Houston Grand Opera’s New Season Raises the Bar With World Premiere and Geniuses Spotlight — It’s All About Intelligence
Get an Early Look at All the Shows That Are ComingBY Shelby Hodge // 03.27.23
Houston Grand Opera's 2023-24 season includes a production of Wagner's Parsifal. (Photo by Robert F. Kusel)
Houston Grand Opera's 2023-24 Season includes a re-imagining of The Sound of Music. (Photo by Karli Cadel)
Houston Grand Opera's 2023-24 season includes a production of Madame Butterfly (Photo by Lynn Lane)
Houston Grand Opera's 2023-24 season includes a production of Don Giovanni (Photo by Lynn Lane)
Houston Grand Opera's 2023-24 season includes a production of Falstaff (Photo by Karen Almond)
Continuing its tradition of innovative programing, Houston Grand Opera will launch its 2023-24 season with the world premiere of Intelligence, a work commissioned by HGO, created by famed composer Jake Heggie. Likewise in the arena of new, the upcoming season will close in spring 2024 with Francesca Zambello’s fresh staging of The Sound of Music, which is being co-produced by HGO and the Glimerglass Festival.
The upcoming season, introduced in a midday event at Wortham Theater Center by HGO general director and CEO Khori Dastoor and HGO artistic and music director Patrick Summers, includes Wagner’s final work Parsifal, Verdi’s rollicking Falstaff, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and Mozart’s tragicomedy Don Giovanni.
“The dreams of next season with its mix of newness and comforting familiarity will be brought to life by a roster of artists and creatives so prodigiously talented it truly takes your breath away,” Summers says. “These are monumental works of art, whether they were gifted to us by history’s great geniuses or the most brilliant creators of the current day.
“From the great new American story of Intelligence; to the burst of truthful human laughter that ended Verdi’s long and historic career, Falstaff; to the familiar Italian operas influenced by dozens of other cultures, Madame Butterfly and Don Giovanni; to the more ancient mystical beauties of Parsifal — there is a journey for everyone.”
Launching the season with a world premiere, uniquely told through a fusion of music, words and dance is a first for Houston Grand Opera. Intelligence is the story of two women, one from a prominent Confederate family and the other a slave in the household, who form a secret pro-Union spy ring that changes the course of history. Gene Scheer is librettist while director/choreographer is Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founder of Urban Bush Women, the Brooklyn dance company that focuses on the perspective of Black women.
“Next season’s theme surrounds finding truth within art,” Dastoor notes. “These operas are united by the complexity of their musical languages, the maturity of their themes and the immutable truths contained within their stories. Only in opera do we see the truthful representation of multiple art forms, multiple points of view, and a wide diversity of perspectives co-existing in one moment.
“That complexity is the essence of the human condition. Opera can be ridiculous at times, but it is always honest.”
Full details on the season are available here.