curtain down; screens on

Houston Grand Opera announces cancelation of 2020-2021 live performances

Houston Grand Opera cancels 2020-2021 live performances

Houston Grand Opera presents Aida
Houston Grand Opera is moving to digital productions for the foreseeable future.  Photo by Tristram Kenton

The global pandemic has forced a beloved local arts organization to lower the curtain. Houston Grand Opera has announced that it will cancel the remaining mainstage productions for the 2020-2021 season.

The company will resume live, in-person performances in the fall of 2021, according to a press release.

Houston Grand Opera (HGO) had initially canceled all productions until spring of 2021. Plans included live premieres of Missy Mazzoli, Royce Vavrek’s Breaking the Waves, and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. The two productions would have closed the 2020–21 season in May 2021. Alternative programming for these productions will be announced later this year, per HGO.

Instead, the opera will pivot to virtual offerings by extending HGO Digital, the Sarah and Ernest Butler Performance Series, season through June 2021 and expand the roster of artistic offerings planned.

Additions to the HGO Digital season include a filmed version of HGO world premiere song cycle, Jake Heggie and Joshua Hopkins’s Songs for Murdered Sisters with text by renowned author Margaret Atwood; new Live from The Cullen recitals, including a special evening with beloved soprano, HGO Studio alumna, and Houston favorite Nicole Heaston; and a digital presentation of HGO’s 68th world premiere, Marian’s Song, which follows the life and success of barrier-breaking entertainer Marian Anderson, per HGO.

Here is the updated lineup of HGO Digital recitals and productions for 2020–21:

  • Live from The Cullen: Arturo Chacón Cruz and Kirill Kuzmin – November 13
  • Double Bill:  Bon Appétit and The Impresario – November 27
  • The Snowy Day Project – December 10
  • HGO Studio Holiday Celebration – December 18
  • Live from The Cullen: Sasha Cooke and Kirill Kuzmin – January 8, 2021
  • Giving Voice – January 22, 2021
  • 33rd Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers “Concert of Arias” Livestream – February 5, 2021
  • Margaret Atwood, Jake Heggie, and Joshua Hopkins’s Songs for Murdered Sisters – February 19, 2021
  • Live from The Cullen: Jack Swanson and Richard Bado – March 12, 2021
  • Suite Española – March 26, 2021
  • Live from The Cullen: Nicole Heaston and Richard Bado – April 9, 2021
  • Hansel and Gretel – May 28, 2021
  • Marian’s Song – June 19, 2021

“We of course want to return to live opera on the mainstage as soon as possible,” says HGO managing director Perryn Leech, in a statement. “But we must continue to prioritize safety above all else. We are taking every advantage of this opportunity to flex our creative muscles in novel ways. We are very proud of the work and collaboration that have gone into producing HGO Digital and look forward to bringing more digital work to life.”