soprano Sasha Cooke is back on the HGO stage as Thirza, along with tenor and HGO Studio alumnus Norman Reinhardt. HGO Artistic Director and Music Director Patrick Summers conducts. 

The holiday season ushers in El Milagro del Recuerdo (The Miracle of Remembering), which had its world premiere at HGO in 2019. Laurentino is a bracero worker who crosses the border from the U.S. to Mexico to spend Christmas with his family.

The visit is a prelude to a life-changing decision he and his wife must make. The opera is a heartbreaking and hopeful exploration of the human spirit, blending a love of family and tradition with mariachi. Librettist Leonard Foglia directs the return of the much-loved story.

Up next is the Mozart masterpiece The Marriage of Figaro in a resplendent production by Tony Award-winning director Michael Grandage. Bass Nahuel Di Pierro makes his HGO debut in the title role, with HGO Studio alumna Elena Villalón in the role of Susanna, her first return to the company since completing her Studio training. Studio alumni Nicole Heaston and Lauren Snouffer also appear. 

Jules Massenet's psychological drama Werther is back on the HGO stage for the first time since 1979. The story of an obsessive poet chasing after the object of his desire, who is promised to another. Tenor Matthew Polenzani sings the role of Werther with Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard as Charlotte, his obsession. Both are making their HGO debuts. 

Puccini's Tosca, one of the most-loved operas of all time opens the company's spring repertory, directed by the critically acclaimed John Caird. HGO Studio alumna Tamara Wilson, whom the New York Times lauded for her "a dramatic voice of thrilling power," makes her role debut as Tosca.

Tenor Jonathan Tetelman makes his HGO debut as Tosca's beloved Cavaradossi and baritone Rod Gilfry sings the villain Scarpia. 

Closing the season is Salome, Strauss' dramatic rendering of the Bible story of King Herod and John the Baptist, based on the play by Oscar Wilde. HGO Studio alumni bass-baritone Ryan McKinny (Jokanaan), mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves (Herodias) and tenor Chad Shelton (Herod) are joined onstage by soprano Amanda Majeski in her HGO and role debut.

Other highlights of the season include the family opera Monkey and Francine in the City of Tigers and the Giving Voice concert series, which celebrates diversity in opera artists and seeks to bring diverse audiences to the artform. 

“There is so much to look forward to next season,” said HGO general director and CEO Khori Dastoor in a statement. “These operas share universal human stories that allow us to access our own deepest emotions.”

For more information, visit houstongrandopera.org.