opera is back

Houston Grand Opera returns to in-person performances with classics and cutting-edge works

HGO returns in-person performances with classics + cutting-edge works

Carolyn Sproule opera
Carolyn Sproule takes on the role of the famous bohemian in the most famous opera in the world. Photo by Fay Fox

As Houston arts groups and organizations slowly return to pre-pandemic form, one of the city’s most beloved institutions has announced new productions, performances, and ticket sales.

Houston Grand Opera single tickets are now on sale for in-person performances running through 2022 at The Wortham Theater Center. The opera’s new season will showcase 36 performances across six productions and three community performances, per the opera.

Fans can also expect three student performances plus new digital offerings through HGO Digital, which will be announced later this summer. (The opera pivoted to an all-virtual season last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.)

Notably, half of HGO’s mainstage operas for 2021-22 will be conducted by women — more than any other season in company history — and two will be directed by women.

Here is a quick rundown of the 2021-2022 HGO season:

October 22, 2021–November 7; October 26 and November 6 feature an alternative cast
Bizet’s Carmen from 1875 is considered the most popular opera in the world today. In the tragedy of obsessive love, mezzo-soprano and HGO Studio alumna Carolyn Sproule takes on the role of the famous bohemian. Striking costumes and dancing mark this landmark production, conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya in her HGO debut.

The Snowy Day
December 9, 2021– December 19, 2021; December 15 and 16 feature an alternative cast
Marking the company’s 71st world premiere, the snoey show based on the beloved children’s picture book by Ezra Jack Keats follows Peter, a young boy out exploring the city alone for the first time. HGO Studio artist and soprano Raven McMillon takes on the role of Peter; Patrick Summers conducts.

Dialogues of the Carmelites
January 14, 2022– January 22, 2022
Kicking off the ballet’s winter repertoire, Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, showcases some of the most sought-after artists in opera, HGO notes. Sopranos and HGO Studio alumnae Natalya Romaniw and Lauren Snouffer join the cast as Blanche and Sister Constance, respectively. Powerhouse soprano Christine Goerke, the season’s Lynn Wyatt Great Artist, returns as Madame Lidoine. Legendary director Francesca Zambello leads this opera set during the French Revolution.

The Magic Flute
February 4, 2022-February 13, 2022
Mozart’s classic is a now a silent‐film-inspired visual spectacle incorporating live performance with a magical animated world. Noble Prince Tamino and bird-catcher Papageno’s quest to rescue Pamina, the Queen of the Night’s daughter. The notable  Dame Jane Glover conducts.

April 22, 2022– May 6, 2022
World-renowned artist and Texan Robert Wilson kicks off HGO’s spring repertoire with what’s considered Puccini’s finest musical masterpiece. Celebrated soprano and HGO Studio alumna Tamara Wilson takes the titular role as the princess who avoids marriage — so much so that she offers would-be suitors two options: answer three vexing riddles correctly or die by beheading. HGO principal guest Eun Sun Kim conducts.

Romeo and Juliet
April 29, 2022–May 11, 2022
Described as French grand opera as its finest, Gounod’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy boasts a large chorus, rich harmonies, intricate dance numbers, and sumptuous costumes. Soprano Adriana González in her HGO debut as Juliet.

Meanwhile, special performances include An Evening with Jonas Kaufmann; the celebrated international tenor’s show is dubbed a chance of a lifetime for opera lovers; single tickets are on sale.

Additionally, in a tip of the cowboy hat to rodeo season, Turn and Burn, A Rodeo Opera will be HGO’s 72nd world premiere. The production will be directed by Leslie Swackhamer and appropriately, offers a feminist perspective on contemporary rodeo cultur set in a colorful world of bucking broncs and carnival rides.

For tickets and more information, visit the opera’s official website.