One of the few positives from the global pandemic is the growing popularity of digital productions from local arts groups, replacing in-person performances nixed during the worldwide pandemic.
An enduring example here in Houston is HGO Digital, the virtual performance arm of Houston Grand Opera launched last year at the height of pandemic cancellations. HGO has announced the return of the program with HGO Digital, the Sarah and Ernest Butler Performance Series, launching December 3 and running into next spring.
The second season of HGO Digital will feature all free performances with two exceptions, Three Decembers and Suite Española II, which will require payment before viewing. Performances will be available for streaming for 30 days after their release. Screening details are available online.
A major highlight of the fall/winter season is the opening night livestream of the world premiere of the opera The Snowy Day, considered a “historic and momentous moment” for the company, per a press release. HGO will premiere the highly anticipated Snowy Day, an opera based on the children’s picture book by Ezra Jack Keats, on December 9, making it accessible to audiences around the world through HGO Digital.
Things kick off with the free screening of the HGO Studio Showcase, running December 3 through January 2, 2022. The show is a recording of the annual event which took place live, but with a limited audience, at the Wortham Theater Center.
Later comes Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers, kicking off December 10 and running through January 9, 2022. Originally commissioned by HGO and based on Terrence McNally’s original script Some Christmas Letters, this chamber opera from composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer made its world premiere in Houston in 2008. Expect a touching, witty family drama that unfolds over three decades.
“HGO Digital is a tremendous example of this organization’s commitment to the art form,” said Khori Dastoor, HGO general director and CEO in a statement. “So many people came together to develop a completely new digital season, while following strict safety protocols. And all that hard work paid off – our audience expanded to an international stage, and we were able to make opera accessible to so many who may not have been interested before. We are excited to make digital art a standard part of our season.”
For a complete list of shows, screening dates, and more information, visit HGO Digital.