Opera Cues: Turandot Volume 62 Issue 05

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Photo Credit: Lynn Lane Photography

At Houston Methodist, we’re proud partners in helping artists achieve peak performance, week in and week out. We treat artists and their unique needs, while bringing the same level of specialized care to every patient we serve. 713.790.3333 houstonmethodist.org


Houston Grand Opera’s spring repertoire opens with an iconic new production from an otherworldly genius. It is my great honor to welcome legendary director and lighting designer Robert Wilson, king of the avant-garde, back to HGO for the first time since 1996. Wilson’s production of Puccini’s Turandot, co-produced by HGO and four of the world’s other preeminent opera companies, makes its U.S. premiere in Houston. The cast will be led by sublime soprano and HGO Studio alumna Tamara Wilson in the titular role opposite tenor Kristian Benedikt in his HGO debut as Calaf, with the brilliant Eun Sun Kim at the podium. Kim’s much-celebrated U.S. debut took place with HGO in 2017, and she joined the company as Principal Guest Conductor starting with the 2019-20 season. Nevertheless, Turandot represents her first time conducting the HGO Orchestra at the Wortham for a live audience. So it goes when a hurricane forces a company to a makeshift stage, and a global pandemic further alters its plans. This moment is even more special for being years in the making. HGO’s spring repertoire also brings Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, conducted by our own Maestro Patrick Summers, in a production that stars two of the most gifted artists in opera as the titular lovers. Soprano Adriana González, first-prize Operalia winner in 2019, will make her HGO debut in the famously demanding role of Juliet, opposite sensational tenor Michael Spyres as Romeo. Romeo and Juliet would mark Spyres’s company debut, as well, but he has appeared with us once before, catching a last-minute flight to Houston to sub for a sick Lawrence Brownlee as Fernand in a single performance of La favorite in early 2020. Now HGO audiences have the incredible opportunity to see this true virtuoso on the Wortham stage as Romeo. What a springtime of abundance it is at HGO! The most extraordinary artists in all of opera are here with us at the theater, and a truly unforgettable experience awaits us all. I hope you enjoy it.

Khori Dastoor General Director and CEO Margaret Alkek Williams Chair

H G O. O R G


Opera Cues is published by Houston Grand Opera Association; all rights reserved. Opera Cues is produced under the direction of Natalie Barron, associate director of Marketing and Communications, by Houston Grand Opera’s Audiences Department. Editor-in-Chief Catherine Matusow Designers Chelsea Crouse Christopher Robinson Contributors Kathleen Brown Christopher Browner Jeremy Johnson Alisa Magallón Kyle Russell Brian Speck Patrick Summers Emily Wells Advertising Matt Ross/Ventures Marketing 713-417-6857 For information on all Houston Grand Opera productions and events, or for a complimentary season brochure, please email the Customer Care Center at customercare@HGO.org or telephone 713-228-6737.

Streaming this summer via HGO Digital!

Houston Grand Opera is a member of OPERA America, Inc., and the Theater District Association, Inc.



Available June 10 through July 10, 2022.



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HOUSTON GRAND OPERA The Show supports Houston Grand Opera’s Community and Learning initiative, including the Student Performance Series, Opera To Go!, and Storybook Opera. The program serves nearly 70,000 students every season and has been a Show grant recipient for the past 20 years.



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A message from Khori Dastoor


News and Notes


HGO Studio


Community and Learning


Impresarios Circle


Annual Support




Plan Your Visit




Telling What Is Told What makes a good first opera?


He Stands Alone Eleven things to know about legendary lighting designer and director Robert Wilson.


Made in Italy Turandot: celebrating a masterpiece while acknowledging its problems.


Behind the Seams The costumes for Romeo and Juliet have their own story to tell.


Turning to Turandot Puccini’s opera as a case study of the art form’s history and its future.


Out of Character Renowned baritone Donnie Ray Albert on his long history with HGO.


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21 67


AT THE OPERA A guide to our spring repertoire


Turandot 34 Program 35 Quick Start Guide 36 Cast & Synopsis 40 Who’s Who


Romeo and Juliet 48 49 50 54

Program Quick Start Guide Cast & Synopsis Who’s Who

H G O. O R G


HGO Board of Directors 2021-22 OFFICERS Allyn Risley, Chair of the Board Janet Langford Carrig, Senior Chair of the Board; Houston Grand Opera Endowment, Inc. Chair Emeritus James W. Crownover, Chair Emeritus of the Board Lynn Wyatt, Vice Chair of the Board MEMBERS AT LARGE Richard E. Agee, Finance Committee Vice Chair Thomas R. Ajamie

Astley Blair, Audit Committee Chair Albert Chao Louise Chapman Mathilda Cochran, Community and Learning Committee Chair Albert O. Cornelison Jr. * Khori Dastoor David B. Duthu * Frederic Dyen Warren A. Ellsworth IV, M.D., Studio Committee Vice Chair Benjamin Fink, Finance Committee Vice Chair

Robin Angly, Community and Learning Committee Vice Chair

Michaela Greenan, Audit Committee Vice Chair

John S. Arnoldy *

Robert C. Hunter *

Christopher V. Bacon, Secretary; General Counsel

Richard Husseini

Michelle Beale, Governance Committee Chair

Dr. Ellen R. Gritz

José M. Ivo, Philanthropy Committee Vice Chair

Myrtle Jones Marianne Kah, Houston Grand Opera Endowment, Inc. Vice Chair Yolanda Knull, Houston Grand Opera Endowment, Inc. Chair David LePori, Governance Committee Vice Chair

Ward Pennebaker, Marketing and Communications Committee Chair Cynthia Petrello Gloria M. Portela Matthew L. Ringel Kelly Brunetti Rose Glen A. Rosenbaum

Claire Liu, Finance Committee Chair

Jack A. Roth, M.D., Studio Committee Chair

Gabriel Loperena, Philanthropy Committee Chair

Harlan C. Stai

Richard A. Lydecker Jr.

Alfredo Vilas

Beth Madison *

Margaret Alkek Williams

Manolo Sánchez John G. Turner *

Paul Marsden Sid Moorhead

* Senior Director

Sara Morgan Terrylin G. Neale, Houston Grand Opera Endowment, Inc. Secretary/ Treasurer

Houston Grand Opera Association Chairs 1955–58 Elva Lobit

1974–75 Charles T. Bauer

1991–93 Constantine S. Nicandros

2009 Gloria M. Portela

1958–60 Stanley W. Shipnes

1975–77 Maurice J. Aresty

1993–95 J. Landis Martin

2009–11 Glen A. Rosenbaum

1960–62 William W. Bland

1977–79 Searcy Bracewell

1995–97 Robert C. McNair

2011–13 Beth Madison

1962–64 Thomas D. Anderson

1979–81 Robert Cizik

2013–16 John Mendelsohn, M.D.

1964–66 Marshall F. Wells

1981–83 Terrylin G. Neale

1997–99 Dennis R. Carlyle, M.D. Susan H. Carlyle, M.D.

1966–68 John H. Heinzerling

1983–84 Barry Munitz

1968–70 Lloyd P. Fadrique

1984–85 Jenard M. Gross

1970–71 Ben F. Love

1985–87 Dr. Thomas D. Barrow

1971–73 Joe H. Foy

1987–89 John M. Seidl

1973–74 Gray C. Wakefield

1989–91 James L. Ketelsen


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1999–2001 Archie W. Dunham 2001–03 Harry C. Pinson 2003–04 James T. Hackett 2004–07 John S. Arnoldy 2007–09 Robert L. Cavnar

2016–18 James W. Crownover 2018–20 Janet Langford Carrig 2020–Present Allyn Risley

Impresarios Circle IMPRESARIOS CIRCLE $100,000 OR MORE

Mr. and Mrs. James W. Crownover

Claire Liu and Joseph Greenberg

The Sarofim Foundation

Margaret Alkek Williams

The Cullen Foundation

Beth Madison


Robin Angly and Miles Smith

The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts

Paul Marsden and Jay Rockwell

Mr. and Mrs. Harlan C. Stai

Connie Dyer

The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation

Janice Barrow The Brown Foundation, Inc. Sarah and Ernest Butler Anne and Albert Chao City of Houston Through Houston Arts Alliance Louise Chapman The Robert and Jane Cizik Foundation Mathilda Cochran ConocoPhillips

Drs. Liz Grimm and Jack Roth


Texas Commission on the Arts

M.D. Anderson Foundation

Nancy Haywood William Randolph Hearst Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Wortham Foundation, Inc.

Sara and Bill Morgan

Houston Methodist The Humphreys Foundation Donna Kaplan and Richard A. Lydecker

Mr. and Mrs. Alfredo Vilas / Novum Energy Vinson & Elkins LLP

Sid Moorhead


Mr. John G. Turner and Mr. Jerry G. Fischer

Beverly and Staman Ogilvie Jill and Allyn Risley

Lynn Wyatt Nina and Michael Zilkha 2 Anonymous

Glen A. Rosenbaum

To learn more about HGO’s Impresarios Circle members, please see page 74.

Eunice Napanangka Jack, Hairstring, 18” x 65”

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Aboriginal fine art of Australia... since 2001 Image © the artist and Booker-Lowe Gallery.


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Michaela Greenan and Nicholas Greenan

Cynthia and Anthony Petrello

Thomas R. Ajamie

Dr. Saúl and Ursula Balagura

Mrs. Brenda Harvey-Traylor

Michelle and Chuck Ritter

Michelle Beale and Dick Anderson

Dr. Gudrun H. Becker

Matthew Healey Gary Hollingsworth and Ken Hyde

James and Nathanael Rosenheim

Mr. David Belanger

Meg Boulware and Hartley Hampton

Zane and Brady Carruth

Carol Franc Buck Foundation

Ms. Marianne Kah

John Serpe and Tracy Maddox

Mathilda Cochran

Stephanie Larsen

Dr. Ellen R. Gritz and Mr. Milton D. Rosenau Jr.

Ms. Kiana K. Caleb and Mr. Troy L. Sullivan

Carolyn J. Levy

Dr. Laura E. Sulak and Dr. Richard W. Brown

Ms. Janet Langford Carrig

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Husseini

Anna and Joel Catalano

Sharon Ley Lietzow and Robert Lietzow

Mr. and Mrs. Donald G. Sweeney

M. David Lowe and Nana Booker Booker · Lowe Gallery

Shelly Cyprus

Mrs. Marilyn Lummis

John C. Tweed

Ms. Lynn Des Prez

Mrs. Rosemary Malbin

Joanne and David Dorenfeld

Muffy and Mike McLanahan

Mr. Scott B. Ulrich and Mr. Ernest A. Trevino

Drs. Rachel and Warren A. Ellsworth IV

Dr. and Mrs. Miguel Miro-Quesada

Amanda and Morris Gelb

Kathleen Moore and Steven Homer

Marietta Voglis

Terrylin G. Neale

Mr. Trey Yates

Mr. and Mrs. Charles G. Nickson

Rini and Edward Ziegler

Will L. McLendon Mr. and Mrs. D. Bradley McWilliams Ms. Allyson Pritchett Ignacio and Isabel Torras Anonymous

Lynn Gissel Beth and Gary Glynn Leonard A. Goldstein and Helen B. Wils

Matthew L. Ringel

Mr. and Mrs. David Rowan

Georgios and Laura Varsamis Mr. Veer Vasishta R. Alan and Frank York


H G O. O R G


Founders Council for Artistic Excellence Houston Grand Opera is deeply appreciative of its Founders Council donors. Their extraordinary support over a three-year period helps secure the future while ensuring the highest standard of artistic excellence. For information, please contact Greg Robertson, chief philanthropy officer, at 713-546-0274 or grobertson@hgo.org. Ajamie LLP

Frost Bank

John P. McGovern Foundation

Albert and Anne Chao

Drs. Liz Grimm and Jack Roth

Robin Angly and Miles Smith

Dr. Ellen R. Gritz and Mr. Milton D. Rosenau Jr.

The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation

Baker Botts L.L.P. Dr. Saúl and Ursula Balagura Michelle Beale and Dick Anderson Mr. David Belanger Zane and Brady Carruth

Houston Methodist Myrtle Jones Ms. Marianne Kah Donna Kaplan and Richard A. Lydecker Carolyn J. Levy

Jane Cizik Mathilda Cochran ConocoPhillips Mr. and Mrs. James W. Crownover Connie Dyer Drs. Rachel and Warren A. Ellsworth IV

Claire Liu and Joseph Greenberg

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Mr. and Mrs. Donald G. Sweeney Mr. John G. Turner and Mr. Jerry G. Fischer Vinson & Elkins LLP

Sid Moorhead

Margaret Alkek Williams

Kathleen Moore and Steven Homer

Helen Wils and Leonard Goldstein

Novum Energy

The Wortham Foundation, Inc.

Matthew L. Ringel

R. Alan and Frank York

Jill and Allyn Risley

3 Anonymous

Glen A. Rosenbaum

Sara and Gabriel Loperena


M. David Lowe and Nana Booker Booker · Lowe Gallery

Dian and Harlan Stai Dr. Sheila Swartzman and Dr. Kenneth Bloom

Beth Madison

The Leadership Council The Leadership Council is a program designed to provide fiscal stability to Houston Grand Opera’s Annual Fund through three-year commitments, with a minimum of $10,000 pledged annually. We gratefully acknowledge these members. Mr. and Mrs. Frank N. Barnes

Michelle Klinger and Ru Flanagan

Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Pancherz Ms. Elizabeth Phillips

Mr. and Mrs. Lester P. Burgess

Ms. Patricia B. Freeman and Mr. Bruce Patterson

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Burleson

Gerard and Christine Gaynor

Michelle and Chuck Ritter

Anna and Joel Catalano

Mrs. Brenda Harvey-Traylor

Kelly and David Rose

Dr. Peter Chang and Hon. Theresa Chang

Ann and Stephen Kaufman

Adel and Jason Sander

Ann Koster

John Serpe and Tracy Maddox

Mr. Anthony Chapman

Elizabeth and Bill Kroger

Mrs. Helen P. Shaffer

Mr. William E. Colburn

Jan and Nathan Meehan

Georgios and Laura Varsamis

Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Davidson

Mr. and Mrs. Mark Metts

Ms. Anna M. Dean

Terrylin G. Neale

Dr. Michael and Susan Bloome

Ms. Elisabeth DeWitts


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Janet and Ed Rinehart

The Production Funders Houston Grand Opera is internationally acclaimed for its onstage excellence. Ensuring the exceptional quality of our productions and the creativity of our artistic forces — singers, conductors, directors, designers — is our highest priority. The art we make onstage is the foundation for everything we do. For information about joining The Production Funders, please contact Greg Robertson at 713-546-0274 or grobertson@hgo.org.

Bank of America Robin Angly and Miles Smith Janice Barrow The Brown Foundation, Inc. Sarah and Ernest Butler Ms. Kiana K. Caleb and Mr. Troy L. Sullivan Anne and Albert Chao Louise G. Chapman The Robert and Jane Cizik Foundation

Mr. and Mrs. D. Bradley McWilliams The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Sara and Bill Morgan National Endowment for the Arts Terrylin G. Neale Novum Energy Cynthia and Anthony Petrello Ms. Allyson Pritchett

Mathilda Cochran

Michelle and Chuck Ritter


James and Nathanael Rosenheim

The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts

Drs. Liz Grimm and Jack Roth

Connie Dyer

Mr. and Mrs. David Rowan

Frost Bank

Fayez and Susan Sarofim

Matthew Healey

Dian and Harlan Stai

Finalist – Best Travel Book of 2019

Houston Grand Opera Endowment, Inc.

Dr. Sheila Swartzman and Dr. Kenneth Bloom

Foreword Magazine Indies

Houston Methodist

Mr. and Mrs. Donald G. Sweeney

The Humphreys Foundation Donna Kaplan and Richard A. Lydecker Claire Liu and Joseph Greenberg Muffy and Mike McLanahan Will L. McLendon The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation

Bronze Medalist – Best Travel Essay Independent Publisher Book Awards

Texas Commission on the Arts

Honorable Mention – Best Travel Book

Mr. John G. Turner and Mr. Jerry G. Fischer

National Association of Travel Journalists

Mr. Scott B. Ulrich and Mr. Ernest A. Trevino Georgios and Laura Varsamis Vinson & Elkins LLP Marietta Voglis

“This book contains some of the most astonishing tales I’ve ever encountered. One after another. They make for obsessive reading.” —Tim Cahill, best-selling author of Jaguars Ripped My Flesh

Margaret Alkek Williams The Wortham Foundation, Inc. Lynn Wyatt Rini and Edward Ziegler Nina and Michael Zilkha

“The entire point of travel is to encounter the unimaginable. Gina and Scott Gaille have collected some of the most remarkable tales to ever see the light of day. A hoot to read.” —J. Maarten Troost, best-selling author of Headhunters on My Doorstep

H G O. O R G



MEET CLAIRE LIU On the way: a new Chair of the HGO Board of Directors!

Claire Liu. Photo credit: Hierarchy Advertising

This summer, Claire Liu will begin her term as Chair of the HGO Board of Directors, assuming the role as the company ushers in a new era under General Director and CEO Khori Dastoor. “It is a new chapter at HGO, with a dynamic leadership team taking form,” says Dastoor. “I am honored to be leading this great company with Claire by my side.” Liu has played a critical role in a wide range of initiatives since joining the company’s board in 2015. She currently chairs the Finance Committee and is a member of the Executive Committee and Management Development Subcommittee. Previously, she served as co-chair of the General Director Transition Committee and a member of the COVID Working Group. “The energy is electric at HGO as the company embraces the excitement of this

moment,” says Liu. “What an honor to be selected as new board chair for such a storied organization, at such a critical time in its history.” Liu will take over from Allyn Risley, whose tenure as Board Chair has been eventful, to say the least! His leadership has been superb through a host of challenges including navigating the pandemic, launching the company’s first full digital season, and finding a new General Director and CEO. “I’m so excited for the future of this company,” Risley says, “and I know that when she takes over, Claire Liu will meet the moment brilliantly, continuing HGO’s tradition of excellence while bringing her own leadership style to the role.” Liu begins her new role on August 1, 2022.

GET OUTSIDE! HGO is back in full swing with outdoor opera.

After canceling or scaling back its Miller Outdoor Theatre performances for the past two seasons, HGO is back at full capacity for spring 2022! The company will be presenting two outdoor productions—as always, for free—for audiences to enjoy. The Barber of Seville in Texas, adapted by Kristine McIntyre from Gioachino Rossini’s classic comic opera, moves the love story between Rosina and Almaviva to a Texas ranch, where opera’s most famous barber, the bilingual Figaro, must help the pair overcome their English-Spanish language barrier. See the opera, aimed at students in grades 2-8, on April 26 and 27 at 11 a.m. HGO will also present two free outdoor performances of Romeo and Juliet, Gounod’s gorgeous interpretation of Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy. Three HGO Studio artists will lead the cast, with soprano Elena Villalón and tenor Ricardo Garcia as the star-cross’d lovers, and baritone Luke Sutliff as Mercutio. Recent Studio alumnus and bass-baritone Nicholas Newton performs 12

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The Barber of Seville in Texas comes to the Miller stage. Photo credit: Lynn Lane

the role of Friar Laurence, with legendary baritone Donnie Ray Albert as Lord Capulet. Benjamin Manis, HGO’s resident conductor, takes the podium. May 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. For more information, visit HGO.org.




# M C E S C H E R M FA H

This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

M FA H . O R G / O B A M A P O R T R A I T S


This tour has been organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. Support for the national tour has been generously provided by Bank of America.

M.C. Escher, Bond of Union, April 1956, lithograph, collection of Michael S. Sachs. All M.C. Escher works © The M.C. Escher Company, The Netherlands. All rights reserved.

Images above, left to right: Kehinde Wiley, Barack Obama, oil on canvas, 2018, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution © 2018 Kehinde Wiley / Amy Sherald, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama, oil on linen, 2018, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution / The National Portrait Gallery is grateful to the generous donors who made these commissions possible and proudly recognizes them at npg.si.edu/obamaportraitstour

Scan and Learn More

HGO.org/OperaToGo / 713-546-0231

H G O. O R G


Dear Opera Patron, As proud supporter of Houston Grand Opera, we are honored to welcome you to the Wortham Theater Center and this stunning new production of Gounod's classic opera, Romeo and Juliet. We are excited to once again bring Houston audiences a world-class opera, and we’re so glad you could join us. Since our founding in 2011, Novum has provided custommade, energy supply solutions worldwide while maintaining the highest industry standards. We are committed to giving back to our local communities by actively engaging in philanthropic work, a responsibility we take seriously. Through our several initiatives, we strive to create healthy communities and promote cultural appreciation. We believe in the power of the arts, and in HGO as a cornerstone of Houston’s culture. It is a joy to be part of this special evening. Thank you for sharing our passion for opera, and please enjoy the show! Sincerely, Alfredo Vilas PRESIDENT

Novum Energy


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Dear Opera Patron, Welcome to the Wortham Theater Center for tonight’s stunning production of Puccini’s Turandot. Vinson & Elkins LLP is honored to support Houston Grand Opera’s spectacular 2021-22 season. Vinson & Elkins is an international law firm with more than 700 attorneys and 12 offices worldwide. Our lawyers and staff believe in the value of using our talents and resources to give back to the communities we serve. Supporting the arts in Houston where Vinson & Elkins was founded more than 100 years ago is especially important to us. We are proud of our longstanding partnership with HGO, which includes acting as General Counsel and providing pro bono legal services for the past 39 years, board leadership, special event hosting, and support of worldclass productions like the one you are about to experience. Thank you for attending. Please enjoy the performance! Sincerely, Keith Fullenweider CHAIR

Vinson & Elkins LLP

H G O. O R G


TELLING WHAT IS TOLD What makes a good first opera? By Patrick Summers Artistic and Music Director, Houston Grand Opera, Sarah and Ernest Butler Chair

Opera lovers want two things: More opera. More people to attend opera so there can be more opera. They passionately share their ideas for first operas with anyone who might be on the fence, and these are always wonderfully passionate conversations. So, what makes a good first opera? HGO’s 2022 spring repertoire provides two amazing answers to that question, because Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet and Puccini’s Turandot are two of the grandest operas in the legacy repertoire, and they are very different from each other, so a new opera-goer can get a nice range of styles and experiences between the two. But choosing a first opera is more than just picking the right work, because opera can feel like a country club with floating membership requirements and mysterious rituals. Opera lovers don’t mean for it to be this way, so the best thing you as an opera lover can do is to help break down those barriers for others. Help opera novices with what they may see as challenges; see sidebar at right for some common questions they might have. If you are a newcomer to the opera, know that opera lovers are incredibly passionate about their favorite art. They are like Trekkies, except instead of the Federation they talk about divas and costumes and Wagner stagings and Verdi baritones. Opera fans can debate dauntingly minute details, but don’t let their discussions intimidate you—just enjoy the passion of it all. Romeo and Juliet (previous page) and Turandot (opposite page) are two of the grandest operas in the repertoire.

Photo credits: Jeff Roffman (Romeo and Juliet) and Michael Cooper (Turandot)


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As you get to know this very broad art, you will notice that certain stories have formed the basis of many historic operas: The Trojan War, the Greek Myths, Cinderella, Orpheus, and Romeo and Juliet have all inspired many operas, and each is slightly different even though they share stories. This is part of opera’s appeal but also challenging when you are new to it. Operas like Romeo and Juliet and Turandot tell archetypal stories, and it is through their music

that they distinguish themselves from other versions of the same tales. Romeo and Juliet was an old story even when Shakespeare wrote his play, though the play on which Shakespeare based his famous tragedy was quite different from the one he would write. Before Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet was not a story about two warring families and how their enmity can harm their children’s lives; it was a cautionary tale to children of the consequences of not listening to their parents. Shakespeare changed that forever. Like opera, contemporary movies often take something familiar and transform it: what is Batman but a version of Hamlet? Having familiarity with the story of Romeo and Juliet greatly helps the enjoyment of Gounod’s beautiful opera. The translation of Shakespeare’s poetry into French also helps comprehension, because Gounod’s opera brings the world of Romeo and Juliet directly to the heart, and his music removes a barrier to meaning that can sometimes be created by Shakespeare’s dense poetic English text, great as it is. Turandot is a parallel fairytale world that happens to be set in a mythical ancient China, though the original setting was Russia. For maximum enjoyment, remember that it is not a historical document about any country: it is a love story within a violent fantasy world. Absolutely nothing in it is literal except its emotions, so best to enjoy it that way. And Puccini’s score is, well, miraculous. The 19th Century composer of the famous operatic version of Romeo and Juliet that we perform this spring is Charles Gounod (“Goo-KNOW”). He lived from 1818 to 1893, and during the second half of his life he enjoyed enormous fame and success; he was not the struggling artist of popular imagination. Together with his French librettists, he brought Shakespeare’s famous Romeo and Juliet into a type of focus that makes a perfect first opera. The score is perfumed and tuneful, like being in a magic garden, and the tragedy plays out in a particularly heartbreaking way. Whether or not you recognize a note of Romeo and Juliet, I can almost guarantee you know the music of Charles Gounod: his “Ave Maria,” one of the most recognizable pieces in all of classical music, together with the very different song by Franz Schubert on the same Latin text. Gounod’s is an ingenious composition: he

imposed a beautiful original melody over a simple Prelude from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, which are two books of studies in each key that are well-known to musicians. The Gounod “Ave Maria” has been recorded countless times, famously by Barbra Streisand on her Christmas Album, and most gorgeously by Leontyne Price on hers, a recording for the ages. If you’ve never heard Ms. Price sing it, find it and hear it as soon as you can—singing doesn’t get any more beautiful. Ah, composers…. This is another potential hurdle for first-time opera goers. We talk about composers a lot. Why? It takes a village to make a work of art, but every artistic medium has a leading creator: in films and spoken theater/musicals it is the director. Ballets are led by choreographers, who will sometimes alter music to fit their creations, something that never happens in opera. In opera, composers govern everything: operas take years to plan, and the budgeting process is largely led by the demands of composers. Take Romeo and Juliet, for example: the actors playing the title roles in the opera, as opposed to on film or on stage, are unlikely to look like teenagers because to be accomplished enough to sing the roles requires a little more maturity. A gifted 16-year-old actress could play Shakespeare’s Juliet, but no teenage soprano could or should assay the demands of Gounod’s score without harming her voice. Shakespeare, more than any other writer in English-speaking history, created the way we see ourselves. If you are a speaker of English, part of your life is Shakespearean, and though his Elizabethan world is long lost to the waves of time, he still often appears to know us better than we know ourselves. What we know of Shakespeare the man is famously negligible; he didn’t even take much care in signing his name twice with the same spelling. But Shakespeare the fellow soul is another matter: Cleopatra, Lear, Richard III, Julius Caesar, Viola, Rosalind, Prospero, and the world’s beloved Romeo and Juliet all came from his bubbling mind, a huge collection of characters that are a summit of art in the

long arc of humanity. Shakespeare’s plays are so unfathomable that there remains an inevitable movement convinced that Shakespeare was a fake and that someone else put pen to paper. Nonsense. William Shakespeare wrote his plays. He was real, and so was his pen and paper and so was his boundless imagination. There are thousands of operas based on the Shakespeare plays, most of them from the 16th and 17th centuries and lost, and most of them unsuccessful for a simple reason: Shakespeare’s prose carries such a melodious kind of verbal music that most attempts to add real music can fight with it and rarely win. This is where Gounod’s opera succeeds so beautifully, because he could capture something in music that words cannot. His opera soars just as does the 76th Shakespeare Sonnet, and for similar reasons: it describes the deep impulse to tell and sing timeless stories. As always, Shakespeare said it best: “O know, sweet love, I always write of you, And you and love are still my argument. So all my best is dressing old worlds new, Spending again what is already spent: For as the sun is daily new and old, So is my love still telling what is told. ∎

OPERA FAQS WHAT WILL I WEAR? A whole cinematic culture (think Pretty Woman) has given the impression that opera requires expensive clothes and wedding-level preparations. It doesn’t. There is no dress code. Dress up if you find that fun, but come more casually if you prefer. We don’t care what you wear. HOW WILL I UNDERSTAND IT? Relax: there are titles over the stage translating every line. WHAT IF IT IS LONG AND BORING? Some operas are long, some aren’t: Turandot, for example, is shorter than any of the Spiderman films. Music is the narrative engine of opera, and music is temporal, so the more you love music and give in to its power, the more you will enjoy opera. If you are only there for the plot, you might get bored. Listening, and not just reading, is the key to being really engaged and enriched by coming to the opera. WHY DO WE APPLAUD WHEN THE LIGHTS GO DOWN, AND HOW DO WE KNOW WHEN TO START APPLAUDING? The opening applause is for the conductor, and those sitting way upstairs can see the conductor’s entrance before those sitting downstairs. It is one of opera’s rituals, but it also has a practical purpose: if an opera begins quietly, as does Tristan und Isolde or La traviata, the opening applause makes it quiet enough for you to hear.

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DONORS MAKE GREAT ART POSSIBLE Ticket sales cover less than 20% of producing great opera. Your contributions make up the rest. It’s donors like you who bring grand opera to the Wortham Stage. Your gift to HGO gives you exclusive and behindthe-scenes benefits like valet parking, lecture series, and Green Room access. For more information on benefits, visit HGO.org/DONATE. Please contact David Krohn, director of philanthropy, at 713-980-8685 or dkrohn@HGO.org.

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HE STANDS ALONE Eleven things to know about legendary lighting designer and director Robert Wilson, creator of HGO’s new production of Puccini’s Turandot. By Catherine Matusow

Photo provided by Robert Wilson


The Texas landscape remains an influence.

He’s Texan.

Wilson, 80, was born in Waco to Baptist parents. As a child he had little interest in hunting and fishing like his dad, instead putting on “strange little plays,” as John Rockwell described them in a 1998 Texas Monthly profile, in the family garage. For a time Wilson studied business administration at UT, but he was unhappy. In 1962 he moved to New York, where he studied architecture at Pratt and immersed himself in experimental theater and dance. After a short post-college return to Waco, he left the Lone Star State for good.


For decades he felt more welcome in Europe.

Wilson made his name with Einstein on the Beach, which he created with Philip Glass, and which debuted at the Avignon Festival in 1976. The intermission-less, plot-less, four-act, five-hour opera was a sensation in France, one of many European triumphs (and if that sounds long, consider that an earlier Wilson work clocked in at 168 hours). And so for many years he mostly worked abroad.

Yet Texas is everpresent for Wilson.

Wilson created Einstein on the Beach with Philip Glass


“I grew up in Texas, and I guess Texas is still in my head when I want more space around everything,” he told the New York Times in an interview about a 1984 revival of Einstein on the Beach. “Texas is in all my work." In his Texas Monthly piece, Rockwell concurred: “It is no stretch to sense the state at the core of his work. There is an emptiness to the Wilson stage, a flatness of contour and mood, a lucidity that would be instantly familiar to anyone who has seen the light, land, and overarching sky of West Texas.”

Houston was the exception to Wilson’s chilly stateside reception

Former HGO General Director David Gockley was a champion of Wilson’s work, and in 1992 the company staged the U.S. premiere of his Parsifal production. “Will this slowmotion Parsifal exasperate Houston's faithful subscribers right out of their seats and into the street?” the New York Times wondered. "In some cases, it probably will," it quoted Gockley as having said, "but it won't be a worrisome number.” Wilson also directed and designed Four Saints in Three Acts for HGO in 1996, and was an associate artist at the Alley Theatre. HGO Director of Artistic Planning and Chorus Director Richard Bado, an admirer of Wilson for his “specific vision of what theater is” and his “great respect for the music,” tells Cues that working with Wilson on Parsifal and Four Saints in Three Acts “was definitely a high point of my career.”


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Wilson believes light is a “magic wand.”

He values light first.



Arthur Homberg’s The Theater of Robert Wilson quotes him thusly: “Light is the most important part of theater. It brings everything together, and everything depends on it. From the beginning I was concerned with light, how it reveals objects, how objects change when light changes, how light creates space, how space changes when light changes. Light determines what you see and how you see it. If you know how to light, you can make shit look like gold. I paint, I build, I compose with light. Light is a magic wand.”



Wilson’s process is expensive.

He requires a good deal more rehearsal hours than what would be needed for a “standard” opera to refine the intricacies of his lighting design. And while all operas enlist lightwalkers—who stand in for the performers on stage to help designers create their lighting—Wilson’s wear costumes, wigs, and makeup for their sessions, so that he can get every tiny detail perfect. It is perhaps no surprise that Wilson’s rehearsals, Bado explains, “are very focused and intense.”


Wilson is also a painter, sculptor, video artist, and furniture maker, and his pieces

have been displayed in museums and galleries across the world. Another Houston connection: in 1991, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston displayed Wilson’s artworks in the exhibition “Robert Wilson’s Vision,” which included a sound environment by Hans Peter Kuhn. An accompanying book included contributions from Susan Sontag, William S. Burroughs, and Richard Serra.

Wilson's furniture pieces are exhibited in and held by galleries, museums, and private collections worldwide.

He has worked with— just about everyone: Philip Glass. Lucinda Childs. Tom Waits. Martin McDonagh. Mikhail Baryshnikov. Willem Dafoe. Ali Hossaini. Lady Gaga. Tony Bennett. Lou Reed. Pussy Riot. Tilda Swinton. Robert Mapplethorpe. Martha Graham. The list goes on…

1 0 5


In 1992 Wilson founded the Watermill Center on Long Island, which he

calls “a laboratory for the arts and humanities providing a global community the time, space, and freedom to create and inspire.” The New York Times called the center, which hosts summer workshops, residency programs, exhibitions, lectures, performances, and more, “his own Bayreuth.”


Wilson and Lady Gaga have collaborated on multiple projects.

He believes the stylized movements that are his signature are more honest.

“To see someone try to act natural onstage seems so artificial,” the New York Times quoted Wilson as saying this November, when his Turandot was staged to Paris. “If you accept it as being something artificial, in the long run, it seems more natural, for me.”

For Wilson, “theater is about one thing.”

“And if it’s not about one thing—it’s too complicated,” he told Opera Wire when the Lithuanian National Opera staged his Turandot. “When we see Turandot for the first time, she’s up in the air, very high, alone. In the end, she stands near the audience and the entire company and Calaf are standing behind, in a distance. So she keeps standing alone.” ∎

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MADE IN ITALY Turandot: celebrating a masterpiece while acknowledging its problems By Christopher Browner

HGO has performed Turandot during six prior seasons. The 1994 production was designed by David Hockney.


ith his death on November 29, 1924, Giacomo Puccini not only left his latest and most ambitious project unfinished but also left the world without a clear successor to carry on the grand tradition of Italian opera—a tradition that extended all the way back to the art form’s genesis in Renaissance Florence. But while Turandot can be considered “the last great Italian opera,” this designation fails to account for how much of the work isn’t Italian. From its setting to its plot and, most significantly, much of its music, Turandot draws on other cultures—as Puccini had done throughout much of his career—and represents a distinct evolution from the preceding three centuries of Italian opera. Yet it is in no way authentically Chinese either. A Western projection of the East, it is rife with contradictions, distortions, and

racial stereotypes—and yet is also one of the most exhilarating and impressive works ever to take the operatic stage. Not long after the high-profile world premiere of Il Trittico at the Met in 1918, Puccini was already searching for material for his next opera. At first, he landed on Cristoforo Sly by Giovacchino Forzano, who had provided the libretti for Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, but eventually abandoned the idea (though Sly would later be set by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari). Then, critic, writer, and librettist Renato Simoni slipped him a copy of Carlo Gozzi’s Turandot. Premiered in Venice in 1762, the play was inspired by an episode from François Pétis de la Croix’s collection of Persian fairy tales, Les Mille et un Jours, and concerned a ruthless Chinese princess who sets a fatal challenge to any would-be suitors: In order to win her hand, they H G O. O R G


must correctly answer three riddles, but if they fail, they forfeit their heads. With his penchant for exotic subjects, Puccini’s interest was piqued. Depicting distant lands and peoples was already a centuries-old musical tradition by the time that Puccini considered bringing mythical China to the stage. From Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, with its percussion-heavy vision of a Turkish harem, to the Romani of Bizet’s Carmen, Verdi’s faux ancient Egypt in Aida, and Debussy’s “Pagodes,” which took inspiration from Indonesian gamelan music, foreign sound worlds had long exerted a fascination on Western composers. Puccini seems to have had a particular attraction— even obsession—with the Other, traveling as far as Buenos Aires, Cairo, and New York in search of fresh sources to set. After the breakout success of his 1893 Manon Lescaut, he even briefly toyed with the idea of composing an opera about the life of Buddha that would incorporate a collection of East Indian melodies.

Of Puccini's 12 operas, only three take place in his native Italy.”

Of Puccini’s 12 operas (when one considers the three components of Il Trittico separately) only three take place in his native Italy, while both Madama Butterfly and Turandot are set in the Far East and La Fanciulla del West plays out in the equally remote American West. And in the cases of the latter three, the settings are not the only markers of the works’ foreignness; in crafting each opera, Puccini steeped himself in the music of each locale and incorporated existing melodies into the scores. For Butterfly, he even consulted with native Japanese speakers, including actress Sada Jacco, to gain a better sense of the timbre and range of their natural speaking voices. It’s no surprise then that Puccini gravitated toward Turandot, and he pressed his librettists— Giuseppe Adami, who outlined the dramatic structure, and Simoni, who furnished the poetic verses—to create a text that was authentically Chinese. He requested numerous changes to Gozzi’s play, asking them to “find a Chinese element to enrich the drama and relieve the artificiality of it” and make use of what he called “Chinese syllables” and “assonances that would give it a Chinese flavor.” This focus on “Chinese” sounds also extended to some of the characters’ names. The stock commedia dell’arte types—Brighella, Truffaldino, Pantalone, etc.—that acted 26

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as visitors to the Chinese court in Gozzi became the ministers Ping, Pang, and Pong, while Puccini also introduced a new ancestress for Turandot, Lou-Ling. More drastically, he urged Adami and Simoni to refashion Gozzi’s headstrong Tartar princess Adelma into Liù (another name of Puccini’s invention), the meek but noble slave girl who could easily stand alongside the composer’s other simultaneously vulnerable and dignified “little women”—Mimì, Cio-Cio-San, Lauretta, and others. Even more than the libretto, though, Puccini sought a sense of authenticity in his musical characterization of legendary China. In August 1920, just months after Simoni first suggested Turandot, the composer famously paid a visit to Baron Edoardo Fassini-Camossi, a former diplomat in China, who owned a music box of genuine Chinese tunes. Three melodies from this music box ultimately found their way into the opera’s score, while others came from phonograph recordings and Jules A. van Aalst’s 1884 chronicle of Chinese music. It was from Fassini’s music box that Puccini discovered the folk song “Mo Li Hua,” or “Jasmine Flower,” which was already familiar to European ears and had been included in travel guides as early as the end of the 18th century. In his hands, “Mo Li Hua” became the main theme used to represent Princess Turandot, first intoned by an offstage children’s choir in Act I before recurring many times throughout the opera in different guises and orchestrations. The music box also featured the traditional “Imperial Hymn,” which can be heard during the opera’s throne-room scenes as the people hail Emperor Altoum and wish him 10,000 years of life. In these two cases, the Chinese melodies appear with few alterations, but as prominent Puccini biographer Mosco Carner points out, more often the composer’s incorporation of existing tunes takes the form of “freely varying certain exotic melodies … using them as models in the invention of similarly constructed melodies, or … lifting characteristic motives out of them in order to mold therefrom new melodic curves.” This occurs notably in the entrance of Ping, Pang, and Pong in Act I, as they attempt to dissuade Calàf from pursuing Turandot. Their opening melody (“Fermo! Che fai? T’arresta”) is drawn verbatim from another of the music box’s folk songs, but soon thereafter, Puccini weaves together bits and pieces of other authentic

HGO's first performance of the opera took place in 1960.

Chinese melodies as well as some of his own creation. According to Carner, “various motives become joined with one another in a kaleidoscopic way, [and] the whole passage … creates the impression of an underived, logically developed idea.” The result is rather unlike any of the composer’s previous compositions. Gone are the intimate dramas and relatable passions of everyday people. These are instead replaced with dazzling spectacle, archetypal protagonists, and musical passages clearly influenced by innovative contemporaries such as Debussy, Stravinsky, and Wagner. A glance into the orchestra pit reveals a robust percussive section, encompassing not only xylophones, glockenspiel, and drums but also bells, celesta, tambourine, Japanese tam-tam, and a Chinese gong. And Puccini includes a number of musical “sound effects” to further heighten the feeling of foreignness, such as offstage brass and organ, harps muted with paper inserted between their strings, and saxophones to accompany the Act I children’s choir. It’s not that Turandot’s score bears none of the hallmarks of Puccini’s lushly romantic style. Liù, the most (possibly only) sympathetic character in the piece, pours her heart out in Act I’s “Signore, ascolta”—an adaption of the pentatonic-based song “Sian Chok” that, in Puccini’s handling, becomes far more Italianate than Chinese—as well as in a compelling pair of arias in Act III. Not to mention the opera’s most recognizable selection, Calàf’s heroic Act III aria, “Nessun dorma,” which has become an anthem of hope and resilience far beyond the confines of the opera house. But according to musicologist Harold Powers, this “Romantic-diatonic Puccinian norm,” is just one of four primary “colors” in Turandot, the others being Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Dissonance.

We must also consider the criticisms that Turandot—and Puccini’s appropriation, reconfiguration, and reharmonization of Chinese music—has received in recent years. As Ping-hui Liao, a professor of literary and critical studies at the University of California, San Diego, argues, despite the composer’s attempts at authenticity, “when the material is drawn from another culture, as in the case of Madama Butterfly or Turandot, it is integrated and ordered so that it becomes intelligible, controlled, and agreeable … the melodies are so well integrated that they lose their own autonomy and become part of a larger whole. In distinguishing between East and West, [Puccini] makes the former subservient to the latter.” Or, as Carner wryly suggests, while the Chinese characters don “national musical costume throughout … this costume may bear the trademark ‘Made in Italy.’” It shouldn’t be surprising then that many audience members of Chinese descent find it difficult to watch as their own heritage is co-opted, fetishized, or painted as savage, bloodthirsty, or backward. The question then becomes how to appreciate Turandot—which features some of Puccini’s most ravishing melodies, scenes of truly remarkable musical and theatrical grandeur, and opportunities for the kind of show-stopping vocal displays that lie at the core of the art form’s appeal—in a way that both celebrates its achievements and acknowledges the problems inherent in it. As we raise our collective consciousness of its faults, it is essential that, rather than shying away from the less-savory aspects of the opera, with each subsequent revival, audiences recognize and grapple with their implications. For only through awareness and conversation, which must increasingly expand to include a wider array of voices and points of view, can the world truly understand Turandot as the thrilling yet problematic masterpiece that it is. ∎

Christopher Browner is the Metropolitan Opera’s Associate Editor. Reprinted courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera.

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Houston Grand Opera Guild Welcomes You... To their new website: www.hgoguild.org. This comprehensive resource helps you find HGO Guild programs, volunteering opportunities and future calendar events which include: • Opera in the Park – join us for a light picnic and the Houston Grand Opera’s live opera performance of Romeo and Juliet at the Miller Outdoor Theatre (May). • HGO Guild’s Volunteer Gathering – learn about the Guild’s volunteer opportunities (June). Volunteer opportunities include: • HGO’s Young Artists Vocal Academy (YAVA) Program is the immersion program that coaches young performers on technique, acting and more. Program meets in May, 2022. Call 713-546-0269 for volunteer sign-up opportunities. • The HGO Guild’s Boutique is a pop-up store in the Wortham’s grand foyer. Show your interest and talents in merchandising, retail sales, cashiering, and teamwork! Contact Kris Taylor at: ktaylor2106@sbcglobal.net.

HGO’s 2014 production of Carmen featuring Ana María Martínez and Brandon Jovanovich. Photo by Lynn Lane.

Guild Underwriters include Maria Bryant, Lynn Gissel, Teresa and José Ivo, Laura and Brad McWilliams, Kathleen Moore & Steve Homer, Jill and Allyn Risley, Shirley Rose, Glen Rosenbaum, Sybil F. Roos & Betsy Garlinger, and Janet Sims.

Behind the


The costumes for Romeo and Juliet have their own story to tell By Kyle Russell

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GO’s costume and wig shop, with its massive vault door, looks like it used to be a bank. The shop was set up after Hurricane Harvey flooded the Wortham Theater Center and destroyed countless treasures, along with the machines and tools needed to create them in the first place. Since then such things have been made and stored off-site, in a safer space located in a warehouse district east of downtown. The building’s vault door—which guards the fitting room—certainly feels secure. But COVID-19 has presented HGO’s costume and wig team with a whole new set of problems. All season the pandemic has required them to think quickly, to bend, to compromise. And the timing of the Omicron surge has added new layers of complications as they prepare for spring’s Romeo and Juliet production. “It’s a pandemic thing,” HGO Head of Costumes Norma Cortez explains. “Most of the time that we’re doing a new project, the designer gets to be here in Houston. We gather all of the information, and then we all go to New York to do all of the purchasing for fabrics.” But for now, all of that has gone out the window. Instead, the costume designer for the production, Gregory Gale, has sent his sketches from New York, and he and Cortez have been meeting online. “He was


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able to get an assistant,” Cortez says, “so we’re working with them to get all of the fabrics, all of the swatches, and everything, to Houston.” It’s been unusual, but then, Cortez, who’s been with HGO for 23 years, knows how to adapt. When Harvey hit, she herself carried as many costumes as she could out of the Wortham to safety. She has more experience adapting to disaster than she should have. She knows she’s going to make it work. In the best of times, building costumes for any HGO production is a long process. On the February day of our visit, few pieces for Romeo and Juliet are ready, but we do see capes, accessories, and some impressively large black wings for the dancers. And then there’s the abundance of fabrics, rolls of leather that will become belts and holsters, and racks full of mock-ups. Artists have been coming in to be measured for plain gray-white versions of their costumes, with Gale attending virtually to provide advice and approval. These mock-ups, full of pins and with notes written directly on the fabric, are hung throughout the shop. They’re the basis for the final costumes, many of which are already under construction. Cortez shows us a binder full of Gale’s sketches, stapled with fabric swatches. She shows us Gale's sketch for a uniform to be worn by the character Gregorio,

You cannot talk about Juliet’s dress without talking about blood. And as Cortez explains, you can’t have one clean version and another stained version. You have to be able to stain the dress with blood, wash it clean, and then wear it again, like new. Such a requirement eliminates a surprising number of possible fabrics.

The shop brings designer Gregory Gale's costume sketches to gorgeous life.

“I think that was one of the biggest challenges, trying to figure out which fabrics we’ll be able to use,” Cortez explains. The team bought and tested many types, she says, “and then we told the designer: this is the fabric that will take it, and this is the fabric that will get really damaged if we do that… We had to make sure it was the right blood, it was the right fibers, and it was to the liking of the designer.” Adding to these challenges, HGO will require three different versions of the dress: one for soprano Adriana González, who is performing Juliet in the main cast, another for soprano Elena Villalón, who will serve as cover and alternate cast, and a third for Juliet’s dancer body-double. Each piece is as complex as it is exquisite; each presents its own challenges. And unlike the uniforms, whose prototypes can be reliably duplicated by skilled collaborators, all of the principal cast costumes must be painstakingly assembled by Cortez and her staff, who are hopeful that as Omicron declines, Gale will be able to travel to Houston for final fittings. then its mock-up, measured for baritone Blake Denson. Nearby, two costumers are sewing the piece. The work is detailed and elegant: the jacket’s silky patterned lining contrasts subtly with its darker exterior, and the half-made pants are sewn with a handsome strip of blue down the seam. It takes more than one shop to produce these costumes. Gregorio’s uniform is a prototype that will be sent off to New York, where another costumer will sew a version tailored for tenor Carlos Enrique Santelli, who portrays Tybalt, and 20 more uniformed performers in the chorus. Other costumes will be created in shops as far away as Thailand. There are dyers and a costume painter. Cortez shows us Gale’s sketches for the gown that will require painting: Juliet’s dress. She has a lot to say about this dress, a complex feat of design and engineering. She turns page after page of the binder, through layer after layer of the garment, each showcasing different pieces that will be traded out to create the appearance of different dresses. The design includes an intricately painted silver gown, as well as blue and green dresses, one with sleeves that flair at the wrists to conceal an upcoming wardrobe change, another with sleeves that come off completely. Cortez shows us the fabric, which needs to be treated, pre-steamed, and prepped for dyes and paint and, finally, something resembling blood.

The mood in the shop is one of busy excitement. Everywhere, costumes for Romeo and Juliet are being cut and prepared, with work on pieces for spring’s other opera, Turandot, happening at the same time. The creative energy makes for a bright and friendly place, welcoming even if everyone appears almost too busy to look up from their fabric and tools. This is where it starts: the creation of the gorgeous costumes that will sweep across the Wortham stage, adding color and life and helping the cast transport audiences to another time and place. “It takes a lot of time to build any costume that we have. Especially gowns,” Cortez shares, adding: “It’s going to look beautiful.” ∎

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OPER A CAMP is on sale now!

Create an Opera: June 13-24 / Ages 8-12 Art of Opera: June 20-July 1 / Ages 13-18 Reserve your spot today at HGO.org/SummerCamp

Book Storybook Opera in your community today!


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2021-2022 H O U S T O N








GRAND GUARANTORS Donna Kaplan and Richard A. Lydecker Mr. John G. Turner and Mr. Jerry G. Fischer


GUARANTORS The Robert & Jane Cizik Foundation Drs. Liz Grimm and Jack Roth Nina and Michael Zilkha

GRAND UNDERWRITERS Margaret Alkek Williams Mr. and Mrs. D. Bradley McWilliams

UNDERWRITERS Carol Franc Buck Foundation Muffy and Mike McLanahan

Mr. Scott B. Ulrich and Mr. Ernest A. Trevino







22 24m 30 03 06 08m

BROWN THEATER, WORTHAM THEATER CENTER The performance lasts approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes, including one intermission.

An Opera in Three Acts Music by Giacomo Puccini Libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni

A co-production with Teatro Real of Madrid, Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre of Vilnius, Canadian Opera Company of Toronto, and Opéra National de Paris

Sung in Italian with projected English translation

The activities of Houston Grand Opera are supported in part by funds provided by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts. PRODUCTION PHOTO CREDITS: PP. 4, 19, 23, 34, 36–37: MICHAEL COOPER

Funded In Pa r t By


Hous t on A r t s Alliance


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Quick Start Guide BACKGROUND Between 1163 and 1197, Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi wrote his Khamsa, a quintet of epic poems. Haft Peykar, the fifth of the Khamsa, translates to “the seven beauties,” about the Sasanian king Bahram who builds a palace of seven domes for his seven princess brides. Haft Peykar is further divided into seven, as Bahram visits his brides and they each tell him a tale. The tale of Turandokht, or Turandot, was included in a collection of Persian tales translated by French writer and Middle East scholar François Pétis de la Croix, which in turn was adapted into a play by Italian playwright Carlo Gozzi. Gozzi imposed the François Pétis de la Croix Italian commedia dell’arte tradition onto the tale and moved the action from its historical setting to a fictional, caricaturized China. Gozzi’s play served as the inspiration for composer Giacomo Puccini and librettists Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni.

THE STORY IN A NUTSHELL At the Imperial Palace in Beijing, a crowd has gathered to witness the execution of the Prince of Persia. He has tried to win the Princess Turandot by answering three riddles correctly, but he has failed and therefore must die. Amid the crowd, Calaf recognizes his long-lost father, Timur, the vanquished king of the Tartars. Calaf, too, is an exile, his identity a secret.

questioning. Protecting Timur and Calaf, Liù is tortured and finally kills herself. Calaf reproaches Turandot, then goes in for a kiss. As she cries, he tells her his name, allowing her to win their battle. She goes to announce his name to the emperor’s court and declares that it is Love. Love has triumphed.

WHAT TO LISTEN FOR “Nessun dorma” (“None shall sleep”), Calaf’s act three aria, is so well-known, it is like a pop song. Look for it after Turandot’s proclamation that no one will sleep until she learns her suitor’s name. Full of triumphant emotion, this is one of the repertoire’s most difficult arias for tenors because of the high B of “Vincerò!” (“I will win!”).

FUN FACT It was Luciano Pavarotti who made “Nessun dorma” so famous, when he sang it during the 1990 FIFA World Cup and with the Three Tenors. In 1998, Pavarotti was supposed to perform the aria at the Grammy Awards, but fell ill at the last minute. Aretha Franklin, who had never performed “Nessun dorma” before, stepped in to sing it with a full orchestra and brought down the house in what became one of the most memorable performances of her entire incredible career. The Queen of Soul sang a stunning "Nessun dorma" at the 1998 Grammy Awards. Photo credit: Dreamstime

Mesmerized by the princess, Calaf decides to pursue her himself and, to her dismay, answers all three riddles correctly. She begs her father the emperor not to make her marry him. Calaf offers Turandot a challenge of his own: if she can learn his name by dawn, he will forfeit his life. The princess declares that no one in Beijing shall sleep until she learns the stranger’s name. Timur and his servant Liù are taken for




CAST (in order of vocal appearance)


A Mandarin William Guanbo Su † Anne and Albert Chao Fellow


Eun Sun Kim

Direction, Design, and Lighting

Robert Wilson

Liù Nicole Heaston ‡ Calaf Kristian Benedikt * Timur Peixin Chen ‡ Prince of Persia

Miles Ward *

Ping Takaoki Onishi * Pang Andrew Stenson * Pong

Carlos Enrique Santelli *

Handmaidens Hayley Abramowitz * Gabrielle Reed Emperor Altoum

Héctor Vásquez

Turandot Tamara Wilson ‡ PRODUCTION CREDITS Robert Wilson is represented by RW Work, Ltd. More information can be found at www.robertwilson.com.

Co-Stage Director Nicola Panzer Co-Set Designer

Stephanie Engeln *

Costume Designer

Jacques Reynaud *

Makeup and Hair Designer

Manu Halligan *

Co-Lighting Designer

John Torres *

Video Artist

Tomek Jeziorski *

Chorus Director Richard Bado ‡ Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Director Chair

Children’s Chorus Director

Karen Reeves

Banda Conductor Benjamin Manis Musical Preparation Kirill Kuzmin ‡ Benjamin Manis Kevin J. Miller Bin Yu Sanford † Stephanie Larsen/Dr. and Mrs. Miguel Miro-Quesada/ Ms. Lynn Des Prez Fellow

English supertitles by Scott F. Heumann, adapted by Jeremy Johnson. Supertitles called by Emily Kern.

Alex Munger † Drs. Gary Hollingsworth and Ken Hyde/Trey Yates/Dr. Saúl and Ursula Balagura Fellow

Performing artists, stage directors, and choreographers are represented by the American Guild of Musical Artists, the union for opera professionals in the United States.

Assistant Director

Colter Schoenfish *

Stage Manager

Annie Wheeler

Scenic, costume, and lighting designers and assistant designers are represented by United Scenic Artists, IATSE Local USA-829.

* Company debut † Houston Grand Opera Studio artist ‡ Former Houston Grand Opera Studio artist

Orchestral musicians are represented by the Houston Professional Musicians Association, Local #65-699, American Federation of Musicians. Stage crew personnel provided by IATSE, Local #51. Wardrobe personnel provided by Theatrical Wardrobe Union, Local #896. This production is being recorded for archival purposes.


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Setting: Legendary Beijing ACT I At sunset before the Imperial Palace in Beijing, a Mandarin reads an edict: any prince seeking to marry the Princess Turandot must first answer three riddles. If he fails, he will be executed—in fact, the latest suitor, the Prince of Persia, is to be killed at the moon’s rising. The crowd becomes unruly as they await the execution. In the hubbub, an old man falls and is in danger of being trampled. His companion, a servant girl named Liù, is trying in vain to help him when suddenly someone comes to their aid. The young man, whose name is Calaf, recognizes the old man as his long-lost father, Timur, the vanquished king of the Tartars. Calaf explains that his father’s enemies are pursuing him, and that, like Timur, he is an exile and must keep his identity a secret. Timur reveals that only Liù has remained faithful to him, and Calaf asks her why she has risked so much. Liù replies that it is because Calaf once smiled at her long ago. When the Prince of Persia passes by, the onlookers are moved and call upon the Princess to spare him. Turandot appears and bids the execution to proceed. Calaf, transfixed by her beauty, approaches the gong to announce himself as a new suitor for Turandot’s hand. Turandot’s three ministers, Ping, Pang, and Pong, try to discourage him, as do Timur and Liù. Calaf, however, entrusts his father to Liù’s care and strikes the gong, calling Turandot’s name.

ACT II Ping, Pang, and Pong lament Turandot’s bloody reign as the villagers gather to hear Turandot question the new challenger. In front of the palace, the aged Emperor begs Calaf to reconsider, but the young man will not be dissuaded. Turandot prefaces the questioning by recounting the story of the brutal murder of her ancestor, Princess Lou-Ling, by a conquering prince—in revenge, Turandot has determined that no man shall ever possess her. Then she poses her first question to Calaf: What is born each night and dies each dawn? “Hope,” Calaf answers correctly. She continues: What

flickers red and warm like a flame, yet is not fire? “Blood,” replies Calaf after a moment’s pause. Visibly shaken, Turandot delivers her third riddle: What is like ice but burns? Calaf triumphantly cries “Turandot!” In vain she begs her father not to give her to the stranger. Calaf offers Turandot a challenge of his own: if she can learn his name by dawn, he will forfeit his life.

INTERMISSION ACT III In the palace gardens, Calaf hears a proclamation: on pain of death, no one in Beijing shall sleep until Turandot learns the stranger’s name. Because Liù and Timur were seen talking to the stranger, soldiers drag them in for questioning. When Turandot appears and commands Timur to speak, Liù protests that she alone knows the stranger’s identity. At Turandot’s command, she is subjected to torture; even so, Liù refuses to betray Calaf. Fascinated and confused, Turandot asks Liù the secret of her courage. “Love,” Liù replies. The soldiers intensify the torture, but Liù snatches a dagger and kills herself. The crowd disperses, aghast at the mercilessness that drove Liù to this horrific deed. Calaf is alone with Turandot. He reproaches her for her cruelty, then melts her with a kiss. Love stirs her for the first time. She weeps, and in this vulnerable moment, Calaf reveals his name. Turandot has won. Turandot triumphantly approaches the emperor’s throne announcing that she has learned the stranger’s name. As she looks upon the vanquished Calaf, she tells the hushed court the stranger’s name: it is Love. Calaf rushes to embrace her, and the court hails the power of love and life.

HGO PERFORMANCE HISTORY Turandot was previously staged by HGO during the 1960-61, 1969-70, 1982-83, 1986-87, 1993-94, and 2003-04 seasons.

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HGO ORCHESTRA Patrick Summers, Artistic and Music Director Sarah and Ernest Butler Chair

VIOLIN Denise Tarrant*, Concertmaster Sarah and Ernest Butler Concertmaster Chair

Chloe Kim*, Assistant Concertmaster Natalie Gaynor*, Principal, Second Violin

Steve Estes


Shino Hayashi

Mark Barton*, Principal



Dennis Whittaker*, Principal

Alison Chang*, Principal

Erik Gronfor*, Assistant Principal Carla Clark*


Paul Ellison

Richard Brown*, Principal Christina Carroll

Carrie Kauk†, Assistant Principal Second Violin Anabel Detrick*, Acting Assistant Principal Second Violin


Craig Hauschildt

Henry Williford*, Principal

Karen Slotter

Miriam Belyatsky*

Tyler Martin*

Rasa Kalesnykaite†

Izumi Miyahara

Hae-a Lee-Barnes* Chavdar Parashkevov† Mary Reed* Erica Robinson* Linda Sanders* Oleg Sulyga* Sylvia VerMeulen* Melissa Williams* Zubaida Azezi Eugeniu Cheremoush Andres Eduardo Gonzalez

Joan Eidman*, Principal


Laurie Meister

Elizabeth Priestly Siffert†, Principal Mayu Isom*, Acting Principal


Stanley Chyi

Bin Yu Sanford

Claire Kostic


ORGAN Thomas Marvil

Sean Krissman*, Principal Eric Chi* Molly Mayfield

Kana Kimura



Maria Lin Emily Madonia


Mila Neal

Amanda Swain*, Principal

Rachel Shepard

Michael Allard*

Trung Trinh

Micah Doherty

Hannah Watson


Sarah Cranston*, Principal

Eliseo Rene Salazar*, Principal

Kimberly Penrod Minson*

Lorento Golofeev*, Assistant Principal

Spencer Park†

Gayle Garcia-Shepard*

Gavin Reed

Erika Lawson*

Kevin McIntyre

Suzanne LeFevre† Dawson White*


Gabrielle Glass

Tetsuya Lawson*, Principal

Meredith Harris

Randal Adams*

Sergein Yap

Gerardo Mata



Barrett Sills*, Principal

Thomas Hulten*, Principal

Erika Johnson*, Assistant Principal

Mark Holley†

Ariana Nelson*

Cameron Kerl

Wendy Smith-Butler†

Justin Bain*

Steven Wiggs*


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BANDA TRUMPETS Omri Barak Noah Dugan Daniel Egan James McAloon Carrie Schafer

BANDA TROMBONES Ryan Rongone Matthew Dickson Richard Reeves


* HGO Orchestra core musician † HGO Orchestra core musician on leave this production




Richard Bado, Chorus Director

Karen Reeves, Children's Chorus Director

Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Director Chair

Nathan Abbott

Yoojin Lee

Allison Claire Artlip

Hayley Abramowitz

Laura Lisk-McCallum

Emma Cranston

Ofelia Adame

Aarianna Longino

Amelia P. Cruz Goss

Geordie Alexander

Alejandro Magallón

Maykelia Del Pino

Preston Andrews

Heath Martin

Nora Feld

Maggie Armand

Neal Martinez

Abby Frankel

Dennis Arrowsmith

Norman Mathews

Elizabeth Garcia

Cody Arthur

Byron Mayes

Elizabeth Hsu

Christopher Auchter

Katherine McDaniel

Lila Johnson

Sarah Bannon

Jeff Monette

Daniel Karash

Zachary Barba

Natasha Monette

Jemma Kosanke

Megan Berti

Matthew Neumann

Madeline Melody Leal

Leslie Biffle

Patrick Perez

Sabine Lesniewicz

Asha Brooke

Abby Powell

Maxwell Santiago Magallón

Steve Buza

Saïd Pressley

Grace J. Manuel

Christopher Childress

Teresa Procter

Alexandra Nelson

Patrick Contreras

Nicholas Rathgeb

Liam Norton

Esteban Cordero

Gabrielle Reed

Dante Petrozzi

Robert Dee

Kendall Reimer

Evi Rautio

Callie Denbigh

Francis Rivera

Gabrielle Sebello

Stacia Dunn

Hannah Roberts

Elise Sullivan

Ashley Duplechien

Emily Louise Robinson

Ella Theurer

Ashly Evans

Michael Rodriguez

Peter Theurer

Peter Farley

Kathleen Ruhleder

Penelope Tsao

Ami Figg

Johnny Salvesen

Don Figg

Christina Scanlan

Brian Gibbs

Valerie Serice

Michelle Girardot

Kade Smith

Dallas Gray

Rebecca Tann

Evelyn Grayson

Lisa Vickers

Tabitha Greene

Miles Ward

Nancy Hall

John Weinel

Sarah Jane Hardin

Dalton Woody


Edward F. DeShane

Frankie Hickman

Jennifer Wright

Prince of Persia

Fernando Martín-Gullans *

Austin Hoeltzel Julie Hoeltzel Patty Holley Audrey Hurley Jon Janacek


Executioners Jorrell Lawyer-Jefferson Donald Sayre Laura Gutierrez Girls/Guards Loren Holmes Angela Joy

Katherine Jones Joe Key Wesley Landry

* Mr. Martín-Gullans appears courtesy of Houston Ballet

Sarah L. Lee

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WHO'S WHO EUN SUN KIM (SOUTH KOREA) CONDUCTOR Eun Sun Kim made her North American operatic debut with La traviata at HGO, earning an appointment as the company’s first Principal Guest Conductor in 25 years. During the 2020-21 HGO Digital season, she conducted Mozart’s The Impresario for the company. Following her critically acclaimed San Francisco Opera debut in Rusalka, she was named that company’s Caroline H. Hume Music Director. This season, her first with SFO, she has led Tosca and a new production of Fidelio, in addition to three concerts. The season also has brought a series of important operatic debuts at Wiener Staatsoper and the Metropolitan Opera with La bohème, and at Lyric Opera of Chicago with Tosca. She is slated to conduct symphony orchestras around the globe, including concerts in Berlin, Detroit, Toronto, Portland, and the United Kingdom. Kim is a regular guest conductor at opera houses across Europe, including Staatsoper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsoper, Semperoper Dresden, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Royal Swedish Opera, Royal Danish Opera, Den Norske Opera, Volksoper Wien, Opernhaus Zurich, and Oper Frankfurt. Major upcoming symphonic debuts include subscription concerts with the New York Philharmonic. ROBERT WILSON (UNITED STATES) DIRECTION, DESIGN, AND LIGHTING Born in Waco, Texas, Robert Wilson integrates a wide variety of artistic media, including dance, movement, lighting, sculpture, music, and text, into his works for the stage. Previously for HGO, he directed Parsifal (1992) and Four Saints in Three Acts (1996). After being educated at the University of Texas and Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, Wilson founded the New York-based performance collective “The Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds” in the mid-1960s, and developed his first signature works, including Deafman Glance (1970) and A Letter for Queen Victoria (1974-75). With Philip Glass he wrote the seminal opera Einstein on the Beach (1976). Wilson’s artistic collaborators include many writers and musicians such as Heiner Müller, Tom Waits, Susan Sontag, Laurie Anderson, William Burroughs, Lou Reed, Jessye Norman, and Anna Calvi. Wilson’s drawings, paintings, and sculptures have been presented around the world. He has been honored with numerous awards for excellence, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination, two Premio Ubu awards, the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, and an Olivier Award. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the German Academy of the Arts, and holds eight Honorary Doctorate degrees. France pronounced him 40

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Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (2003) and Officer of the Legion of Honor (2014). Germany awarded him the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit (2014). Wilson is the founder and Artistic Director of The Watermill Center, a laboratory for the arts in Water Mill, New York. NICOLA PANZER (GERMANY) CO-STAGE DIRECTOR Nicola Panzer returns to HGO for the first time since 1992’s Parsifal. She has worked as an independent opera director since 1998 and serves as guest director at Hamburg State Opera. She has directed productions for LA Opera, De Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp, Covent Garden London, Opéras Châtelet and Bastille in Paris, as well as the festivals in Salzburg, Bayreuth, and Spoleto, and in many international theaters including Montpellier, Bologna, Moscow, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, São Paulo, and Perm. She staged Stockhausen’s Aus den sieben Tagen and five productions in the Seria Opera Piccola at the Hamburg State Opera; Hansel and Gretel at Konzerthaus Dortmund; Riders to the Sea and The Abduction from the Seraglio in Frankfurt; The Bartered Bride at the Landestheater Linz; Nabucco at the Opera Festival Immling; Les Mamelles de Tirésias in Leipzig; and The Marriage of Figaro, The Barber of Seville, and The Magic Flute for the Daejeon Spring Festival, South Korea. Since 1997 Panzer has held diverse lectureships at the universities for music and theater of Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, Essen, and Rostock. Her collaboration with Robert Wilson started with Cosmopolitan Greetings (1988), a multimedia jazz opera with music by George Gruntz and Rolf Liebermann based on text by Allen Ginsberg, and with Parsifal (1991), both in Hamburg. Recently she worked as codirector on Luther – Dancing with the Gods in Berlin, Le Trouvère at Verdi Festival Parma, and The Messiah at Mozart Week Salzburg and Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. She studied music theater directing with Götz Friedrich at Hamburg’s Academy of Music and Performing Arts. STEPHANIE ENGELN (GERMANY) CO-SET DESIGNER Making her HGO debut, Stephanie Engeln is a designer based in Yonkers, New York. She has created scenic designs for both opera and theater since 1985. The Magic Flute, her first opera with Robert Wilson, was created and performed at the Paris Opera in 1991. Other recent examples of her work with Wilson include The Messiah and Le Trouvère. Past projects include Madame Butterfly; the gospel opera The Temptations of


St. Anthony by Bernice Reagon and Wilson; Pelleas et Melisande by Claude Debussy; Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung by Bela Bartok and Arnold Schoenberg; Oedipus Rex; Lohengrin; The White Raven, an opera by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson; Parsifal; and Der Freischuetz by Carl Maria von Weber. Englen is currently preparing new theater projects for the German Schauspielhaus Duesseldorf and the Thalia Theater in Hamburg. In a career spanning 36 years she has worked on a great variety of artistic projects. Besides theater and opera projects with Japanese directors Keisuke Suzuki and Takahiro Ito, she worked with German artist Gabriele Henkel and Robert Wilson on museum exhibition and art installations, architectural projects, and object and furniture design. She also has created numerous event concepts, interior designs, and graphic design projects. She studied interior architecture and design in Germany. JACQUES REYNAUD (ITALY) COSTUME DESIGNER Jacques Reynaud is making his HGO debut. He has designed costumes for The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic (Teatro Real Madrid), L’incoronazione di Poppea (Teatro alla Scala, Milan), Der Gefangene / Das Gehege (Staatsoper Stuttgart), Otello (Festspielhaus Baden Baden), and Mary Said What She Said (Théâtre de la Ville, Paris). He is a longtime collaborator with Robert Wilson. MANU HALLIGAN (GERMANY) MAKEUP AND HAIR DESIGNER Making her HGO debut, Manu Halligan is a certified makeup artist who began working for Robert Wilson on such productions as Shakespeare’s Sonnets and Peter Pan (Berliner Ensemble, 2009 and 2013), and the restaging of Einstein on the Beach (Asia Culture Center, Kwangju, 2015). She has been creating the makeup design for his productions ever since. Among their collaborations are Pushkin’s Fairy Tales (Theater of Nations, Moscow, 2015), Edda (Det Norske Teatret, Oslo, 2017), The Sandman (Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, 2017), and La Livre de la Jungle in French and German (Grand Théatre de la Ville, Luxemburg and Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, 2019). Their most recent collaboration was The Messiah (Haus für Mozart, Salzburg, 2020). She also serves as the makeup artist for shows in which Wilson performs. Other projects include creating the makeup and wig designs for Peter Stein’s staging of Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape (2013) starring Klaus Maria Brandauer. Her portfolio includes Hollywood films such as The Hunger Games, Point Break, and

Anonymous, television series including The Queen’s Gambit, and various video productions, including for the band Rammstein, award ceremonies such as The Golden Camera and Echo, events such as Bread&Butter in Berlin, and advertising billboards and campaigns in collaboration with photographers such as Jim Rakete and Stefan Maria Rother. JOHN TORRES (UNITED STATES) CO-LIGHTING DESIGNER John Torres is making his HGO debut. He has designed for theater, opera, live television, dance, and music. He has designed lighting for theater works including Twelfth Night & A Bright Room Called Day (The Public Theatre, New York), The Black Clown (A.R.T., Cambridge), and Hamlet (St. Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn), and for operas Tristan and Isolde (La Monnaie, Brussels), Atlas (Los Angeles Philharmonic), and The Mile Long Opera (High Line). His TV credits include Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live! and Joni 75 (PBS); his dance credits include Toss and Rogues with Trisha Brown (Theatre National de Chaillot/Paris) and Available Light with Lucinda Childs (Disney Concert Hall); and his music credits include Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (St. Ann’s Warehouse) and collaborations with Solange Knowles and Florence and the Machine. TOMASZ JEZIORSKI (POLAND) VIDEO ARTIST Tomasz Jeziorski is a film director and video artist making his HGO debut. His works have been presented at a number of international film festivals, including Locarno, Vancouver, Madrid, St. Petersburg, Tampere, Vienna, and Sibiu. Since 2009 he has been working with Robert Wilson as the author and designer of video projections. He also has collaborated with such artists as Laurent Chetouane, Tilman Hecker, and Herbert Grönemeyer, for whom he prepared projections for the tour promoting the album Dauernd Jetzt. In 2015 he was a finalist at the Papaya Young Directors competition and held an artistic residency in the Watermill Center in New York. He is a graduate of the Institute of Polish Culture at the University of Warsaw and studied film directing and screenwriting at the National Film School in Łódź. He is currently working on a feature film.

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TURANDOT RICHARD BADO (UNITED STATES) CHORUS DIRECTOR Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Director Chair HGO Studio alumnus Richard Bado is director of artistic planning and chorus director at HGO. He made his professional conducting debut in 1989 leading HGO’s acclaimed production of Show Boat at the newly restored Cairo Opera House in Egypt. Since then, he has conducted for Houston Ballet, La Scala, Opéra national de Paris, New York City Opera, the Aspen Music Festival, Tulsa Opera, the Russian National Orchestra, the Florida Philharmonic, the Montreal Symphony, and Wolf Trap Opera. This season he conducted performances of The Nutcracker with the Houston Ballet. An accomplished pianist, Bado appears regularly with Renée Fleming in recital. He has also played for Cecilia Bartoli, Frederica von Stade, Susan Graham, Denyce Graves, Marcello Giordani, Ramón Vargas, Samuel Ramey, Jamie Barton, Ryan McKinny, and Nathan Gunn. Bado holds music degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where he received the 2000 Alumni Achievement Award, and West Virginia University; he also studied advanced choral conducting with Robert Shaw. For 12 years, he was the director of the opera studies program at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. He has served on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Dolora Zajick Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, the International Vocal School in Moscow, and the Texas Music Festival. He received HGO’s Silver Rose Award in 2013 in celebration of his 25th year as chorus master. KAREN REEVES (UNITED STATES) CHILDREN'S CHORUS DIRECTOR Karen Reeves has been working with young singers at HGO since 1991. She is a Grammy Award winner, having served as chorus master for the HGO Children’s Chorus in the Houston Symphony’s performance of Berg’s Wozzeck, which won the 2017 Grammy for Best Opera Performance. She prepared HGO’s Juvenile Chorus for the world premiere of The House Without a Christmas Tree in 2018 and has also prepared the HGO Children’s Chorus and child soloists for such operas as Otello, Carmen, La bohème, Dead Man Walking, Tosca, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hansel and Gretel, The Little Prince, and this season’s The Magic Flute, as well as the spring 2021 outdoor performance at the University of Houston, My Favorite Things: Songs from The Sound of Music. She was a member of the HGO Chorus for 13 seasons, and during the 1999–2000 season, she became the founding director of the Bauer Family High School Voice Studio, HGO’s intensive program for high school students preparing for further vocal music study. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Southwestern University and her Master of Music degree from Rice University. She taught on the voice faculty at Houston Baptist University, and for more than 20 years she taught in the voice department of Houston’s High School for the 42

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Performing and Visual Arts as an artist consultant. She has served as a grant evaluator for the Texas Commission on the Arts music and opera advisory panel. She is the opera program administrator at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. TAMARA WILSON (UNITED STATES) SOPRANO—PRINCESS TURANDOT HGO Studio alumna Tamara Wilson (200507), a noted interpreter of Verdi roles, was seen most recently at HGO in the titular role in Aida (2020) and as Chrysothemis in Elektra in 2018. Other HGO roles include Leonora in Il trovatore (2013); Elisabeth de Valois in the five-act French Don Carlos (2012); Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw (2010); Konstanze in The Abduction from the Seraglio (2008); and Amelia in A Masked Ball (2007). She won first prize in HGO’s 2005 Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias. Wilson continues to garner international recognition for her interpretations of Verdi, Mozart, Strauss and Wagner and is the recipient of the prestigious Richard Tucker Award. Other recent honors include an Olivier Award nomination and Grand Prize in the annual Francisco Viñas Competition held at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. Highlights of the 2021-22 season include debuts at Teatro La Fenice for Fidelio, Santa Fe Opera for Tristan and Isolde, and returns to the Bavarian State Opera for Ariadne auf Naxos, LA Opera for St. Matthew Passion, and the Cleveland Orchestra for Otello. On the concert stage she gave a solo recital at Frankfurt Opera and Cleveland Art Song Festival, and recorded a duet orchestral concert with Russell Braun at the Canadian Opera Company. Other recent performances include returns to the Canadian Opera Company for her role debut as Turandot, Deutsche Oper Berlin for A Masked Ball, and Oper Frankfurt for Don Carlo. In concert, she sang Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in a special Christmas performance and television broadcast with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Franz Welser-Möst. Recent performance highlights include a return to The Metropolitan Opera for Aida, Il trovatore at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Otello at the Canadian Opera Company, Ariadne auf Naxos at Teatro alla Scala, and Elektra with Zürich Opera. In concert Wilson presented Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and at the Edinburgh International Festival, as well as with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. KRISTIAN BENEDIKT (LITHUANIA) TENOR—CALAF Kristian Benedikt is making his HGO debut. Recent career highlights include his 2018 debut at the Metropolitan Opera in Samson and Delilah and his 2019 return to the Met for the same production as well as for The Queen of Spades. His signature role is the title character in Otello, which he performed over 100 times in Vienna, Dresden, Verona, Munich, Savonlinna, at St. Petersburg, Montreal, Beirut, Modena, Piacenza, Cagliari, Palermo,

TURANDOT Santiago de Chile, Victoria, Vilnius, Graz, Basel, and Stockholm. Highlights of past seasons include The Flying Dutchman in Bilbao; Die Walküre in Odense; The Queen of Spades in Moscow, Budapest, and Lucerne; Pagliacci in London; Samson and Dalilah in Turin; Carmen, Tosca, Lohengrin, Samson and Dalila, and Turandot at Macedonian National Opera; and Madame Butterfly, La Juive, Il trovatore, La fanciulla del West, Andrea Chenier, Ernani, Rienzi, Lucia di Lammermoor, and The Tales of Hoffman in Munich, Konstanz, Saint Petersburg, Santiago de Chile, Mexico, Beijing, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Stockholm, Budapest, Amsterdam, Tallinn, Barcelona, Bergamo, and Palermo. After starting his carrier in Vilnius he made his first international appearances recording Ponchielli’s La Gioconda conducted by Marcello Viotti next to Placido Domingo. Subsequently he performed in St. Petersburg and at most of the opera houses of the Baltic countries. As a concert singer he has performed Verdi’s and Webber’s Requiem, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, and Rachmaninov’s The Bells. NICOLE HEASTON (UNITED STATES) SOPRANO—LIÙ HGO Studio alumna and celebrated soprano Nicole Heaston has performed with HGO many times, as Mimì in La bohème (2018), Adina in The Elixir of Love (2016), Pamina in The Magic Flute (2015, 1997); Gilda in performances of Rigoletto (2001); Zerlina in Don Giovanni (1999); Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro (1998); the title role in the world premiere of Jackie O (1997); Mrs. Hayes in Susannah and St. Settlement in Four Saints in Three Acts (1996); and performances of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (1995). During the 2020-21 season, her close collaboration with HGO continued, as she performed Yolanda Cantrell in Jim Luigs’s reimagined The Impresario and Sir Elton John’s Trainer in David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s chamber opera Vinkensport, co-hosted Giving Voice with Lawrence Brownlee, and presented a recital with Richard Bado as part of the Live from the Cullen recital series. Heaston has appeared with opera companies throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Dallas Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Semperoper Dresden, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, and the Glyndebourne Festival in England. The soprano’s 2021-22 season has included a return to San Francisco Opera to make a role debut as Despina in Così fan tutte, and to Houston Ballet as the featured soloist for Of Blessed Memory. She sings further performances of Liù with Maryland Lyric Opera, and performed in The Majesty of the Spiritual at Aurora College in January 2022. In March 2022 she returned to HGO as host and vocal soloist for Giving Voice. Future engagements include leading roles at Den Norske Opera (Oslo), Opera Philadelphia, and The Glimmerglass Festival.

PEIXIN CHEN (CHINA) BASS—TIMUR HGO Studio alumnus Peixin Chen has performed many roles with HGO, including Don Bartolo in The Barber of Seville (2016, 2018), Oroveso in Norma (2018), The King in Aida (2020), Ferrando in Il trovatore (2013), and Sarastro in outdoor performances of The Magic Flute (2015). His repertoire spans the comic parts of Donizetti, Mozart, and Rossini to the strong and serious roles of Puccini, Verdi, and Wagner. Chen has worked with conductors and directors including Harry Bicket, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Giancarlo del Monaco, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, David Paul, Michel Plasson, David Pountney, James Robinson, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Patrick Summers, Krzysztof Urbański, and Francesca Zambello. Engagements for the 2021-22 season include The Magic Flute and Boris Godunov at The Metropolitan Opera and Aida at Cincinnati Opera. Symphonic performances bring him to the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Highlights of recent seasons include a European debut at the Festival d’Aix en Provence in Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen in a new production by Ivo van Hove, a Metropolitan Opera debut as Sarastro in The Magic Flute conducted by Harry Bicket and later performances as Masetto in Don Giovanni led by Cornelius Meister, and a return to Opera Philadelphia as Colline in La bohème conducted by Corrado Rovaris. TAKAOKI ONISHI (JAPAN) BARITONE—PING Making his HGO debut, Takaoki Onishi was the inaugural first prize winner of the IFAC-Juilliard Singing Competition. The prize provided him a full scholarship to attend the Juilliard School. Upon graduation, he joined the prestigious Ryan Opera Ensemble of Lyric Opera of Chicago. He made his debut there as Father Arguedas in the world premiere of Bel Canto (televised on PBS). He remained with the company for three years, singing many roles. Each season, Onishi sings a wide variety of opera, concerts, and recitals in the U.S., Japan, and Europe. He sang the title role in Eugene Onegin at the Seiji Ozawa Festival conducted by Fabio Luisi, and he made his Vienna debut at the Musikverein, in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. He made his debut with the NHK Symphony in Fidelio, and returned for their New Year’s Eve Gala. He also has sung several times at Carnegie Hall. During the pandemic, he sang a wide variety of repertoire in Japan, including Argante in Rinaldo (Bach Collegium), Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony, the Herald in Lohengrin, Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony, Ben in The Telephone, and a tour of Beethoven’s 9th. Future repertoire includes Brahms’s A German Requiem (conducted by Sebastian Weigle), Marcello in La bohème, Kothner in The Mastersingers of Nuremburg, and the Messiah with Bach Collegium. Onishi has won top prizes in many vocal competitions, including Opera Index, Gerda Lissner, and Giulio Gari. At the Premiere Opera Foundation’s H G O. O R G


TURANDOT International Competition, he received both first prize and the special Dmitry Hvorostovsky Prize. ANDREW STENSON (UNITED STATES) TENOR—PANG Andrew Stenson is making his HGO mainstage debut. He is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists Program. In addition to singing many of the standard lyric tenor roles, Stenson has created leading characters in two important world premieres. He left an indelible impression as Danny Chen in An American Soldier with Opera Theater of St. Louis and as Gen Watanabe in Bel Canto with Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he returned to sing Ferrando in Così fan tutte. Stenson has sung such roles as Candide, Tamino in The Magic Flute, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Tonio in La fille du régiment, Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, and Sprink in Silent Night with the opera companies of Seattle, Minnesota, Dallas, Utah, Palm Beach, Arizona, and Washington National Opera. In Europe, he has sung with the Glyndebourne Festival, Wexford Festival, and the opera companies of Toulouse and Bordeaux. Stenson is in demand as a soloist in the concert and oratorio repertoires, having appeared with the symphonies of San Francisco, Philadelphia, Seattle, Kansas City, and the Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival. He has won top prizes in several major vocal competitions. During the pandemic, he participated in several virtual productions with Seattle Opera, including The Elixir of Love, Don Giovanni, and Tosca, as well as in a solo recital. CARLOS ENRIQUE SANTELLI (UNITED STATES) TENOR—PONG Making his HGO debut with Turandot, tenor Carlos Enrique Santelli also will perform the role of Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet at HGO this season. He is a winner of the 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a graduate of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, where he covered Nadir in The Pearl Fishers. In recent seasons, Santelli made his San Diego Opera debut as Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, performed at Dayton Opera as Ramiro in La Cenerentola, and sang his first performances of Tonio in La fille du regiment with Opera Orlando. Santelli was a member of Santa Fe Opera’s distinguished Apprentice Artist Program, where he worked with such noted conductors as Harry Bicket, Emmanuel Villaume, and Corrado Rovaris. In 2017 he made his principal role debut with the company as Arturo in a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor. His work there included Nemorino in The Elixir of Love and Arnold in William Tell. Santelli’s concert engagements have included appearances as the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah (with the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra), Mozart’s Coronation Mass (with the Rochester Symphony Orchestra), and Mozart’s Requiem (with the University of Michigan/Yale Alumni Glee Club), as well as a joint recital with his wife, mezzo-soprano Ashley Dixon. 44

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Santelli received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and his Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan, where he held a Jessye Norman Graduate Fellowship. WILLIAM GUANBO SU (CHINA) BASS—A MANDARIN Anne and Albert Chao Fellow A third-year HGO Studio artist from Beijing, William Guanbo Su is a Grand Finals Winner of the 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the second place winner in HGO’s 2019 Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias. For HGO’s 202122 season, Su's other roles include Zuniga in Carmen, First Officer in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Second Armored Man in The Magic Flute, and the Duke of Verona in Romeo and Juliet. During the 2020-21 HGO Digital season, he performed the role of Bowie Krebs in The Impresario and in fall 2019 with HGO, he performed the role of Usher in Rigoletto. He has studied German lieder at the Franz Schubert Institute in Vienna, and in 2017 won first prize in the Gerda Lissner Lieder Competition. During the summer of 2019, he sang Count Ceprano in Verdi’s Rigoletto with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as a Gerdine Young Artist. Last spring, he made his Austin Opera debut as Angelotti in Tosca, and last summer, he returned to the Aspen Music Festival as a voice fellow to sing Sarastro in The Magic Flute and Garibaldo in Rodelinda. This season, he also makes his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as the Jailer in Tosca. HÉCTOR VÁSQUEZ (UNITED STATES) BARITONE—EMPEROR ALTOUM Héctor Vásquez has appeared with HGO many times, most recently as Aba in the 2019 world premiere of El Milagro del Recuerdo, a role he will reprise with HGO in December 2022. He also performed Benoît/Alcindoro in HGO’s 2018 production of La bohème, having previously appeared as Benoît/Alcindoro in outdoor performances of the opera in 2013 and in mainstage performances of the opera in 2012. Other past roles at HGO include George Benton in Dead Man Walking (2011), the title role in Rigoletto in outdoor performances (2009), Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen (2007), Alvaro in Florencia en el Amazonas (2001, world premiere in 1996), and Schaunard in La bohème (1996). He has appeared with major opera companies, orchestras, and festivals including the Metropolitan Opera; San Francisco Opera; Utah Opera; Seattle Opera; Opera Colorado; LA Opera; the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the San Francisco Symphony; the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival; and the Ojai Festival. Vásquez is on the faculty of the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston and is a voice faculty member of HGO Community and Learning’s Bauer Family High School Voice Studio. He is also the co-director of the High School Voice Program at the Brevard Music Center. He was the director of the HGO Studio from 2006 to 2008.




This six-year multidisciplinary initiative is designed to highlight the universal spiritual themes raised in opera and to enable a wider segment of the Houston community to engage in programming that illuminates opera’s beauty, emotional power, and potential to heal. The theme for 2021-22 is Character and includes Carmen, The Snowy Day, Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Turandot.


Harlan and Dian Stai Lynn Wyatt The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Mr. and Mrs. Donald G. Sweeney

The Brown Foundation, Inc.

The Wortham Foundation, Inc.

Mathilda Cochran

Albert and Anne Chao

Connie Dyer

Mr. John G. Turner and Mr. Jerry G. Fischer

Claire Liu and Joseph Greenberg Elizabeth Phillips

Louisa Stude Sarofim Foundation

For information on providing leadership support for Seeking the Human Spirit, please contact Greg Robertson at 713-546-0274.

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THE BYRD HOFFMAN WATER MILL FOUNDATION THANKS The Watermill Center Residency Program began in 2006, when The Center officially opened as a year-round facility. Each year collectives and individual artists take up residence at The Center to live and develop works that critically investigate, challenge, and extend the existing norms of artistic practice. To date, The Center has hosted over 170 residencies featuring artists from more than 65 nations. ABOUT THE WATERMILL CENTER’S ARTIST RESIDENCY PROGRAM Founded in 1992 by avant-garde visionary and theater director Robert Wilson, The Watermill Center is an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts and humanities situated on ten acres of Shinnecock ancestral territory on Long Island’s East End. With an emphasis on creativity and collaboration, Watermill integrates performing arts practice with resources from the humanities, research from the sciences, and inspiration from the visual arts. The Center is unique within the global landscape of experimental artistic practice and regularly convenes the brightest minds from across disciplines to do, in Wilson’s words, “what no one else is doing.”

Veronica Atkins, Agnès B, Maria Bacardi, Thierry Barbier-Mueller, Jeff Beauchamp, Kelly Behun & Jay Sugarman, Karin & Jörg Bittel, Carrie & Julien Bizot, Karolina Blaberg, Virginie & Nicolas Bos, Countess Cristiana Brandolini & Antoine Lafont, Michael Braverman, Rosamund Brown, Teresa Bulgheroni, Betty & Philippe Camus, Marisa Chearavanont, Hugh Clark, Bonnie Comley & Stewart F. Lane, Paula Cooper & Jack Macrae, Ryan Cotton, Cowles Charitable Trust, Ralph Raymond Curton Jr., Marina de Brantes, Baroness Rose Anne de Pampelonne, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Dr. Lee MacCormick Edwards Charitable Foundation, Janene Edlin, Lisa & Sandy Ehrenkranz, Beatrice & Pepe Esteve, illycaffè, Fondazione Carla Fendi, Wendy & Roger Ferris, Drew Fine, Jennifer Fischer, Anke & Jurgen Friedrich, The JAF Foundation, Lady Gaga, Berta & Frank Gehry, Jolmer Gerritse, Milly & Arnold Glimcher, Natalia Good, Marian Goodman, Audrey & Martin D. Gruss, Carole & Frederick Guest, Susan Gullia, Amy & Ronald Guttman, Susan & Richard Hayden, Anne Hearst & Jay McInerney, Frances Henry, Sigurdur Hilmarsson, David Hockney, Maja Hoffmann & Stanley Buchthal, Rose Hofmann, Jenny Holzer, Stephanie & Timothy Ingrassia, Kerri & Bernie Jackson, Carola & Bob Jain, Marie-Rose Kahane & David Landau, Joyce & Philip Kan, Rei Kawakubo, Jan Kengelbach, Wendy Keys, Lummi & Martin Kieren, The Calvin Klein Family Foundation, Eileen O’Kane Kornreich, Leah Kremer, Wangechi Mutu & Mario Lazzaroni, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Johann Borwin Lueth, Earle I. Mack Foundation, Richard Maybaum, Diane & Adam Max, Henry McNeil, mediaThe foundation, Richard Meier, Mme. Léone-Noëlle Meyer, Raphael Meyer, Tanya MinhasNahem & Edward Tyler Nahem, Alexandra Munroe & Robert Rosenkranz, Elizabeth Muse, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Council for the Humanities, Christl & Michael Otto, Dorit & Alexander Otto, Inga Maren Otto, Katharina Otto-Bernstein & Nathan Bernstein, Helmut Paasch, Jayson Paulino, Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, Jane Gullaksen Perfetti, Lisa & Richard Perry, Michele & Steven Pesner, Dominique Piermay, Judith Pisar, Miuccia Prada, Eleanor Propp, Katharine Rayner, Laurence Rickels, Lady Jill Ritblat, Alfred Richterich, Jerome Robbins Foundation, John Rockwell, Rolex, Hilary Geary & Wilbur Ross, May & Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Maryam & Rolf Sachs, Erica Samuels, Andrea Krantz & Harvey Sawikin, Elizabeth Segerstrom, Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation, Anastasiya Siro, Barbara Slifka, Joseph & Sylvia Slifka Foundation, Annaliese Soros, Suffolk County Office of Cultural Affairs, Evelyn & Gregory Tolston, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Vasiliy Tsereteli, Robert Turner & Peter Speliopoulos, Van Cleef & Arpels, Annemarie & Gianfranco Verna, Helen & Rolf von Büren, Baroness Nina von Maltzahn, Christine Wächter-Campbell & William I. Campbell, Roger Wallace, Helen Lee & David Warren, Franz Wassmer, Joyce Weinberg, The Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust, LLWW Foundation, RW Work Ltd., Shirley Young, National YoungArts Foundation, Susanna Zevi, Nina & Michael Zilkha, Antje & Klaus Zumwinkel, and many other esteemed donors.

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29 01m 07 11

An Opera in Five Acts Music by Charles Gounod Libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré Sung in French with projected English translation

BROWN THEATER, WORTHAM THEATER CENTER The performance lasts approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes, including one intermission. A co-production with Atlanta Opera and The Dallas Opera The activities of Houston Grand Opera are supported in part by funds provided by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.


Funded In Pa r t By


Hous t on A r t s Alliance


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Quick Start Guide BACKGROUND The famously tragic romance between members of two feuding families originated in an early-16th century, semi-auto-biographical novella by Italian writer Luigi da Porto. The story was embellished into a new version by his contemporary Matteo Bandello, which Charles Gounod was then translated into English verse by Arthur Brooke and into English prose by William Painter. The English translations became the basis for William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, written in the early 1590s. In 1867, French composer Charles Gounod collaborated with librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carré to adapt the Shakespeare into a French grand opera.

THE STORY IN A NUTSHELL Boy (Romeo) meets girl (Juliet) when he crashes her birthday ball, but their families, the Montagues and the Capulets, are part of rival clans. Juliet’s cousin Tybalt tries to attack Romeo, but her dad, Lord Capulet, doesn’t want a scene. That night, love propels Romeo to the garden beneath Juliet’s balcony, where he hears her calling his name. The two declare their love but are interrupted by the Capulet servants. The lovers meet with Friar Laurence, who agrees to secretly marry them, but during the wedding a fight breaks out. Tybalt kills Romeo’s friend Mercutio, so Romeo kills Tybalt, and is banished from the city. Unaware of the wedding, Lord Capulet orders his daughter to marry the nobleman Paris. Laurence helps Juliet takes a potion that will allow her to fake her death and escape with Romeo. But Romeo arrives to her tomb before receiving word from the friar and, thinking Juliet is really dead, poisons himself. She awakens, and after a shortlived reunion, Romeo dies. Juliet then plunges his dagger into her own heart.

WHAT TO LISTEN FOR Gounod’s opera is best known for the four gorgeous duets sung by the lovers, including a final one at the opera’s end. The composer altered Shakespeare’s play to have Juliet wake up long enough for the star-cross’d lovers to sing “Ah! je te l’ai dit je t’adore!” (“Ah! I told you, I adore you!”) and then die. Another moment to listen for is Juliet’s stunning aria from the beginning of the opera, “Je veux vivre” (“I want to live”), also known as Juliet’s Waltz, which she sings after her maid reminds her that she has been promised to Paris. A famously difficult piece requiring great flexibility and agility, it is a common audition aria for sopranos.

FUN FACT Dozens of operas have been written about Romeo and Juliet over the last 400 years. Perhaps the most well-known after Gounod’s, Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, has a rather different storyline from the versions by Shakespeare or Gounod. This is due to the difference in source material: the original novella by da Porto was embellished by Bordello, the English translations of which became the source for Shakespeare. The da Porto was also adapted into a play by Luigi Scevola, which became the source material for Bellini’s librettist Felice Romani—bypassing the English versions altogether. It is thought that when Bellini composed his opera, he was unaware of Shakespeare’s play. Among the story's many film interpretations: Baz Luhrmann's 1996 version, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.

Photo credit: Entertainment Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo



CAST (in order of vocal appearance)


Tybalt Carlos Enrique Santelli

Conductor Patrick Summers Sarah and Ernest Butler Chair

Paris Geoffrey Hahn ‡ Lord Capulet

Donnie Ray Albert

Juliet Adriana González * Mercutio Thomas Glass ‡ Romeo Michael Spyres

Director Tomer Zvulun Associate Director/Choreographer

Donald Byrd *

Set Designers John Conklin Julia Noulin-Mérat * Costume Designer

Gregory Gale

Benvolio Eric Taylor † Mrs. Sharon G. Ley and Mr. Robert F. Lietzow/Jill

Lighting Designer

Thomas Hase *

and Allyn Risley/ Drs. Rachel and Warren A. Ellsworth IV Fellow

Intimacy and Fight Director

Adam Noble

Gertrude Emily Treigle † Mr. and Mrs. James W. Crownover/Mr. Veer Vasishta Fellow

Gregorio Blake Denson † Gloria M. Portela / Carolyn J. Levy/Liz Grimm and Jack Roth Fellow

Friar Laurence

Nicholas Newton ‡

Stephano Sun-Ly Pierce † Mr. and Mrs. Charles G. Nickson/John Serpe and Tracy Maddox Fellow

The Duke of Verona William Guanbo Su † Anne and Albert Chao Fellow

Chorus Director Richard Bado ‡ Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Director Chair Musical Preparation Benjamin Manis Alex Munger † Drs. Gary Hollingsworth and Ken Hyde/Trey Yates/

Dr. Saúl and Ursula Balagura Fellow

Peter Pasztor ‡ Madeline Slettedahl

Assistant Director

Bruno Baker *

Stage Manager

Brian August

* Company debut † Houston Grand Opera Studio artist ‡ Former Houston Grand Opera Studio artist

PRODUCTION CREDITS Wings provided by Fancy Fairy Wings & Things. English supertitles by Patricia Houk, adapted by Jeremy Johnson. Supertitles called by Emily Kern. Performing artists, stage directors, and choreographers are represented by the American Guild of Musical Artists, the union for opera professionals in the United States. Scenic, costume, and lighting designers and assistant designers are represented by United Scenic Artists, IATSE Local USA-829. Orchestral musicians are represented by the Houston Professional Musicians Association, Local #65-699, American Federation of Musicians. Stage crew personnel provided by IATSE, Local #51. Wardrobe personnel provided by Theatrical Wardrobe Union, Local #896. This production is being recorded for archival purposes.


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Setting: Verona


A choral prologue foretells the tragedy of Verona’s two rival families, the Montagues and the Capulets.

Romeo and Juliet have spent the night together; it is dawn and Romeo must flee. Gertrude comes to warn Juliet that her father is approaching with Friar Lawrence. Lord Capulet tells Juliet that, according to the dying wish of her cousin Tybalt, she must on that very day marry Paris, the nobleman her father has selected to be her husband. No one dares tell Lord Capulet that Juliet has already married Romeo. When her father leaves, Friar Lawrence stays behind to give Juliet a sleeping potion that will cause her to appear dead for 24 hours; when she wakes up in her tomb, Romeo will be there for her.

ACT I Lord Capulet hosts a ball in honor of his daughter Juliet’s birthday. Among the crowd are some uninvited guests: Romeo, the son of the rival Montague clan, and his friend Mercutio. When Romeo catches a glimpse of Juliet, he falls immediately in love with her; and when they meet, she falls in love just as instantaneously. Still unaware of each other’s identity, the would-be lovers are interrupted by Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt. He recognizes Romeo as a Montague, but is restrained from attacking him by Lord Capulet so as not to create a scene at the ball.

ACT II Unbeknown to Juliet, Romeo is hiding in the garden beneath her balcony when she calls into the night for him. He reveals himself and they declare their love. They are interrupted by Gregorio and the Capulet servants, who are searching for an intruder, and again by Juliet’s nurse, who calls her inside. Romeo and Juliet take their leave, promising eternal devotion.


ACT V Romeo returns for Juliet. He has not received the message from Friar Lawrence that she is only sleeping, and, upon finding her apparently lifeless body, he swallows poison. Juliet awakens and they are reunited—but only briefly. The poison begins to work, and Juliet, desiring to be united with Romeo in death, plunges his dagger into her breast.

HGO PERFORMANCE HISTORY Romeo and Juliet was previously staged by HGO during the 1964-65, 1972-73, 1995-96, and 2004-05 seasons.

The next day, Romeo and Juliet meet in the cell of Friar Lawrence, who agrees to marry them in the hope that their union may bring an end to the feud between their families.

INTERMISSION The page Stephano is waiting for his master Romeo, whom he thinks is at the Capulet home. He sings a disrespectful song which leads to a quarrel. Romeo tries to stop the fighting, but Tybalt kills Mercutio. In retaliation, Romeo kills Tybalt and is banished from the city.

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HGO ORCHESTRA Patrick Summers, Artistic and Music Director Sarah and Ernest Butler Chair

VIOLIN Denise Tarrant*, Concertmaster Sara and Ernest Butler Concertmaster Chair

Chloe Kim*, Assistant Concertmaster Natalie Gaynor*, Principal, Second Violin

Wendy Smith-Butler†

Ryan Rongone

Steven Wiggs*

Justin Bain*

Steve Estes Shino Hayashi

Carrie Kauk†, Assistant Principal Second Violin

TUBA Mark Barton*, Principal †

Miriam Belyatsky*, Acting Assistant Principal Second Violin


Anabel Detrick†

Dennis Whittaker*, Principal


Rasa Kalesnykaite†

Erik Gronfor*, Assistant Principal

Alison Chang*, Principal

Hae-a Lee-Barnes*

Carla Clark*

Chavdar Parashkevov†

Austin Lewellen

Mary Reed*

PERCUSSION Richard Brown*, Principal

Erica Robinson*


Linda Sanders*

Henry Williford*, Principal

Oleg Sulyga*

Tyler Martin*

Sylvia VerMeulen* Melissa Williams* Zubaida Azezi Eugeniu Cheremoush Andres Eduardo Gonzalez

Christina Carroll

HARP Joan Eidman*, Principal

OBOE Elizabeth Priestly Siffert†, Principal Mayu Isom*, Acting Principal Stanley Chyi

ORGAN Thomas Marvil

Kana Kimura Maria Lin Emily Madonia Mila Neal Sylvia Ouelette

CLARINET Sean Krissman*, Principal


Eric Chi*

Rachel Shepard Trung Trinh


Hannah Watson

Amanda Swain*, Principal Michael Allard*

VIOLA Eliseo Rene Salazar*, Principal


Lorento Golofeev*, Assistant Principal

Sarah Cranston*, Principal

Gayle Garcia-Shepard*

Kimberly Penrod Minson*

Erika Lawson*

Spencer Park†

Suzanne LeFevre†

Gavin Reed

Dawson White*

Kevin McIntyre

Gabrielle Glass Meredith Harris


Sergein Yap

Tetsuya Lawson*, Principal

Randal Adams*

CELLO Barrett Sills*, Principal


Erika Johnson*, Assistant Principal

Thomas Hulten*, Principal

Ariana Nelson*

Mark Holley†


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* HGO Orchestra core musician † HGO Orchestra core musician on leave this production


HGO CHORUS Richard Bado, Chorus Director Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Director Chair

Nathan Abbott

Alejandro Magallón

Ofelia Adame

Heath Martin

Preston Andrews

Antonio Martinez

Maggie Armand

Neal Martinez

Dennis Arrowsmith

Norman Mathews

Christopher Auchter

Byron Mayes

Megan Berti

Katherine McDaniel

Asha Brooke

Jeff Monette

Steve Buza

Natasha Monette

Christopher Childress

Matthew Neumann

Patrick Contreras

Patrick Perez

Esteban Cordero

Abby Powell

Callie Denbigh

Saïd Pressley

Stacia Dunn

Teresa Procter

Ami Figg

Nicholas Rathgeb

Don Figg

Brad Raymond

Brian Gibbs

Gabrielle Reed

Evelyn Grayson

Kendall Reimer

Frankie Hickman

Francis Rivera

Austin Hoeltzel

Hannah Roberts

Julie Hoeltzel

Emily Louise Robinson

Jon Janacek

Michael Rodriguez

Katherine Jones

Johnny Salvesen

Joe Key

Christina Scanlan

Alison King

Kade Smith

Melissa Krueger

Kaitlyn Stavinoha

Wesley Landry

Lauren Vick

Yoojin Lee

Miles Ward

Aarianna Longino

John Weinel Jennifer Wright



Cameron Edwards

Larissa Bither

La’Rodney Freeman

Alan Kim

Kharma Grimes

Brandon Morgan

Macey Westall

Anna Pruitt

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PATRICK SUMMERS (UNITED STATES) CONDUCTOR Sarah and Ernest Butler Chair Patrick Summers was named artistic and music director of HGO in 2011 after having served as the company’s music director since 1998. Some highlights of his work at HGO include conducting the company’s first-ever complete cycle of Wagner’s Ring and its first performances of the Verdi Requiem; collaborating on the world premieres of Tarik O’Regan’s The Phoenix, André Previn’s Brief Encounter, Christopher Theofani dis’s The Refuge, Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life, The End of the Affair, and Three Decembers, Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree and Prince of Players, Tod Machover’s Resurrection, and Joel Thompson’s The Snowy Day; leading the American premiere of Weinberg’s Holocaust opera The Passenger, both at HGO and on tour to the Lincoln Center Festival; and nurturing the careers of such artists as Christine Goerke, Ailyn Perez, Joyce DiDonato, Ana María Martínez, Ryan McKinny, Tamara Wilson, Albina Shagimuratova, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Norman Reinhardt, Jamie Barton, and Dimitri Pittas. Maestro Summers has enjoyed a long association with San Francisco Opera (SFO) and was honored in 2015 with the San Francisco Opera Medal. His work with SFO includes conducting Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick, which was recorded and telecast on PBS’s Great Performances. In 2017, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree by Indiana University. He was recently named Co-Artistic Director of the Aspen Music Festival’s opera program alongside Renée Fleming. During the 2021-22 season at HGO, he also conducted The Snowy Day and Dialogues of the Carmelites, and during the 2019-20 season, he conducted Saul and Aida. Other recent engagements included Dead Man Walking at the Israeli Opera. TOMER ZVULUN (ISRAEL) DIRECTOR General and Artistic Director of The Atlanta Opera since 2013, Tomer Zvulun previously directed The Flying Dutchman (2018) and Rigoletto (2019) for HGO. His work has been presented by prestigious opera houses in Europe, South and Central America, Israel, and the U.S.; the festivals of Wexford, Glimmerglass, and Wolf Trap; and leading educational institutes and universities such as The Juilliard School, Indiana University, and Boston University. Zvulun spent seven seasons on the directing staff of the Metropolitan Opera where he directed revivals of Carmen and Tosca and was involved with more than a dozen new productions. His European premiere of Silent Night at the 54

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Wexford Festival received two Irish Times Awards and traveled from Ireland to Washington National Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, and the opera companies of Atlanta, Austin, and Salt Lake City. Zvulun directed over 15 new productions in his home company in Atlanta, including Dead Man Walking, The Flying Dutchman, Soldier Songs, Silent Night, María de Buenos Aires, La bohème, Madame Butterfly, Lucia di Lammermoor, The Magic Flute, and Eugene Onegin. During Zvulun’s tenure, the company’s fundraising has tripled, resulting in twice the number of productions presented annually. His focus on innovation has garnered national attention and resulted in a Harvard Business School case study chronicling The Atlanta Opera’s turnaround, an International Opera Awards nomination, an ArtsATL Luminary Award, and an invitation to deliver a Ted Talk. His upcoming projects include a new production of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs for five companies in the U.S. and Canada, Rigoletto in Dallas, Utah and Atlanta, and a new Rheingold in Dallas and Atlanta. DONALD BYRD (UNITED STATES) ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR/ CHOREOGRAPHER Making his HGO debut, Donald Byrd is the Artistic Director of Spectrum Dance Theater and a Tony-nominated (The Color Purple) and Bessie Award-winning (The Minstrel Show) choreographer. He has created works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, and The Joffrey Ballet, among others. He has worked extensively in theater and opera including with the NY Public Theater, the 5th Avenue Theater, Seattle Opera, Dutch National Opera, and San Francisco Opera. He has been a Fellow at The American Academy of Jerusalem, a United States Artists James Baldwin Fellow, a Resident Fellow at The Rockefeller Center Bellagio, and a Fellow at the Harvard-based Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue. Byrd’s honors include the Doris Duke Artist Award, James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award, an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts (Cornish College of the Arts), a Master of Choreography Award (The Kennedy Center), and the Mayor’s Arts Award for his contributions to the city of Seattle. JOHN CONKLIN (UNITED STATES) SET DESIGNER John Conklin is an internationally recognized designer and dramaturg. He has designed sets on and off Broadway, at the Kennedy Center, and for opera companies around the world including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Bastille Opera in Paris, the Royal Opera, and the opera houses of


Munich, Amsterdam, and Bologna, among many others. Conklin serves on the faculty of New York University's Tisch School and has served as an Artistic Advisor to Boston Lyric Opera since 2009. Conklin has worked as a set designer for HGO performances of Macbeth (1973), Carmen (1981, 1988), and La bohème (1991), and a set and costume designer for The Marriage of Figaro (1973), Werther (1979), Il trovatore (1992), Norma (1996), and Don Pasquale (2006). JULIA NOULIN-MÉRAT (UNITED STATES) SET DESIGNER Making her HGO debut, Julia Noulin-Mérat is an American, French, and Canadian producer and production designer. She is the General Director and CEO of Opera Columbus, the creative director for Hong Kong-based More Than Musical, and the Artistic Advisor of Guerilla Opera; she served as Associate Producer at Boston Lyric Opera for eight years. Noulin-Mérat has designed over 400 opera, theater, and television productions, including 25 new operas and 22 new plays. Other projects include a Ted Talk on site-specific opera productions in the modern age for Opera Omaha; Neverland (China Broadway), a $20 million, 50,000-square-foot immersive theater piece in Beijing based on Peter Pan directed by Allegra Libonati; pandemic-era outdoor fall and spring festival productions for the Atlanta Opera, directed by Tomer Zvulun; an immersive Pagliacci (Boston Lyric Opera) production complete with fairgrounds inside an ice rink directed by David Lefkowich; and Playground (Opera Omaha), a national touring operatic sound sculpture in collaboration with composer Ellen Reid. Her work has been featured in Opera News, Live Design, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, to name a few GREGORY GALE (UNITED STATES) COSTUME DESIGNER Gregory Gale's most recent opera work includes the world premieres of El Milagro Del Recuerdo and The Prince of Players for HGO and An American Soldier and La Rondine for Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Gale is a recipient of the Irene Sharaff Young Master Award and has been nominated for two Tony Awards, for Cyrano de Bergerac and Rock of Ages. His other Broadway production credits include Arcadia, The Wedding Singer (Drama Desk Nomination), Urinetown (Lucille Lortel Nomination), and Band in Berlin. He won the Lucille Lortel Award for his production of The Voysey Inheritance (Atlantic Theater Company) and was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award for The Third Story (Primary Stages). Gale’s television credits

include Cyrano De Bergerac with Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner (PBS and Amazon Prime); Will Work for Food, Chocolate Dress Maker episode (Food Network); NBC New Year’s Eve 2019 (NBC); and the 2009 FIFA World Conference Opening Ceremony (multiple networks). Upcoming releases include The Mental State and Real Drag. Gale is the co-artistic director of a reimagined Nutcracker that melds digital art with live performance, to be presented in November 2022 in New York, and Fairycakes, written and directed by Douglas Carter Beane. THOMAS HASE (UNITED STATES) LIGHTING DESIGNER Making his HGO debut, Thomas Hase has worked with opera companies including The Santa Fe Opera, Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, Los Angeles Opera, Seattle Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, San Diego Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Philadelphia Opera, Atlanta Opera, Dallas Opera, and San Diego Opera. His work has been seen at regional theaters throughout the country, including Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and Indiana Repertory Theatre. In New York his work has been seen on Broadway (Company, which won a Tony Award for Best Revival), off Broadway (with Ping Chong & Company), at New York City Opera, and at BAM Next Wave Festival. He has designed productions throughout Europe, Asia, and South America, including for Staatsoper in Vienna; Bavarian State Opera; Staatstheater Kassel; Deutsche Oper am Rhein; Theater Erfurt; Stadttheater Giessen; the Barbican and Sadler’s Wells in London; Opera North in the U.K.; the Abbey Theater and for Riverdreams in Dublin; the Gran Teatre del Liceu opera in Barcelona; Malmö Opera in Sweden; the Dutch, Finnish and Columbian National Operas; Stageholdings and the Nationale Reisopera in Holland; Opéra National de Bordeaux; Marseille Opera; Canadian Opera Company; the Luminato Festival in Toronto; Singapore Arts Festival; and Tokyo Metro Arts Center. Hase has served as the head of lighting design for Cincinnati Opera Association for 25 years. ADAM NOBLE (UNITED STATES) INTIMACY AND FIGHT DIRECTOR Adam Noble is a movement specialist with over 25 years of experience in theater, opera, and film. He is the Movement Instructor for the HGO Studio, and previously served as the company’s Fight Director for Julius Caesar (2018) and Rigoletto (2019) and as the Fight and Intimacy Director for Carmen (2021) and Don Giovanni (2019). Notable credits include The Kennedy H G O. O R G


ROMEO AND JULIET Center for the Performing Arts, The Alley Theatre, Opera Carolina, Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, Dayton Opera, the Public Theatre, and more. Noble is the co-founder and artistic director of the Dynamic Presence Project, a theater company focused on the revitalization and proliferation of movement theater and embodied physical storytelling. He teaches movement both nationally and internationally, and has choreographed the physicality, violence, and intimacy for well over 200 productions. As the Associate Professor of Acting & Movement at the University of Houston, he serves both the MFA and the BFA acting programs. He is also the resident Fight Director & Intimacy Coordinator for The Alley Theatre. RICHARD BADO (UNITED STATES) CHORUS DIRECTOR Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Director Chair For information about Richard Bado, please see page 42. MICHAEL SPYRES (UNITED STATES) TENOR—ROMEO Michael Spyres made his HGO debut in 2020 as Fernand in La favorite, heroically flying in for one performance on behalf of an ailing colleague. His career has established him as a specialist in the bel canto repertoire as well as Rossini and French grand opera. He first sprang to international attention as Rossini's Otello at the 2008 Rossini in Wildbad Festival and as an ensemble member of Deutsche Oper Berlin. Engagements have taken him to opera houses and festivals in the U.S. and abroad, including the Metropolitan Opera (La damnation de Faust), Teatro alla Scala (Belfiore in Il viaggio a Reims, Rodrigo in La donna del lago), Royal Opera House (Rodrigo in Mitridate, Re di Ponto), Paris National Opera (La Clemenza di Tito), Vienna State Opera (La Cenerentola), Bavarian State Opera (The Tales of Hoffman), Gran Teatre del Liceu (Hoffmann, Mitridate), Teatro Real Madrid (Pollione in Norma), Opernhaus Zürich (Orlando in Paladino, Pollione in Norma), Lyric Opera Chicago (Alfred in Die Fledermaus, Rossilon in The Merry Widow), Salzburg Festival, BBC Proms, Aix-en-Provence, and Rossini Opera Festival. Spyres has appeared with the Berlin Philharmonics, Vienna Philharmonics, and Gewandhaus Orchestra, singing with conductors Davis, Elder, Gardiner, Gardner, Gergiev, Haïm, Luisi, Mariotti, Muti, Nézet-Séguin, Petrenko, Pidò, Rousset, Young, and Zedda. He completed his studies at the Vienna Conservatory. ADRIANA GONZÁLEZ (GUATEMALA) SOPRANO—JULIET Adriana González is making her HGO debut. As a member of the Atelier Lyrique of the Paris National Opera, she sang Zerlina (Don 56

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Giovanni) and Despina (Così fan tutte). Her honors include First Prize in the Otto Edelmann Competition, Second Prize and Public Choice Prize in the Francisco Viñas Competition, and the Teatro Real Prize in Madrid, as well as First Prize and Zarzuela Prize at the 2019 Operalia Competition. González has sung Pamina (The Magic Flute) in Gars; Corinna (Il viaggio a Reims) in Barcelona; Diane and Première Prêtresse (Iphigénie en Tauride) and Sapho and Iphise (Les fêtes d’Hébé) in Paris and London; Berta (The Barber of Seville) in Zürich and Beaune; Alice (Le comte Ory), Serpetta (La finta giardiniera), and Annina (La traviata) in Zürich; Lia (L’Enfant Prodigue) in Nancy; Micaela (Carmen) in Geneva; Liù (Turandot) in Toulo; Brigitta (Iolanta) in Paris; the Countess (The Marriage of Figaro) in Nancy and Frankfurt; and Mimi (La bohème) in Barcelona. In spring 2020 Audax Records released her first recording, devoted to Robert Dussaut & Hélène Covatti melodies; in autumn 2021 the same label released her second album, featuring melodies by Isaac Albéniz. Forthcoming projects include the Countess in Luxembourg and Frankfurt, Mimi in Toulon, Micaela in ParisBastille and Amsterdam, Verdi's Requiem in Lisbon (conducted by Lorenzo Viotti), and Liù in Strasbourg and in Paris-Bastille. THOMAS GLASS (UNITED STATES) BARITONE—MERCUTIO Baritone Thomas Glass is a Grand Prize winner of the 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a recent alumnus of the HGO Studio (2017-19). This season he also appeared with HGO as Papageno in The Magic Flute. Previously with HGO, he has performed Marcello in selected performances of La bohème (2018); Alvaro in Florencia en el Amazonas (2019); Figaro in outdoor performances of The Barber of Seville (2018); Fiorello in mainstage performances of The Barber of Seville (2018); Officer Krupke in W est Side Story (2018); and Baron Douphol in La traviata (2017). In the 2021-22 season, he joined the Metropolitan Opera as Yamadori in Madame Butterfly. Recently, he sang the title role in Sweeney Todd at Wolf Trap Opera, joined the Berkshire Opera Festival as Ford in Falstaff, and returned to Minnesota Opera as the Vicar in a digital production of Albert Herring. NICHOLAS NEWTON (UNITED STATES) BASS-BARITONE—FRIAR LAURENCE Last season 2020-21 HGO Studio alumnus Nicholas Newton performed in HGO Digital productions The Making of The Snowy Day, an Opera for All; Giving Voice; and Marian’s Song, as well as HGO’s spring 2021 performances of Marian’s Song at Miller Outdoor Theatre. The third prize winner in HGO’s 2019 Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias and an alumnus of HGO’s Young Artists Vocal Academy (2016), he previously played Billy King in the world premiere of Marian’s Song (2020) and Monterone in Rigoletto (2019). During HGO’s 2021-22 season, he also performed the role of Daddy/Tim in The Snowy Day. Other engagements this season

ROMEO AND JULIET include Handel’s Messiah with Indianapolis Symphony, performing Colline in La bohème with Annapolis Opera, and joining the roster at the Metropolitan Opera to cover the role of Garibaldo in Rodelinda. His notable performances include the roles of Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd with Wolf Trap Opera, Monterone in Rigoletto with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and both Olin Blitch in Susannah and Achilla in Giulio Cesare at Rice University. An avid concert performer and recitalist, Newton is also an alumnus of Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute and has performed as a soloist in Mozart's Requiem, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, Fauré's Requiem, Stephen Paulus’s To Be Certain of the Dawn, Duruflé’s Requiem with San Diego Master Chorale, the world premiere of Christmas Revels with Las Colinas Symphony, and, most recently, in the Hart Institute for Women Conductors Showcase Concert with the Dallas Opera. DONNIE RAY ALBERT (UNITED STATES) BARITONE—LORD CAPULET Donnie Ray Albert is a regular guest of opera companies and orchestras around the world. His many performances with HGO include the roles of Parson Alltalk in Treemonisha (1975), Porgy in Porgy and Bess (1976, 1987), Joe in Show Boat (1982), and Tonio in Pagliacci (2000). Last season he appeared in HGO Digital’s Giving Voice II. Albert has performed with the Metropolitan Opera as Germont; with Los Angeles Opera as Trinity Moses in Mahagonny, Simone in A Florentine Tragedy, and the Father in Hansel and Gretel; and made numerous appearances with Opera Pacific, Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, Dallas Opera, Arizona, and other companies across the U.S., Canada, Europe, and beyond. In fall 2020 he appeared in Michigan Opera Theatre’s drive-in production, Twilight: Gods, and Fort Worth Opera’s digital production, Bernadette’s Cozy Book Nook. Other recent operatic engagements include a return to the Semperoper Dresden to sing the Four Villains and Germont; his debut with the Glyndebourne Festival as the Doctor in Vanessa; and his return to Copenhagen as Falstaff and to Austin Lyric Opera as Amonasro. Albert has performed the role of Rigoletto for Vancouver Opera; Amonasro in Riga, Latvia, and Phoenix; Alfio for the Orlando Opera; Iago for the Kentucky Opera; Il Giuramento for the Washington Concert Opera; Das Lied von der Erde with Rhode Island Philharmonic; Elijah with the Southwest Florida Master Chorale; Germont with Kentucky Opera; Giorgio in I Puritani with Latvian Opera; and the Four Villains in a new production of The Tales of Hoffman with Prague’s National Theater. He has performed across the world as a concert artist. A member of the faculty of the University of Texas in Austin, Albert may be heard on RCA’s Grammy Award and Grand Prix du Disque winning recording of Porgy and Bess, NOW’s recording of The Horse I Ride Has Wings with David Garvey on piano, EMI’s Früh lingsbegräbnis and Eine Florentinesche Tragodie by Zemlinsky conducted by James Conlon, and Simon Sargon’s A Clear Midnight on the Gasparo label.

SUN-LY PIERCE (UNITED STATES) MEZZO-SOPRANO—STEPHANO Mr. and Mrs. Charles G. Nickson/John Serpe and Tracy Maddox Fellow Originally from Clinton, New York, Chinese American mezzosoprano Sun-Ly Pierce is a second-year HGO Studio artist and the first prize winner in HGO’s 2020 Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias. For HGO’s 2021-22 season, her other roles include Mercedes in Carmen, Sister Mathilde in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and 2nd Lady in The Magic Flute. Last season with HGO, she appeared as Liesl in My Favorite Things: Songs from The Sound of Music and as Hansel in HGO Digital’s Hansel and Gretel. Pierce completed the graduate vocal arts program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music and holds a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the Eastman School of Music. As a winner of the Marilyn Horne Song Competition, Pierce was set to perform on an international recital tour with pianist Chien-Lin Lu featuring the premiere of a new song cycle by two-time Grammy Award–winning composer Jennifer Higdon, which was canceled due to COVID-19. In the fall of 2019, Pierce joined the Broad Street Orchestra as Dorinda in Handel’s Acis and Galatea. She returned to the Music Academy of the West last summer as 2021 Vocal Fellow. This summer, she covers the role of Bao Chai in Dream of the Red Chamber at San Francisco Opera and sings Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni at the Aspen Music Festival. CARLOS ENRIQUE SANTELLI (UNITED STATES) TENOR—TYBALT For information about Carlos Enrique Santelli, please see page 44. WILLIAM GUANBO SU (CHINA) BASS—DUKE OF VERONA Anne and Albert Chao Fellow For information about William Guanbo Su, please see page 44. EMILY TREIGLE (UNITED STATES) MEZZO-SOPRANO—GERTRUDE Mr. and Mrs. James W. Crownover/Mr. Veer Vasishta Fellow A first-year HGO Studio artist from New Orleans, Emily Treigle was recently named a Grand Finals Winner in the 2021 Metropolitan Opera’s Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition and was the third prize winner in HGO’s 2021 Eleanor McCollum Competition H G O. O R G


ROMEO AND JULIET Concert of Arias. For HGO’s 2021-22 season, she also performed the role of Mother Jeanne in Dialogues of the Carmelites. Last year, she covered the title role of L’enfant in L’enfant et les Sortilèges at Rice. In 2019, Treigle trained with HGO’s Young Artist Vocal Academy and participated in the Aspen Music Festival, where she portrayed Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music. Last summer, she returned to Wolf Trap Opera as a Studio Artist for the second time. Previous roles include Bradamante in Alcina and Mrs. Ott in Susannah, an opera made famous by her grandfather, world-renowned bass-baritone Norman Treigle. Treigle pursued her Master of Music degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where she received her Bachelor of Music degree in 2020. BLAKE DENSON (UNITED STATES) BARITONE—GREGORIO Gloria M. Portela/ Carolyn J. Levy/Liz Grimm and Jack Roth Fellow Second-year HGO Studio artist Blake Denson, originally from Paducah, Kentucky, was a Grand Finals Winner in the 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and is a 2018 alumnus of HGO’s Young Artists Vocal Academy (YAVA). For HGO’s 2021-22 season, Denson also performed the roles of Morales in Carmen, Daddy/Tim in alternate cast performances of The Snowy Day, and Jailer in Dialogues of the Carmelites. During the 2020-21 HGO Digital season he appeared in Giving Voice; Hansel and Gretel as Peter; and Suite Española: Explorando Iberia. He obtained his Bachelor of Music in voice degree from the University of Kentucky School of Music and completed his Master of Music degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Denson was a studio artist at Wolf Trap Opera in 2018 and was set to return to Wolf Trap Opera for a second season in the summer of 2020 to perform the Commander and cover the title role in Eugene Onegin, as well as cover the role of Marcello in La bohème, but those productions were canceled due to COVID-19. This summer, he will join Des Moines Metro Opera as Jake in Porgy and Bess. ERIC TAYLOR (UNITED STATES) TENOR—BENVOLIO Mrs. Sharon G. Ley and Mr. Robert F. Lietzow/Jill and Allyn Risley/ Drs. Rachel and Warren A. Ellsworth IV Fellow A first-year HGO Studio artist from Saint George, Utah, Eric Taylor recently completed his Master of Music degree at Rice University, where he performed the roles of Sam Polk in Susannah and Tito in La clemenza di Tito. He was named the second prize winner in HGO’s 2021 Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias. For HGO's 2021-22 season, his other roles include Chevalier in Dialogues of the Carmelites and First Armored


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Man in The Magic Flute. While pursuing his undergraduate degree in music at Westminster College, he performed several leading roles, including Nemorino in The Elixir of Love and Rodolfo in La bohème, in addition to appearing in Carmina Burana with Salt Lake City’s Ballet West. Taylor has participated in Apprentice Artist programs with Santa Fe Opera, Central City Opera, and Utah Lyric Opera. He had been set to perform in Santa Fe Opera’s Tristan and Isolde and HGO’s Werther and Parsifal last season, but those engagements were canceled due to COVID- 19. He was named a semi-finalist at the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions in 2017. He will return to the Santa Fe Opera in 2022 to perform the role of Melot in Tristan and Isolde and cover Don José in Carmen. GEOFFREY HAHN (UNITED STATES) BARITONE—PARIS Geoffrey Hahn is an HGO Studio alumnus (2018-20). This season with HGO, he also performed the role of Second Commissioner in Dialogues of the Carmelites. Previously with HGO, he performed the roles of Schaunard in La bohème and Marullo in Rigoletto. He also covered a wide range of roles for HGO, including Zurga in The Pearl Fishers, Riolobo in Florencia en al Amazonas, Masetto in Don Giovanni, Papageno in The Magic Flute, and the role of Lorenzo da Ponte in the world premiere of The Phoenix. Hahn is an advocate of varied and innovative performance genres. He starred in the award-winning short film Dichterliebe: PoetLove, a reimagining of Robert Schumann’s cycle of songs with text by Heinrich Heine. He is a graduate of the Columbia-Juilliard Exchange Program with a degree in Sustainable Development and received his Master of Music degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.


Step into the spotlight! Whether you attend our signature events or make a contribution, you play a leading role in bringing opera to our community and beyond. Each year, HGO presents Houston’s most unforgettable galas and events. From the thrill of Opening Night to the spectacular elegance of Opera Ball, join fellow arts-lovers, movers, shakers, and tastemakers and plan your next big night out with HGO!


SPECIAL EVENTS OPENING NIGHT DINNER La traviata Friday, October 21, 2022 / Black Tie


CONCERT OF ARIAS The 35th Annual Eleanor McCollum Competition For Young Singers Friday, February 3, 2023 / Cocktail

OPERA BALL Saturday, April 15, 2023 / White Tie

FOR MORE INFORMATION EMAIL SpecialEvents@HGO.org OR CONTACT Brooke Rogers 713-546-0271


Event Chairs Drs. Jack Roth and Liz Grimm with 1st Place Winner Navasard Hakobyan

CONCERT OF ARIAS January 21, 2022 Joined by event chairs Drs. Liz Grimm and Jack Roth, HGO welcomed a live audience and nine young singers from around the globe to the Wortham for the Concert of Arias, the live final round of the 34th Annual Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers. Each year this treasured tradition shines a spotlight on the HGO Studio, the company’s training program for the future stars of the opera stage. The evening featured each finalist performing two arias, as well as a special performance of Bernstein’s “Make Our Garden Grow” from Candide, presented by the current HGO Studio artists. The song was dedicated to the memory of Miah Im, former HGO Studio Music Director, who passed away in September. The distinguished judges’ panel included guest judge and soprano Christine Goerke, HGO General Director and CEO Khori Dastoor, HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers, and soprano and HGO Artistic Advisor Ana María Martínez. In addition to being performed for a live Houston audience, the event was available for viewing around the world, with livestream host, tenor, and HGO Studio ​alumnus Norman Reinhardt keeping at-home viewers


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entertained with backstage action and interviews with the artists. The six coveted prizes were awarded to baritone Navasard Hakobyan (1st place), soprano Amanda Batista (2nd place), and bass-baritone Jongwon Han (3rd place and Audience Choice), with soprano Olivia Smith receiving both the Ana María Martínez Encouragement Award and the Online Viewers’ Choice Award. Following the concert, event supporters celebrated the young artists’ achievements with a dinner by City Kitchen Catering. Décor by The Events Company was lush with spring greens and blooming branches, reflecting a call for the hope of a brighter spring following a dark winter of pandemic. The inspiring evening raised over $530,000 to benefit the future of the operatic art form through the HGO Studio’s recruitment, nurturing, and support of world-class young artists. HGO's 2023 Concert of Arias will take place next season on Friday, February 3.


Frank and Alan York

2022 HGO Concert of Arias Finalists

Molly and Jim Crownover

Ryan Manser and Emily Bivona

Myrtle Jones and Candice Penelton

Joe Greenberg and Claire Liu with award winner Jongwon Han

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YOUNG PATRONS CIRCLE HOLIDAY SOIREE December 2, 2021 HGO’s Young Patrons Circle members ushered in the holiday season Gatsby style, with a festive 1920s-themed soiree hosted by HGO Trustee Gerri Gill. It was the first in-person YPC gathering in almost two years, and partygoers were in the spirit, many in full flapper garb. There was even bootlegged liquor on hand, courtesy of one Ru Flanagan, who made his own gin as a gift for the gracious host. A live jazz band, champagne fountain, and great company meant a roaring good time for all!

Cheers to HGO's Young Patrons!

For information on joining the Young Patrons Circle, a dynamic group of under-40 opera lovers, contact Sarah Long at slong@hgo.org.

Anna Gryska and Kendall Hanno

Ilana Walder-Biesanz and Ellen Liu

Rachel and Warren Ellsworth

Michelle Klinger, party host Gerri Gill, and Ru Flanagan


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David and Kirby Lodholz



Turning to


Puccini’s opera as a case study of the artform’s history and its future By Jeremy Johnson, HGO Dramaturg

Editor’s note: This article is the last in a four-part series examining race and representation in opera. The first three in the series appeared in the Cues editions for Carmen, The Snowy Day, and The Magic Flute.

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n our previous installments in this series, we examined the question of inauthentic representations in the classic opera repertoire. We did so in three contexts: the title role in Carmen, whose Romani background greatly influenced the piece’s historical interpretation; The Snowy Day, whose composer and librettist actively sought to authentically represent a loving Black family on the operatic stage; and The Magic Flute character Monostatos, whose physical depictions and whose text itself have changed since the 18th century to avoid racial stereotypes. The “Monostatos option” and the “Snowy Day option” are

the opera. And, finally, Turandot: an opera whose story has filtered through at least four different cultural lenses to depict a caricaturized China in the Italian commedia dell’arte tradition—this opera offers perhaps the most compelling case study of the season. Turandot’s circuitous history starts in 12th-century Persia, in a part of present-day Azerbaijan. The poet Nizami Ganjavi wrote an epic quintet of poems called the Khamsa. One of the five epics, the Haft Peykar, contains seven tales as told to the Sasanian king Bahram by his seven princess brides, and one of those tales is that of the Princess Turandokht, or Turandot. In the late 17th century, French scholar François Pétis de la Croix traveled throughout the Middle East, collecting many stories—and likely fabricating many others—in what would become his published collection Les mille et un jours (translated to One Thousand and One Days, which was inspired by, but different from, the more famous One Thousand and One Nights, or Arabian Nights). Then, in the late 18th century, Italian playwright Carlo Gozzi reinterpreted the tale he read in Les mille


1960 theoretical responses to the dilemma presented in Carmen, which is that some classic operas contain inauthentic representations of non-Western European people and cultures. They are two of many possible ways our artform can serve the widest cross-section of our community. If this artform speaks to the universality of human emotion, we should hope that this universality seeks to connect with truly all of us and, to be specific, to authentically represent BIPOC communities on the stage. New works like The Snowy Day are a straightforward option, in which the creative team can select authentic stories depicting authentic representations. Monostatos is an interesting case study because his libretto and portrayal have been altered for long enough that it has become accepted practice. Our bookends to this series are more complicated case studies: the leading modern interpretation of Carmen has evolved from its original context, and now, though fully baked into the plot and the music, the title role’s ethnic minority is no longer considered a major influence on the events in 64

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Previous page: Eva Marton as Turandot in HGO’s 1994 production. This page, L-R: the 1960 production; Mariana Niculescu as Liù, William Dansby as Timur, Ermanno Mauro as Calaf in the 1982 production. Opposite page, L-R: Charles Craig as Calaf in the 1969 production, and Marton in 1994.

et un jours, imposing the sarcastic Italian commedia dell’arte tradition with characters such as Pantalone, Brigella, and Truffaldino rounding out the cast, and moving the action to a fictional, imperial China. But, wait—there’s more. German poet Friedrich Schiller, a friend of literary titan Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated Gozzi’s play into German, removing the commedia dell’arte and weaving a German Romanticism interpretation into the story. To put it one way without much nuance, Schiller took Gozzi’s sarcastic comedy and turned it into a humanist love story. Adding some complication to

one’s interpretation of this piece, Puccini’s librettists Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni referenced both the Gozzi and the Schiller (more accurately, an Italian re-translation of Schiller’s German reinterpretation!) when working on the opera’s text. So, we’ve gone from a 5th-century Sasanian legend told in a 12th-century Persian epic, to 17th-century French exoticism folklore, to 18th-century Italian commedia dell’arte set in China, to 19th-century German Romantic humanism, to 20th-century Italian opera. And, of course, we now add our own 21st-century American perspective as the audience. Note, too, that the story’s geographic transposition from Persia to China was done exclusively

Turandot and its late 20th- to early 21st-century social context, saying “The character design and plot draw heavily from pervasive negative stereotypes used to maintain European perceptions of racial and cultural superiority meant to justify colonial subjugation in that era.” Buscher, as a cinema expert, goes on to reference D.W. Griffith’s 1915 silent film The Birth of a Nation, an innovative piece of cinema still used for educational purposes for its artistic merit, yet a piece that wrongly glorifies the Klu Klux Klan. In this context, and referring to Turandot’s composition year of 1924, he says: “A film produced in 1924 is the same film when watched in 2016. […] However, a contemporary film production company could never justify a remake that included

1994 by Western European writers. In the context of examining authenticity on the operatic stage, one can understand how and why Turandot is considered to contain stereotypes and inauthentic representations (and, indeed, the opera was not allowed to be staged in China until the 1990s). Rob Buscher, the former Festival Director of the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, wrote a 2016 article about

openly racist elements from the original. Somehow problematic theater pieces continue being produced faithful to their original stage plays by contemporary theater companies, largely unaware that they are perpetuating negative stereotypes inherent within. Perhaps this case is unique to theater because pieces are traditionally performed as they are written. But the suggestion that eliminating problematic racist or misogynistic aspects might compromise the integrity of a piece is no longer a defensible argument in 2016.” I quote Buscher here not to advocate for his position; nor do I do so to oppose his position. I simply offer his quote as a point of context for us to think and to consider, particularly regarding Turandot and why I find the piece to be a fascinating case study of opera’s history and its future. The opera’s compositional development augments this discussion: nobody in history has heard a complete performance of Turandot by Puccini, because the composer died before completing the opera. Puccini left behind only incomplete sketches of the finale when he died in 1924; when the H G O. O R G


opera premiered on April 25, 1926, conductor Arturo Toscanini fulfilled Puccini’s dying wishes by ending the evening where Puccini did, saying from the stage, “Here ends the opera, because the maestro died at this moment.” Puccini’s publisher, Ricordi, had already hired composer Franco Alfano to complete Puccini’s sketches, and the following performances were held in that “Alfano ending,” which is the standard one that you will hear in this production. The Alfano ending, while the most common, is not the only finale to Turandot. (And, to be technical, there are two Alfano endings, after Ricordi required him to make drastic changes to his first attempt.) Many other composers have tried to decode Puccini’s sketches. In 2001, Puccini’s estate, along with the Casa Ricordi publishing house,

tale’s evolution. We have seen throughout this series of articles the ability of production interpretations and text alterations to endeavor to avoid inauthentic representations, and we’ve established that altering a composer’s original intent has been at least artistically valid—which we’ve discussed in the context of rearrangements of Turandot’s ending, of changing Monostatos’s text and physical appearance, and of cutting spoken dialogue in The Magic Flute. And if we accept that altering a composer’s original intent can be artistically valid, what if it were socially valid?

Tamara Wilson as the princess this year.

We as a community—a community of opera lovers, opera devotees, opera professionals, opera singers, casual operagoers, and total opera newbies—are in pretty solid agreement that the opera house is a place for feeling big

2022 commissioned another official ending to the opera, by Italian composer Luciano Berio. In 2008, the National Center for Performing Arts in Beijing commissioned Chinese composer Hao Weiya to write a new finale for the arts center’s inauguration, with the approval and input of the Puccini Foundation. I won’t include any sort of qualitative discussion on the merits of the various endings in this article; I highlight the different versions, essentially, to indicate that even in one of the most popular pieces in the operatic repertoire, we accept the artistic necessity, driven by a composer’s untimely death, of rearranging the musical score. What of rearranging the score to bypass inauthentic representations? Innovative directors have found ways to produce Turandot that bypass yellow-face stereotypes of its operatic caricatures. In this production, the brilliant Robert Wilson applies his unique style of choreographed movement, sparse stage setting, and exceptional lighting techniques to transpose the opera to a fictional time and place—just as “real” as the commedia dell’arte China that Gozzi established in the 66

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feelings: the universal emotions of the human condition that wash over us in musical storytelling. If inauthentic representations in some operas prohibit people in our community—and, ideally, our constantly growing community—from connecting with that universality, should we not correct that? If the art is at the center of our communal experience, we can seek ways, shown to be artistically valid, that will bring us together for the universal emotions of the human condition—for all of us. ∎

By Kyle Russell

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Albert shot to fame after appearing as Porgy in Porgy and Bess with HGO in 1976.


aritone Donnie Ray Albert is a figure out of American opera history, and his past with HGO predates the Wortham Theater Center itself. He made his professional operatic debut at HGO in 1975 as Parson Alltalk in a legendary production of Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha, over a decade before the Wortham opened its doors. In 1976, Albert returned to HGO to perform the role that would make him famous: Porgy in George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess at the long-gone Houston Music Hall, current site of the Hobby Center. The production would travel to Broadway for 122 performances and win both a Tony Award and a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. Since then, Albert has been a giant of the art. With an international career spanning almost 50 years, the baritone has been beloved for generations. And although he returned to HGO several times after his debut, it is a rare treat for Houston audiences to experience Albert’s talents these days, as prior to 2021’s Giving Voice, he hadn’t appeared with HGO since 2000. When we called Albert for this interview, he answered from his office at University of Texas at Austin, where for the past decade he has taught voice at the Butler School of Music. At the time, he was just gearing


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up to prepare for his role debut as Lord Capulet in HGO’s Romeo and Juliet. When you come back to the Houston stage, after going so far, what do you think about? It’s different in some respects. I’ve only sung in the Wortham three times, and that’s including the Giving Voice concert. All the other times were in either Hermann Park, Miller Outdoor Theatre, or Jones Hall before the Wortham existed. Or in the Music Hall where we first did Porgy, which no longer exists. So the whole arts area has changed tremendously in 40-plus years. Jones Hall was where I auditioned in the first place, to be hired by David Gockley to do Treemonisha. I was fresh out of grad school, Southern Methodist University, had just gotten the news that I had passed my orals. So I was pumped. Is there a lot of nostalgia when you come back now? But of course, yes, despite all the changes. It’s a wonderful arts district. I’m always happy to come back. I also come down to see some of the other productions that you do in Houston. I come down to watch my friends and colleagues who perform in Houston. It’s a great venue.

Do you have a particular memory that stands out? Well, it has to be, of course, after doing the Treemonisha, I was invited back. And I remember coming back after that to sing Jack Wallace in La Fanciulla del West [The Girl of the Golden West]. It wasn’t large; I was doing a lot of small bass roles during those days, in the beginning of my career. And then I got Porgy. Porgy was the biggie. That one pretty much set the standard of what Houston was to become, as well as what I became out of that, starting my career and having the boost of doing that production as a tour all over the United States, and in Europe. When I pulled myself out of the Porgies to do other Verdian and Wagnerian roles and Donizetti, I was doing a whole lot of different things—small roles, big roles,

Albert as Porgy and Clamma Dale as Bess.

Albert as Timur in HGO’s 1987 production of Puccini’s Turandot.

just a combination of things. But I think that Porgy sent me into a different genre and a different era. So I was able to move on, even though I’ve returned to Houston, what, a dozen times after that? I think I’ve performed with Houston more than any other opera company. How are you preparing for the role of Lord Capulet? I’ve never done Romeo and Juliet before. I’ve done French opera, but I’ve never done this one. To be truthful, I haven’t really delved yet. I’ve started looking at it, and I started reading it. I started reading what I’m saying and how it’s relating to the characters, my scenes compared to the other scenes, and what happens throughout, and who I really like, and who I really don’t like, and trying to develop some sense of what the story is telling me and how to go about studying it. I pick up on its bits and pieces along the way. Studying the French is what I’ve really been concentrating on, because the words matter. How do you go about that? Well, you just have to read the story and understand the French. French is not one of my strongest languages. Being from Louisiana, I’m ashamed to say that, but I really have to. As a teacher here at the University of Texas in Austin, we work on our languages quite a bit, and French is the one that I have to really concentrate on and really make sure that I’m doing the right thing.

One of my best friends is Mary Dibbern, who works for the Dallas Opera and has written several books. We were in graduate school together. And she has become quite the authority. In fact, that’s who’ll be coaching this role. We will be working on this together to make sure that I’m doing the right thing, saying the right thing, getting it as musically correct as possible. How do you get into character? Well, being a father of two sons, I don’t identify with this at all (laughs). You usually have something in the back of your mind, but I do have three granddaughters, young granddaughters, so that’s as close as I usually get to having that father-daughter feeling. You know, you have to identify in some way that feeling in your natural life, when you’re looking at a role and you’re reading about it, and you’re seeing this father who is very adamant about being proud of his daughter and wanting only the very best. And there’s almost this pre-arranged idea of who she will marry. It’s a different role from some of the others I’ve played. And I don’t get killed! So that’s even better. But I do get very angry at what happens toward the end. ∎

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OPERA “BOOT CAMP” HGO’s Young Artists Vocal Academy creates a new generation of artists. By HGO Studio Director Brian Speck

Building a career as a singer or pianist in opera can be a daunting journey. For many artists, it is a career shrouded in both mystery and hope. Obtaining knowledge about professional expectations in the opera world while still ensconced in studying the fundamentals of music theory, history, and technique can be a challenge. Without some connection to the professional world, artists find themselves wondering how to prepare for their first steps in the industry. Even the most naturally talented singers face an industry that often has hundreds of applicants for one place in a professional training program. Opening a door to a full-time career as a performer requires more than just a great talent; one must have a range of highly developed skills to be the strongest candidate in a competitive audition process. Since 2011, HGO’s Young Artists Vocal Academy (YAVA) has been helping to bridge the gap by proactively providing a glimpse of the world of the HGO Studio to undergraduate artists. Each May, approximately 16 singers and pianists selected through video auditions come to Houston for a week of intensive study, a sort of “boot camp” that provides information to assist in their goal-setting and future development. By the end of the week, artists understand the standards of a company like HGO and are better equipped to make use of the resources in their academic program to prepare for the challenges and rewards of a career in opera. Daily lessons and classes are taught by the staff and faculty of the HGO Studio, and in one of the most eye-opening sessions of the week, YAVA artists have a chance to see current Studio artists perform and receive their honest advice. YAVA has developed into a true source of pride for HGO as well as a valuable recruiting tool for the Studio. 149 alumni of the program are now scattered across the globe, many having significant careers in opera. Some notable alumni include: • Mané Galoyan (YAVA 2014) was an HGO Studio artist from 2015-18, returned to HGO to sing Gilda in Rigoletto in 2019, and is now a member of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. She will be back at HGO next fall to perform the role of Avis in The Wreckers. 70

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• Richard Trey Smagur (YAVA 2012) was an HGO Studio artist from 2017-20 and recently returned to HGO to sing Don José in Carmen. • Nicholas Brownlee (YAVA 2011) recently appeared at the Metropolitan Opera as Colline in La bohème. • Jack Swanson (YAVA 2013) participated in HGO’s Concert of Arias in 2016 before going on to establish an international career, including recent debuts at Oper Frankfurt, Santa Fe Opera, and a return to HGO in the HGO Digital Live from the Cullen recital series. • Gabriella Reyes (YAVA 2016) joined the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera, and has since sung many times with the company, including as Liù in the famed Franco Zeffirelli production of Turandot. In addition to these extraordinary credits, many other YAVA artists have gone on to great success. Twenty-two YAVA alumni have appeared in the Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias over the past decade, and nine have joined the HGO Studio (including current Studio artists Elena Villalón, Emily Treigle, and Blake Denson). Twenty-two others have gone on to join the young artist programs at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, and Washington National Opera. Many have been accepted to top graduate programs throughout the United States and abroad, and the YAVA credit on a young artist’s resume has come to mean a great deal to companies scouting for the greatest young talent in the competitive environment of opera auditions. Perhaps the most rewarding element of YAVA is the opportunity created for HGO to establish and maintain relationships with artists. The 149 alumni represent the company throughout the world and feel that HGO is part of their DNA—giving them, in most cases, their first opportunity to participate in the professional world as an artist. In a few weeks, YAVA 2022 will begin that journey for another 16 talented individuals, and based on the experience of the program’s alumni, they have a bright future ahead.

The 2021 YAVA singers


HGO STUDIO ARTISTS 2021–22 Raven McMillon, soprano Kathleen Moore and Steven Homer/ Nancy Haywood Fellow Elena Villalón, soprano Mr. and Mrs. Harlan C. Stai Fellow Sun-Ly Pierce, mezzo-soprano Mr. and Mrs. Charles G. Nickson/ John Serpe and Tracy Maddox Fellow Emily Treigle, mezzo-soprano Mr. and Mrs. James W. Crownover/ Mr. Veer Vashita Fellow

Ricardo Garcia, tenor Dr. Ellen R. Gritz and Mr. Milton D. Rosenau Jr./Michelle Beale and Dick Anderson Fellow Eric Taylor, tenor Jill and Allyn Risley/ Sharon Ley Lietzow and Robert Lietzow/Drs. Rachel and Warren A. Ellsworth IV Fellow Blake Denson, baritone Gloria M. Portela/ Carolyn J. Levy/Liz Grimm and Jack Roth Fellow Luke Sutliff, baritone Lynn Gissel/Brenda Harvey-Traylor Fellow

Cory McGee, bass Beth Madison Fellow William Guanbo Su, bass Anne and Albert Chao Fellow Alex Munger, pianist/coach Gary Hollingsworth and Ken Hyde/ Trey Yates/Dr. Saúl and Ursula Balagura Fellow Bin Yu Sanford, pianist/coach Stephanie Larsen/ Dr. and Mrs. Miguel Miro-Quesada/ Ms. Lynn Des Prez Fellow

HGO STUDIO FACULTY & STAFF Brian Speck, Director Jamie Gelfand, Studio Manager Ana María Martínez, HGO Artistic Advisor Stephen King, Director of Vocal Instruction Sponsored by Jill and Allyn Risley, Janet Sims, and James J. Drach Endowment Fund Patrick Summers, Conducting Instructor and Coach Sarah and Ernest Butler Chair

Peter Pasztor, Principal Coach Sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. James A. Elkins Jr. Endowment Fund

Christa Gaug, German Instructor

Kirill Kuzmin, Head of Music Staff Kevin J. Miller, Assistant Conductor

Enrica Vagliani Gray, Italian Instructor Sponsored by Marsha Montemayor

Madeline Slettedahl, Assistant Conductor

Kristine McIntyre, Showcase Director

Brian Connelly, Piano Instructor

Alessandra Cattani, Guest Coach

Tara Faircloth, Drama Coach

Kathleen Kelly, Guest Coach

Raymond Hounfodji, French Instructor Sponsored by Craig Miller and Chris Bacon

Adam Noble, Movement Instructor Sponsored by E’Lisa and Scott Garber

HGO STUDIO SUPPORTERS The HGO Studio is grateful for the in-kind support of the Texas Voice Center. The Young Artists Vocal Academy (YAVA) is generously underwritten by Mr. and Mrs. Robert N. Wakefield and the HGO Guild. Additional support for YAVA is provided by Mr. Patrick Carfizzi, Gwyneth Campbell, and David and Norine Gill. HGO thanks Magnolia Houston for outstanding support of the HGO Studio and YAVA programs. Additional support for the Houston Grand Opera Studio is provided by Sylvia Barnes and Jim Trimble, Mr. and Mrs. Melvyn Hetzel, and the following funds within the Houston Grand Opera Endowment, Inc.:

The Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation Endowment Fund Marjorie and Thomas Capshaw Endowment Fund James J. Drach Endowment Fund The Evans and Portela Family Fund Carol Lynn Lay Fletcher Endowment Fund

Erin Gregory Neale Endowment Fund Dr. Mary Joan Nish and Patricia Bratsas Endowed Fund John M. O’Quinn Foundation Endowed Fund Fellow Shell Lubricants (formerly Pennzoil Quaker State Company) Fund

William Randolph Hearst Endowed Scholarship Fund

Mary C. Gayler Snook Endowment Fund

Charlotte Howe Memorial Scholarship Fund

Weston-Cargill Endowed Fund

Tenneco, Inc., Endowment Fund

Elva Lobit Opera Endowment Fund Marian and Speros Martel Foundation Endowment Fund H G O. O R G



SUMMER CAMP IS BACK IN PERSON! Three great opportunities for young singers.

For the past two summers, HGO’s popular opera camps went digital. It was a journey of discovery as we expanded our virtual world while connecting with students all over the country! But now, we are thrilled that for summer 2022, the halls of the Wortham will again be abuzz with young music lovers. This year HGO’s Community and Learning team is collaborating with the American Festival for the Arts (AFA) to hold two camps at the Wortham Theater Center, plus a third at the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts: Create an Opera, for rising third through eighth graders, gives campers the chance to write, stage, and produce an opera based on a popular story—this year they’ll be heading down the yellow brick road to create an opera based on The Wizard of Oz! Veteran teaching artist Julie Hoeltzel will direct the creation of this new opera, and Houston-based composer and AFA Director of Education Mark Buller will compose and conduct. Runs June 13-24 at the Wortham. Art of Opera, for rising ninth graders through graduated seniors, provides campers with an exciting opportunity to perform in an HGO-commissioned world premiere work! Mark Buller’s The Impresario of Oz is a new pastiche opera for young singers that includes original music, plus arias and choruses by Handel,

Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, and others, set to a hilarious libretto by Charles Anthony Silvestri. All campers will rehearse and perform in the opera, which will be directed by Eboni Bell and conducted by Mary Box. Singers interested in performing a principal role can submit a video audition online through the end of April. The camp runs June 20-July 1 at the Wortham, with a final performance on July 1 at the Kinder HSPVA. The Vocal Artist Intensive, an opportunity for rising ninth through twelfth graders led by our friends at AFA, is new this year! The program provides tools, training, and experiences appropriate for vocalists who are focused on developing themselves as young artists in a positive, supportive environment. Runs June 13-17 at Kinder HSPVA. Students who enroll in both Art of Opera and the Vocal Artist Intensive receive a total of $75 in discounts! “Summer Camp at HGO is pure opera joy!” shares Alisa Magallón, Interim Director of Community of Learning. “We are so excited to bring these programs back in person this year and welcome our budding opera singers and students to the Wortham once more.” —Kathleen Brown

THROUGH A MODERN LENS A community conversation at the Asia Society Texas Center An artist-led panel discussion around Puccini’s Turandot was held at the Asia Society Texas on April 6. The panel was comprised of bass Peixin Chen; mezzo-soprano and HGO Studio artist Sun-Ly Pierce; composer Shih-Hui Chen; Opera in the Heights Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Eiki Isomura; and 72

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HGO board chairperson elect Claire Liu. HGO General Director and CEO Khori Dastoor facilitated the conversation, which focused on what it means to produce a piece like Turandot today, as well as AAPI representation, inclusiveness, and equity in opera. —Alisa Magallón

Head to HGO.org/ SummerCamp for information, tuition rates, and instructions on how to apply.


ART ON THE HORIZON New works sing the Song of Houston.

The March workshop for Another City

HGO’s nationally recognized Song of Houston initiative commissions new chamber operas and song projects that resonate with contemporary life in Houston. Its first commissioned work, The Refuge by composer Christopher Theofanidis and librettist Leah Lax, featured seven Houston immigrant communities, whose members were interviewed for the opera and performed in its 2007 premiere. In 2009, Song of Houston received the Leading Lights Diversity Award in Arts and Culture from the National MultiCultural Institute (NMCI). Since then the initiative has continued to flourish. The company is currently supporting the development of a new one-act opera, Another City, by composer Jeremy Howard Beck and librettist Stephanie

Fleischmann, based on indepth interviews and conversations with Houston’s homeless community. The opera conjures a single day and night in a city where, despite efforts to bridge the divide, the gap between housed and unhoused remains. Another City asks: How do we bridge the chasm between the city we can see and the one we can’t—a city which is all around us but invisible, hiding in plain sight? An orchestral workshop held this March rounded out the development phase of this new work. Also currently in development is another new Song of Houston opera, this one from composer Meilina Tsui and librettist Melisa Tien, developed in partnership with the Asia Society Texas. Telling the story of the Jade Emperor and the Great Race, the family-friendly opera will center around the Lunar New Year and its origins. Both Tsui and Tien will be in attendance for the new work’s first workshop, held to develop the libretto, over a week starting at the end of April. —Emily Wells


R. Alan and Frank York

The Brown Foundation, Inc.

Wells Fargo

City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board


ConocoPhillips William Randolph Hearst Foundation H-E-B

Dr. Jessica Suarez-Colen and Dr. John Colen

M. David Lowe and Nana Booker/ Booker · Lowe Gallery

Union Pacific Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Bill and Sara Morgan

CenterPoint Energy

Grand Underwriter

The Cockrell Family Fund

Mathilda Cochran Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ The Powell Foundation Underwriters Ruth and Ted Bauer Family Foundation Shelly Cyprus Rosemary Malbin

Glen Rosenbaum

Adrienne Bond

Lawrence E. Carlton, M.D., Endowment Fund

Judy and Dick Agee

William E. and Natoma Pyle Harvey Charitable Trust

James J. Drach Endowment Fund Trish Freeman and Bruce Patterson George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation Houston Grand Opera Guild Lee Huber Dr. Laura Marsh Rachel Le and Lam Nguy OPERA America

The activities of Houston Grand Opera are supported in part by funds provided by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.

The NEXUS Initiative Community and Learning programs, including Student Performances and HGO’s performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre, are supported through the NEXUS Initiative, which is made possible by: Anchorage Foundation of Texas The Brown Foundation, Inc. The Wortham Foundation, Inc. Shell H G O. O R G


IMPRESARIOS CIRCLE The Impresarios Circle is Houston Grand Opera’s premier donor recognition society. These vanguard supporters who provide annual support of at least $100,000 are instrumental to HGO’s success. For information, please contact Greg Robertson, chief philanthropy officer, at 713-546-0274 or grobertson@hgo.org. Robin Angly, Chair

ROBIN ANGLY AND MILES SMITH HGO subscribers Robin and Miles joined the Founders Council in 2010. The company is honored to have Robin on the HGO Board of Directors and as a member of HGO’s Laureate Society. The couple is very familiar with the view from the HGO stage as well—both are former singers in the HGO Chorus. Robin and Miles have been donors to HGO special events, the Young Artists Vocal Academy, and HGO’s Ring cycle. They are charter members of the Impresarios Circle and generously underwrite a mainstage production each season. JANICE BARROW Jan’s relationship with HGO extends back to the early 1980s, when she and her late husband, Dr. Thomas Barrow, first became subscribers. Jan is a member of HGO’s Laureate Society and the Founders Council, contributing to HGO’s main stage and special events. She also supports the HGO Studio, having underwritten several rising opera stars over the past 20 years. Jan’s late husband, Tom, former chairman of the HGO Board of Directors, was instrumental in the concept and construction of the Wortham Center. A lifelong lover of music, Jan is past president of the Houston Symphony and has a special affinity for Puccini and Wagner. THE BROWN FOUNDATION, INC. The Brown Foundation, Inc., established in 1951 by Herman and Margarett Root Brown and George R. and Alice Pratt Brown, has been a treasured partner of HGO since 1984. Based in Houston, the Foundation distributes funds principally for education, community service, and the arts, especially the visual and performing arts. HGO is tremendously grateful for The Brown Foundation’s leadership support, which has been critical to the company’s unprecedented growth and success in recent years. The Brown Foundation was among the lead contributors to HGO’s Hurricane Harvey and COVID-19 recovery efforts. SARAH AND ERNEST BUTLER HGO subscribers for over 20 years, Ernest and Sarah are the lead underwriters for the company’s digital artistic programming for the 2020-21 season. They also have generously endowed three chairs at HGO: those of HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers, Chorus Master Richard Bado, and HGO Chorus Concertmaster Denise Tarrant. Because supporting young artists is a particular 74

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passion for both, HGO’s Concert of Arias is one of their favorite annual events. Ernest and Sarah reside in Austin and are longtime supporters of Ballet Austin, Austin Opera, Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Texas Cultural Trust, and the University of Texas Butler School of Music, which has carried their name since 2008. Ernest and Sarah are world travelers, and they never miss an opportunity to see opera in the cities they visit. ANNE AND ALBERT CHAO Anne and Albert have been subscribers and supporters of HGO for the past two decades. While serving as president and CEO of Westlake Chemical Corporation, Albert finds time for numerous cultural causes. He is a member of the HGO Board of Directors and was the co-chair of Inspiring Performance—The Campaign for Houston Grand Opera. Over the years, the Chaos have sponsored HGO special events, the HGO Studio, Song of Houston, and mainstage productions. The couple has also supported the HGO Endowment. LOUISE G. CHAPMAN Louise Chapman of Corpus Christi, Texas, a longtime supporter of HGO, recently joined the HGO Board of Directors. Louise’s late husband, John O. Chapman, was a south Texas agricultural businessman and philanthropist. In addition to HGO, the Chapmans have supported numerous organizations in health, education, and the arts, including Texas A & M University, the Corpus Christi Symphony, and the Art Museum of South Texas. Louise and HGO Trustee Connie Dyer have known each other since they were college roommates at The University of Texas. THE ROBERT AND JANE CIZIK FOUNDATION The Cizik family name is synonymous with passion, devotion, and service to the people of Houston. The Ciziks have always been associated with hard work, high achievement, inspirational leadership, and love for their family. Survived by his wife, Jane, Robert Cizik spearheaded the fundraising and building of HGO’s home, the Wortham Theater Center. The Robert and Jane Cizik Foundation gives generously to many educational institutions and charitable organizations, including UTHealth, Harvard University, the University of Houston, and the University of Connecticut. In 2017, the School of Nursing at UTHealth was re-named the Jane and Robert Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth in recognition of the family’s dedicated support.

IMPRESARIOS CIRCLE MATHILDA COCHRAN Mathilda is a native of New Orleans and a long-time resident of Houston. She is a retired museum educator, having served for many years as Manager of the Docent and Tour Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, as well as a volunteer with Taping for the Blind, Inc. She and her late husband, Mike, created the Cochran Family Professorship in Earth and Environmental Sciences to support Tulane University’s School of Science and Engineering. Mathilda currently serves as a member of the HGO Board of Directors and is chair of the Community and Learning Committee. She has been an HGO subscriber since the 1986-87 season. CONOCOPHILLIPS For over 40 years, ConocoPhillips has supported various programs at HGO, from special events to mainstage productions, including a long-standing tradition of supporting HGO’s season-opening operas. In 2009, the company gave a major multi-year grant to establish ConocoPhillips New Initiatives, a far-reaching program that allows the Opera to develop new and innovative education and community collaboration programs. Kelly Rose, general counsel and SVP, serves on the HGO Board of Directors. JIM AND MOLLY CROWNOVER Jim Crownover was the chairman of the HGO Board of Directors 2016–18. He has been a member of the board since 1987 and has served on the Executive, Governance, Development, and Finance Committees. He and his wife, Molly, have been HGO subscribers for 30 years and are members of HGO’s Laureate Society and Impresarios Circle. In 1998, Jim retired from a 30-year career with McKinsey & Company, Inc., and currently serves on the boards of Chemtura Corporation, Weingarten Realty, Republic Services, Inc., and FTI Consulting. Jim also serves and supports the Houston Ballet, Rice University, the Houston Zoo, United Way Houston, Project Grad Houston, and a number of other organizations. THE CULLEN FOUNDATION For more than three decades, The Cullen Foundation has been a vital member of the HGO family. Established in 1947, the Foundation has more than a half-century history of giving generously to education, health care, and the arts in Texas, primarily in the Greater Houston area. The Opera is very grateful for the Foundation’s longstanding leadership support of HGO’s Family and Holiday Opera Series, as well as special support for HGO’s COVID-19 recovery efforts.

THE CULLEN TRUST FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts has been a lead underwriter of HGO’s mainstage season for nearly 30 years. The Trust was established from assets of The Cullen Foundation to specifically benefit Texas performing arts institutions, particularly those within the Greater Houston area. In recent years, The Cullen Trust has provided lead support for memorable productions including HGO’s Family and Holiday Opera Series, and made a leadership contribution to HGO’s Hurricane Harvey recovery fund, as well as a generous gift to HGO’s COVID-19 recovery efforts. CONNIE DYER Connie Dyer has been an important member of the HGO family for decades. Connie loves HGO Opening Night festivities and the Concert of Arias. She is a leadership donor, Trustee, and a member of the Laureate Society and the Founders Council for Artistic Excellence. With her late husband Byron, she has hosted receptions for HGO Patrons in their beautiful home in Santa Fe. They were early and enthusiastic underwriters for HGO’s Seeking the Human Spirit initiative, and most recently Connie made a grand grand guarantor pledge for HGO’s COVID Relief Campaign. HGO Board Member Louise Chapman and Connie were college roommates at the University of Texas, Austin. DRS. LIZ GRIMM AND JACK ROTH HGO subscribers since the 2013–14 season, Liz and Jack have both committed themselves to cancer research and patient care through their work at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Jack is a member of the HGO Board of Directors and serves as HGO Studio Committee Chair. Liz and Jack were generous underwriters of HGO’s historic, first-ever Ring cycle and lead supporters of HGO’s German repertoire, including Elektra. Additionally, Liz and Jack chaired the 2018 Opera Ball and chaired this season’s Concert of Arias on January 21, 2022. NANCY HAYWOOD Long-time Trustee Nancy Haywood loves HGO, and her particular passion is the HGO Studio and supporting young artists. Her enthusiasm is infectious. This season Nancy is underwriting second-year HGO Studio artist Raven McMillon. Her love for supporting young artists goes beyond HGO to the Houston Boy Choir, where she is one of their most ardent benefactors and Board Members. Nancy is a member of HGO’s Studio Committee, Philanthropy Committee, and the Laureate Society. Most recently, she made a guarantor pledge for HGO’s COVID Relief Campaign. Nancy and her late husband, Dr. Ted Haywood, approached every opera performance as a “date night.” Ted Haywood was a prince.

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IMPRESARIOS CIRCLE WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST FOUNDATION The William Randolph Hearst Foundation is a national philanthropic resource for organizations working in the fields of culture, education, health, and social services. The Foundation identifies and funds outstanding nonprofits to ensure that people of all backgrounds in the United States have the opportunity to build healthy, productive, and inspiring lives. A dedicated supporter of HGO, the Foundation is a leading advocate for the Opera's Community and Learning initiatives. The continued support from the Foundation makes it possible for Houstonians of all ages to explore, engage, and learn through the inspiring art of opera. H-E-B For over 115 years, H-E-B has contributed to worthy causes throughout Texas and Mexico, a tradition proudly maintained today. And for over 20 years, H-E-B has been a lead supporter of the Opera's arts education programs for Houston area students. H-E-B’s partnership helps over 70,000 young people experience the magic of opera each season. Always celebrating Houston’s cultural diversity, H-E-B helped make possible last season’s Marian’s Song and this season’s world premiere, The Snowy Day. HOUSTON GRAND OPERA ENDOWMENT, INC. Established and incorporated in 1982, the Houston Grand Opera Endowment (HGOE) is a vital financial management tool that ensures HGO has a reliable, regular source of income. Today, the Endowment contains over 50 named funds, both unrestricted and restricted, and annually distributes 4.5 percent of the Endowment’s average market value to HGO, making it the largest single annual funder of the Opera. HGOE leadership includes Chair Yolanda Knull, Senior Chair Tom Rushing, and several members of the HGO Board of Directors. HOUSTON METHODIST For over ten years, Houston Grand Opera has partnered with Houston Methodist, the official health care provider for HGO. Houston Methodist’s Center for Performing Arts Medicine (CPAM) is the only center of its kind in the country, comprising a specialized group of more than 100 physicians working collaboratively to address the specific demands placed upon performing artists. In addition to the first-rate medical care CPAM provides HGO artists, Houston Methodist also generously supports HGO’s mainstage season and partners frequently on Community and Learning collaborations. HGO is fortunate to have Dr. Warren Ellsworth and Dr. Apurva Thekdi serve as Houston Methodist’s corporate trustees. THE HUMPHREYS FOUNDATION Based in Liberty, Texas, the Humphreys Foundation has been a major underwriter of HGO’s mainstage season since 1980. Geraldine Davis Humphreys (d. 1961), a member of the pioneer Hardin family of Liberty, Texas, bequeathed her estate to the Humphreys Foundation, which was formally established in 1959. 76

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The Foundation provides support for performing arts in Texas and college scholarship funding for students in the arts. Linda Bertman, Louis Paine, and Robert Wall serve as trustees of the Humphreys Foundation. In recent years, the Foundation’s generous support has helped make possible unforgettable productions, unforgettable productions, such as last May’s My Favorite Things: Songs from The Sound of Music. DONNA KAPLAN AND RICHARD LYDECKER Richard Lydecker has been an HGO subscriber and supporter for more than three decades. He is a member of the HGO Board of Directors and Impresarios Circle. Richard has great passion for opera, especially Wagner, and he and Donna were underwriters for HGO’s Ring cycle. They are also special events sponsors, supporting Opera Ball and Concert of Arias. CLAIRE LIU AND JOSEPH GREENBERG Claire and Joe have subscribed to HGO for many seasons and are members of HGO’s Founders Council for Artistic Excellence. Claire serves on the HGO Board of Directors, is chair of the Finance Committee, and will assume the role of Chair of the Board in August 2022. She is newly retired from LyondellBassell Industries where she led the corporate finance team and was formerly a managing director with Bank of America. Joe is founder, president, and CEO of Alta Resources, L.L.C., a private company involved in the development of shale oil and gas resources in North America. Claire and Joe support many organizations, with particular emphasis on educational organizations including YES Prep and Teach for America. An avid runner, Claire has completed a marathon in all 50 states. BETH MADISON This season marks Beth’s 23rd as an HGO subscriber. HGO has had the honor of her support since 2004. Past chair of the HGO Board of Directors, she currently serves on the HGO Studio Committee, and is an active member of HGO’s Founders Council. She was the honoree at the 2017 Concert of Arias. Beth generously supports the HGO Studio, special events, and mainstage operas. Beth has been inducted into the Greater Houston Women’s Hall of Fame and serves on the University of Houston System Board of Regents. PAUL MARSDEN AND JAY ROCKWELL Paul Marsden and Jay Rockwell became HGO Trustees in the 2020–21 season and generously increased their support to join the Impresario’s Circle in late 2021. Paul is President of Bechtel’s Energy global business unit in Houston and has served in key leadership roles for over two decades, dating back to his start with the company in London in 1995. His background as a pianist comes in handy as he accompanies his partner Jay Rockwell, an accomplished operatic baritone, who has sung with the Houston Grand Opera chorus in recent productions.

IMPRESARIOS CIRCLE THE ROBERT AND JANICE MCNAIR FOUNDATION Janice and the late Bob McNair, longtime HGO subscribers and supporters, are well known for their incredible philanthropy and for bringing the NFL back to Houston. Bob was a former chair of the HGO Board of Directors (1995-97). Through the family’s passionate support of students, young entrepreneurs, medical research and the community, The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation is transforming some of the biggest challenges our nation faces today into the solutions of tomorrow. As the lead supporter of HGO’s Holiday Opera Series, the McNair Foundation makes it possible for thousands of students and families to experience shorter length family-friendly operas during the holiday season each year. M.D. ANDERSON FOUNDATION The M.D. Anderson Foundation has provided general operating support to HGO for more than 30 years. The Foundation was established in 1936 by Monroe Dunaway Anderson, whose company, Anderson, Clayton and Co., was the world’s largest cotton merchant. While the Foundation started the Texas Medical Center and was instrumental in bringing to it one of the premier cancer centers in the world, the Foundation’s trustees also looked to improve the wellness of communities through the arts. HGO is privileged to have such a longstanding and committed partner in enhancing the quality of life for all Houstonians. THE MELLON FOUNDATION Established in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports a wide range of initiatives FOUNDATION to strengthen the humanities, arts, higher education, and cultural heritage. The driving force behind so many of HGO’s new commissions, The Mellon Foundation’s longstanding support of HGO helps us tell relevant new stories and add to the operatic repertoire by developing new works, like Joel Thompson and Andrea Davis Pinkney’s The Snowy Day. THE ANDREW W.


SID MOORHEAD Sid Moorhead is the owner of Moorhead’s Blueberry Farm in Conroe, Texas, a family business that started as his father’s hobby over 40 years ago. After working for several years as a computer analyst, Sid left the corporate world to run the farm. He’s been an opera lover since he was in college, and he joined the Opera as an HGO Trustee in 2014. Now a member of the HGO Board of Directors who served as chair of Concert of Arias 2021, Sid enjoys traveling to experience opera around the world on our HGO Patron trips. We’re thrilled to have Sid as a valued member of our HGO family.

SARA AND BILL MORGAN Sara and Bill have been supporting HGO since 2002. Sara is a co-founder of the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, where she currently serves on the board. Bill is a co-founder of the Kinder Morgan companies and the retired vice chairman and president of Kinder Morgan, Inc., and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, LP. The Morgans support Community and Learning initiatives, HGO’s special events, and mainstage productions, including the Holiday Opera Series. HGO is thrilled to have Sara serve on the HGO Board of Directors and as a member and past chair of the Community and Learning Committee. NOVUM ENERGY Founded in 2011 in Panama, Novum Energy is an international physical oil supply and trading company committed to industry excellence in delivery standards and customer service. Founder and President Alfredo Vilas serves on the HGO Board of Directors and has over 20 years of experience and a passion for service to the community through cultural, recreational, and philanthropic work. BEVERLY AND STAMAN OGILVIE HGO subscribers since 1997, Beverly and Staman Ogilvie are true advocates for HGO and the performing arts. Staman is the former Chief Executive Officer of Hines, and is responsible for the development, acquisition, and management of more than 29 million square feet of commercial real estate as well as several thousand acres of planned community developments. Beverly previously served on the HGO Studio Committee. In addition to their commitment to the performing arts, Staman and Beverly established The Staman Ogilvie Fund for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery, Rehabilitation, and Research with Memorial Hermann Foundation. The fund has raised over $10 million toward innovative research to restore function for individuals suffering from spinal cord injuries. The Ogilvies also provided critical support in response to HGO’s COVID-19 recovery efforts. JILL AND ALLYN RISLEY Jill and Allyn Risley have been HGO subscribers since the 2003-04 season and are members of the company’s Founders Council. Allyn and Jill have been key influencers of HGO programs for many years, with special affection for our esteemed HGO Studio. They co-sponsor HGO Studio Artist Eric Taylor and faculty member Dr. Stephen King, Director of Vocal Instruction. Allyn is Chairman of Gaztransport & Technigaz (GTT) North America, an engineering company specializing in liquid gas containment systems using cryogenics. Allyn has served as Chair of the HGO Board of Directors since August 2020. H G O. O R G


IMPRESARIOS CIRCLE SCHLUMBERGER Schlumberger is a leading corporate contributor to HGO, supporting the main stage and a wide range of special projects over nearly 20 years. Schlumberger’s leadership gift was integral to launching HGO’s ongoing affordability program, the NEXUS Initiative, in 2007—since then, NEXUS has made great opera accessible to more than 275,000 people. HGO is honored to count Schlumberger among its most dedicated corporate supporters. Fred Dyen, Cameron Group HR director, serves on the HGO Board of Directors. SHELL Shell is a leader in the Houston arts community, supporting HGO for over 40 years. Shell’s leadership support makes opera more accessible to everyone through the NEXUS Initiative for Affordability and inspires young minds with STEM-aligned arts education opportunities like our annual Opera Camps. Shell was also a major supporter of HGO’s Hurricane Harvey recovery. HGO is honored to have Christos Angelides, external relations general manager of integrated gas ventures, as a Trustee. DIAN AND HARLAN STAI Harlan, a member of the HGO Board of Directors, and Dian are charter members of HGO’s Founders Council for Artistic Excellence, and their leadership support includes mainstage productions, the HGO Studio, the HGO Endowment, and special events. The Stais have also sponsored HGO Studio artists and they host annual recitals featuring HGO Studio artists at Mansefeldt, their renowned Fredericksburg ranch. HGO was privileged to recognize Dian and Harlan as the honorees of Opening Night 2008 and the 2014 Concert of Arias. TEXAS COMMISSION ON THE ARTS The mission of the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) is to advance our state economically and culturally by investing in creative projects and programs. TCA supports a diverse and innovative arts community in the state, throughout the nation, and internationally by providing resources to enhance economic development, arts education, cultural tourism, and artist sustainability initiatives. Over the years, TCA has provided invaluable support to many HGO projects, including mainstage productions and Community and Learning education initiatives. JOHN G. TURNER & JERRY G. FISCHER John and Jerry, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, travel around the world to experience the best that opera has to offer. HGO subscribers and donors for over a decade, the couple’s leadership support of Wagner’s Ring cycle (2014–17) was the largest gift ever made to HGO for a single 78

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production. John, a shareholder at Turner Industries Group, is a member of the HGO Board of Directors and past chair of the HGO Studio Committee. Jerry is a board member of Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. In recent years, John and Jerry have supported HGO mainstage productions, the HGO Studio, and special events. They are members of the Founders Council for Artistic Excellence, and John is a member of HGO’s Laureate Society. VINSON & ELKINS LLP HGO has been privileged to have the support of international law firm Vinson & Elkins LLP for 39 years. For more than 100 years, Vinson & Elkins LLP has been deeply committed to empowering the communities in which it serves. It has enriched the cultural vibrancy of Houston by supporting HGO through in-kind legal services and contributions to special events and mainstage productions, including last season’s Live from The Cullen recital featuring Reginald Smith Jr. The Opera is honored to have two Vinson & Elkins LLP partners serve on its board of directors: from left, Chris Bacon and Glen A. Rosenbaum. MARGARET ALKEK WILLIAMS Margaret, a longtime singer, possesses a deep affinity for all music, and especially opera, supporting HGO for over 30 years. Currently, Margaret continues her parents’ legacy as chairman of their foundation, where her son Charles A. Williams serves as president. HGO is humbled by Margaret’s incredible generosity and dedication to the company, both as an individual donor and through her family’s foundation. She has endowed the Margaret Alkek Williams Chair, held by HGO General Director Khori Dastoor, and is a member of HGO’s Laureate Society. A valued member of the HGO Board of Directors, Margaret was the honoree of the 2009 Opera Ball and chairman of the 2014 Ball, and she generously chaired the 2018 Hurricane Harvey benefit Concert HGO and Plácido: Coming Home! THE WORTHAM FOUNDATION, INC. In the 1980s, the Wortham Foundation contributed $20 million to lead the capital campaign for the Wortham Theater Center, guided by businessman Gus S. Wortham’s early recognition of the vital role of the arts in making Houston an appealing place to live and work. During their lifetimes, Gus and his wife, Lyndall, were dedicated to improving the lives of Houstonians. The Foundation continues to support the Opera through the Wortham Foundation Permanent Endowment and generous annual operating support. This leadership support has been vital to HGO’s growth and commitment to excellence. The Wortham Foundation’s support of HGO’s Hurricane Harvey recovery helped to bring the company back home, and we are deeply grateful.

IMPRESARIOS CIRCLE LYNN WYATT Lynn’s generosity touches every aspect of HGO. She is a Lifetime Trustee of HGO and serves as the vice chairman of the HGO Board of Directors. She chaired HGO’s Golden Jubilee Gala in 2005. Oscar Wyatt endowed The Lynn Wyatt Great Artist Fund in 2010, honoring Lynn’s service to the company and dedication to bringing the world’s best operatic artists to HGO, and she was the honoree at the 2010 Opera Ball. Lynn and Oscar have been lead supporters of a number of HGO productions and programs, including the multiyear company-wide initiative Seeking the Human Spirit.


COUNTS Who will enjoy world-class opera because of your generosity?

For more information, please contact Deborah Hirsch at 713-546-0259 or dhirsch@hgo.org.



Carolyn Sproule as Carmen. Photo by Lynn Lane

By including the HGO Endowment in your will or as a beneficiary of your retirement plan or insurance policy, you become a partner with HGO in perpetuating the art form we love, sustaining its vibrant good health for future generations. As a member of the Laureate Society, your legacy gift helps ensure opera forever in Houston.


ANNUAL SUPPORT Houston Grand Opera Trustees and Patrons Circle members support the O ­ pera with annual donations of $10,000 or $5,000, respectively, and make possible the incredible work of HGO. Trustees and Patrons enjoy many benefits at the Opera, including complimentary valet parking, Masterson Green Room privileges during performance intermissions, behind-the-scenes experiences, personalized ticket service, two tickets to all open dress rehearsals, Opera Guild membership, a discount on Opera Guild B ­ outique purchases, and much more. For information on joining as a Trustee or Patron, please contact Kelly Nicholls at 713-980-8698 or knicholls@hgo.org.


Mr. And Mrs. Hiram Davis

Ms. Michele Malloy

Ms. Gwyneth Campbell, Chair, Patrons Committee

Ms. Anna M. Dean

Ms. Diane M. Marcinek

Dr. Elaine Decanio

Renee Margolin


Ms. Elisabeth DeWitts

Mary Marquardsen

Mr. William J. Altenloh and Dr. Susan Saurage-Altenloh

Mr. and Mrs. John DiFilippo Jr.

Dr. Laura Marsh

Joanne and David Dorenfeld

Mr. Paul Marsden and Mr. Jay Rockwell

Dr. and Mrs. Giulio Draetta

Mr. R. Davis Maxey

Anna and Brad Eastman

Mr. and Mrs. D. Patrick McCelvey

C.C. and Duke Ensell

Jan and Nathan Meehan

Mr. Perry Ewing

Amy and Mark Melton

Benjamin and Jennifer Fink

Ginger Menown

Michelle Klinger and Ru Flanagan

Mr. and Mrs. Mark Metts

Carol Lay Fletcher

Chadd Mikulin and Amanda Lenertz

Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin

Dr. and Mrs. William E. Mitch

Marion and Caroline Freeman

Marsha L. Montemayor

Ms. Patricia B. Freeman and Mr. Bruce Patterson

Diane Morales

Christopher Bacon and Craig Miller Mr. and Mrs. Philip A. Bahr Mr. and Mrs. Frank N. Barnes Sylvia Barnes and Jim Trimble Blanche S. and Robert C. Bast, Jr., MD Dr. James A. Belli and Dr. Patricia Eifel Drs. Robert S. and Nancy Benjamin Dr. Michael and Susan Bloome Adrienne Bond Meg Boulware and Hartley Hampton Walt and Nancy Bratic

Dr. and Mrs. Ronald Galfione

Dr. Indira Mysorekar Mills and Dr. Jason Mills

E’Lisa and Scott J. Garber

Erik B. Nelson and Terry R. Brandhorst

Gerard and Christine Gaynor

Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Pancherz

Dr. Eugenia C. George

Susan and Ward Pennebaker

Dr. and Mrs. David P. Gill

Ms. Elizabeth Phillips

Mrs. Geraldine C. Gill

Gloria M. Portela

Mr. Wesley Goble and Mr. Barry Liss

Dr. Angela Rechichi-Apollo

Sandy and Lee Godfrey

Ms. Katherine Reynolds

Mr. and Mrs. Melvyn Hetzel

Mr. Serge Ribot

Dr. Patricia Holmes

Ed and Janet Rinehart

Lee M. Huber

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Ritchie

Ms. Linda Katz

Mr. and Mrs. Gregory S. Robertson

Ann and Stephen Kaufman

Kelly and David Rose

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Knull III

Mr. and Mrs. Manolo Sanchez

Ann Koster

Adel and Jason Sander

Elizabeth and Bill Kroger

Judy Sauer

Mr. and Mrs. Randall B. Lake

Ms. Jill Schaar and Mr. George Caflisch

Mr. and Mrs. Richard J. Langenstein

Mrs. Richard P. Schissler Jr.

Mr. Alfred W. Lasher III

Mr. Vance Senter and Mrs. Jane Senter

Mr. Robert L. Cook and Mrs. Giovanna Imperia

Dr. and Mrs. Ernst Leiss

Mrs. Helen P. Shaffer

David and Lori LePori

Hinda Simon

Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Davidson

Rochelle and Max Levit

Ms. Janet Sims

Mr. Stephen Brossart and Mr. Gerrod George Bill and Melinda Brunger Dr. Janet Bruner Mollie and Wayne Brunetti Mr. and Mrs. Lester P. Burgess Mr. and Mrs. Richard Burleson Mr. Tom Burley and Mr. Michael Arellano Mrs. Carol Butler Drs. Ian and Patricia Butler Ms. Gwyneth Campbell and Mr. Joseph L. Campbell Mr. and Mrs. Beto Cardenas Jess and Patricia Carnes Dr. Peter Chang and Hon. Theresa Chang Mr. Robert N. Chanon Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Clarke Mr. William E. Colburn Dr. Jessica Suarez Colen and Dr. John Colen


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ANNUAL SUPPORT Drs. Evelina and Ioannis Skaribas Kristina and Paul Somerville Mr. Jeffrey Stocks Kathy and Richard Stout

NATIONAL TRUSTEE— $5,000 OR MORE Ms. Jacqueline S. Akins, San Antonio, TX

Diana Strassmann and Jeffery Smisek

Mrs. Estella Hollin-Avery, Fredericksburg, TX

Dr. Laura E. Sulak and Dr. Richard W. Brown

Jorge Bernal and Andrea Maher, Bogota, Colombia

Dr. and Mrs. Demetrio Tagaropulos

Dr. Dennis Berthold and Dr. Pamela Matthews, College Station, TX

Dr. and Mrs. Karl Tornyos James M. Trimble and Sylvia Barnes

Dr. and Mrs. Clark D. Terrell, Boerne, TX Margaret and Alan Weinblatt, San Antonio, TX Mr. Donald Wertz, Austin, TX Valerie and David Woodcock, College Station, TX PATRONS CIRCLE—$5,000 OR MORE Mr. and Mrs. W. Kendall Adam Mrs. Nancy C. Allen

Kenneth Bloom and Sheila Swartzman, San Antonio, TX

Mr. and Mrs. Orlando Alvarado

Mr. and Mrs. John Untereker

Mr. Richard E. Boner and Ms. Susan Pryor, Austin, TX

Shaza and Mark Anderson

Salle Vaughn

Tom and Kay Brahaney, Midland, TX

Marietta Voglis

Sarah and Ernest Butler, Austin, TX

Mr. and Mrs. Robert N. Wakefield

Louise Chapman, Corpus Christi, TX

Mary Lee and Jim Wallace

Julie and Bert Cornelison, La Jolla, CA

Mr. and Mrs. K.C. Weiner

Bryce Cotner, Austin, TX

Ms. Debra Witges

Dr. Thomas S. DeNapoli and Mr. Mark Walker, San Antonio, TX

Ms. Marie-Louise S. Viada Mr. and Mrs. Jess B. Tutor

Mr. and Mrs. David S. Wolff Mr. and Mrs. C. Clifford Wright, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. David P. Young Mr. Hugh Zhang and Ms. Lulu Tan 4 Anonymous

Bill A. Arning and Aaron Skolnick Paul and Maida Asofsky Mr. Neely Atkinson Mr. and Mrs. Bryan W. Bagley Kate Baker

Brian Hencey and Charles Ross Jr., Austin, TX

Mr. William Bartlett

Mr. Charles Hendrix, Rancho Mirage, CA

Mr. and Mrs. Martin D. Beirne

Edward and Patricia Hymson, San Francisco, CA

Dr. and Mrs. Joel M. Berman

Emily Bivona and Ryan Manser

Mrs. Judy Kay, Dallas, TX

Mr. Anthony Chapman

Mr. Blair Labatt, San Antonio, TX

Drs. Rachel and Warren A. Ellsworth IV

Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Mehrens, Longview, TX

Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Hanno

Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Ardell

Nancy and Paul Balmert

Ms. Marianne Kah, Santa Fe, NM

Meredith and Joseph Gomez

Chris and Michelle Angelides

Mr. Jack Firestone, Miami, FL


Michelle Klinger and Ru Flanagan

JP Anderson and Alfredo Tijerina

Dr. and Mrs. Morton Leonard Jr., Galveston, TX

Mr. and Mrs. James Becker

Drs. Henry and Louise Bethea Mr. and Mrs. Stanley C. Beyer Mr. and Mrs. Stephen D. Bickel Drs. Gloria and E. Wiley Biles Larissa Bither Dr. Jerry L. Bohannon Mr. Jeffery Bosworth and Mr. Timothy Bammel

Matthew Healey

Cathleen C. and Jerome M. Loving, Bryan, TX

Ms. Kathleen Henry

Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Misamore, Sedona, AZ

Mr. Peter Hermosa

Mr. John P. Muth, Wimberly, TX

Mr. Chester Brooke and Dr. Nancy Poindexter

Sara and Gabriel Loperena

Ms. Claire O’Malley, San Antonio, TX

Dr. Luis Camacho

Ms. Allyson Pritchett

Mr. Patrick Carfizzi

Dr. Nico Roussel and Ms. Teresa Procter

Barbara and Camp Matens, Baton Rouge, LA

Jennifer Salcich

Ms. Susan Pryor, Austin, TX

Mrs. John R. Castano

Drs. Vivek and Ishwaria Subbiah

Ms. Wanda A. Reynolds, Austin, TX

Elliott Castillo and Dr. Eric McLaughlin

Mr. and Mrs. Hector Torres

Michelle and Chuck Ritter, Kansas City, MO

Dr. Beth Chambers and Mr. J. Michael Chambers

Dr. Sid Roberts and Mrs. Catherine Roberts, Lufkin, TX

Ms. Nada Chandler

James and Nathanael Rosenheim, College Station, TX

Mr. and Mrs. Jack Christiansen

Dr. Yin Yiu Anonymous

Mr. Al Brende and Mrs. Ann Bayless

Mr. and Mrs. Juan M. Carreon

Mr. Robert N. Chanon

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Mr. and Mrs. A. John Harper III

Gillian and Michael McCord

Dr. Nancy I. Cook

Dr. Linda L. Hart

Mimi Reed McGehee

Mr. and Mrs. Sam Cooper

Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Hewell

Dr. Alice R. McPherson

Ms. Sasha Davis

Pam Higgins and Tom Jones

Keith and Elizabeth McPherson

Dr. and Mrs. Roupen Dekmezian

Mrs. Ann G. Hightower

Kay and Larry Medford

Mr. and Mrs. Tracy L. Dieterich

Ms. Tami Hiraoka

Mrs. Anne C. Mendelsohn

Dr. and Mrs. William F. Donovan

Deborah and Michael Hirsch

Jerry and Sharyn Metcalf

Mr. and Mrs. Larry Dooley

Rosalie and William M. Hitchcock

Hal and Terry Meyer

Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Dubrowski

Dr. Holly Holmes

David Montague

Dr. David Edelstein and Mrs. Julie Riggins

Alan and Ellen Holzberg

Mr. and Mrs. Sidney S. Moran

Kellie Elder and David Halbert

Mr. and Mrs. John H. Homier

Ms. Linda C. Murray

Mrs. James A. Elkins III

Mr. Frank Hood

Franci Neely

Parrish N. Erwin Jr.

Dr. and Mrs. Gabriel N. Hortobagyi

Mrs. Bobbie Newman

Ms. Thea M. Fabio and Mr. Richard Merrill

Mr. and Mrs. Clay Hoster

Maureen O'Driscoll-Levy, M.D.

Ms. Ann L. Faget

Dr. Kevin Hude

Drs. John and Karen Oldham

Mary Ann and Larry Faulkner

Robert and Kitty Hunter

Geoffry H. Oshman

Ms. Vicki Schmid Faulkner Ms. Ursula Felmet

Dr. Alan J. Hurwitz

Susan and Edward Osterberg

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Jacob

Ms. and Mrs. Dennis Fish

Mr. and Mrs. Malick Jamal

C.N. and Maria Papadopoulos Charitable Foundation

Wanda and Roger Fowler

Ms. Joan Jeffrey

Adrienn L. Parsons

Mr. John E. Frantz

Mr. and Mrs. James K. Jennings, Jr.

Mr. and Mrs. Harry C. Pinson

Drs. Daniel and Jean Freeman

Mr. and Mrs. Basil Joffe

Mr. and Mrs. Elvin B. Pippert Jr.

Mr. and Mrs. William B. Freeman Jr.

Charlotte Jones

Mr. Robert Pitre

Dr. Alice Gates and Dr. Wayne Wilner

Sultana Kaldis

Lou and Joan Pucher

Dr. Layne O. Gentry

Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Kauffman

Dr. Paul B. Radelat and Ms. Irina Grant

Mr. and Mrs. Kirk Girouard

Mr. Anthony K.

Radoff Family

Nancy Glass, M.D. and John Belmont, M.D.

Mr. and Mrs. George B. Kelly

Ms. Judith Raines

Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Rice Kelly

Mrs. Gerald Rauch

Mr. Thomas K. Golden and Mrs. Susan Baker Golden

Ms. Nancy J. Kerby

Dr. David Reininger and Ms. Laura Lee Jones

Mary Frances Gonzalez

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Kidd

Sue Goott

Mr. Mark Klitzke

Mrs. Gwynn F. Gorsuch

Dr. and Mrs. Lary R. Kupor

Dr. and Mrs. David Y. Graham

Dr. Helen W. Lane

Joyce Z. Greenberg

Mr. Richard Leibman

Dr. and Mrs. Stephen B. Greenberg

Dr. Mike Lemanski

Ms. Dianne L. Gross

Dr. and Mrs. Olivier Lhemann

Ms. Gabriella M. Guerra

Mr. Stephan Link and Ms. Christy Landes

William and Jane Guest

Ms. Eileen Louvier

Ms. Barbara D. Hagood

Ms. Lynn Luster

Mr. Walker Hale and Dr. Katherine Hale

Mr. and Mrs. Paul A. Lynn

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas C. Halsey

Mr. and Mrs. Harry Mach

Mrs. Mary Hankey

Dr. and Mrs. Malcolm Mazow

Mr. Frank Harmon III and The Honorable Melinda Harmon

Mrs. Dorothy McCaine


SPR IN G 2022

Wynn and Shawna McCloskey

Carol F. Relihan Mr. Robert Richter Jr. Mrs. Maura Ritchie Mrs. Henry K. Roos Drs. Alejandro and Lynn Rosas Dr. and Mrs. Franklin Rose Dr. and Mrs. Sean Rosenbaum Mrs. Shirley Rose Mr. and Mrs. Tom Rushing Ms. Denmon Sigler and Mr. Peter Chok Dr. Ioannis Skaribas Mr. Douglas Skopp Mr. and Mrs. George Sneed Virginia Snider and Michael Osborne Dr. Robert Southard and Mrs. Kristi Southard

ANNUAL SUPPORT Mr. and Mrs. Aaron J. Stai

Ms. Rebecca Ferrell

Dr. and Mrs. Stanley Milstein, Olney, MD

Dr. and Mrs. C. Richard Stasney

Mr. Albert Garcia Jr.

Mr. Per A. Staunstrup and Ms. Joan Bruun

Mr. Damian Gill

Dr. James F. Nelson and Mr. Yong Zhang, San Antonio, TX

Richard P. Steele and Mary McKerall

Anna Gryska

Bruce Stein

Mr. Daniel Katz

Mrs. Sue Stocks

Lady Kimbrell and Mr. Joshua Allison

Mr. and Mrs. Eliseo Salazar, San Antonio, TX

Ms. Janet Stones

Miss Ellen Liu and Miss Ilana Walder-Biesanz

Mr. and Mrs. Victor E. Serrato, Pharr, TX

Burke Strickland The Drs. Suarez Dr. Pavlina Suchanova Drs. Adaani E. Frost and Wadi N. Suki Ms. Lori Summa Mrs. John Ben Taub Mr. Minas and Dr. Jennifer Tektiridis Mr. Leon Thomsen and Mrs. Pat Thomsen Ms. Susan L. Thompson Mr. and Mrs. Charles Tobias Mrs. Ann Gordon Trammell Dr. Elizabeth Travis and Mr. Jerry Hyde Dr. David Tweardy and Dr. Ruth Falik Birgitt van Wijk Mr. and Mrs. Larry Veselka Greg Vetter and Irene Kosturakis Geoffrey Walker and Ann Kennedy Dean Walker Mr. and Mrs. M. C. “Bill” Walker III Diane and Raymond Wallace Mr. and Mrs. Jay Watkins Ms. Pippa Wiley Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Williams Dr. Courtney Williams Loretta and Lawrence Williams Nancy and Sid Williams

Kirby and David Lodholz Mr. Brett Lutz and Mrs. Elizabeth Lutz Rachel and Daniel MacLeod Mr. and Mrs. William McElhiney

Ms. Alice Simkins, San Antonio, TX Eleanor and Philip Straub, Metairie, LA Mr. Kiyoshi Tamagawa and Mr. Bill Dick, Austin, TX

Adam and Tina Outland

Dr. David N. Tobey and Dr. Michelle Berger, Austin, TX

Drs. Mauricio Perillo and Lujan Stasevicius

Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Tucker, Bryan, TX

Constance Rose-Edwards

Mr. Tom Turnbull and Mr. Darrell Smith, Eunice, LA

Ms. Emily Schreiber Ms. Susan Tan Stella and Steven Tang

Mr. Jerre van den Bent, Dallas, TX Mr. and Mrs. Alexander van Veldhoven, Dallas, TX Rons Voogt, Huntsville, TX

NATIONAL PATRONS— $2,500 OR MORE Ms. Cynthia Akagi and Mr. Tom Akagi, Madison, WI

Jacqueline and Kirk Weaver, Washington, D.C. Jim and Sydney Wild, San Antonio, TX

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas R. Allison, Olympia, WA Debra Blatz, Austin, TX Dr. Bernd U. Budelmann, Galveston, TX Ms. Louise Cantwell, San Antonio, TX Ms. Susan Carvel, New Braunfels, TX Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Cloudman III, Boulder, CO Mr. Bryce Cotner, Austin, TX Mr. James M. Duerr and Dr. Pamela Hall, San Antonio, TX

Mr. and Mrs. Scott Wise

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Evans, Coldspring, TX

Mr. and Mrs. John W. Wright

Dr. and Mrs. Marvin A. Fishman, NM

Drs. Edward Yeh and Hui-Ming Chang

Michael Freeburger and Matilda Perkins, Fair Oaks Ranch, TX

John L. Zipprich II

John and Elizabeth Nielsen-Gammon, College Station, TX

6 Anonymous

Mr. Paul Giguere and Ms. Melinne Owen, Santa Fe, NM


Mr. Raymond Goldstein and Ms. Jane T. Welch, San Antonio, TX

Ms. Taylor Anne Adams

Mr. Charles Hanes, San Jose, CA

Mr. David Broadwell

Ms. Gail Jarratt, San Antonio, TX

Ms. Lindsay Buchanan

Mr. and Mrs. Geoffrey S. Kay, Austin, TX

Ms. Elise Bungo

Mr. Kyle Kerr, Irving, TX

Mr. Sholto Davidson

Mr. Peter Manis and Ms. Susan Richman, Chicago, IL H G O. O R G



HGO Donors Houston Grand Opera appreciates all individuals who contribute to the company’s success. Support in any amount is received most gratefully. Our donors share a dedication to supporting the arts in our community, and the generosity of these individuals makes it possible for HGO to sustain world-class opera in the Houston area. For information on becoming a Houston Grand Opera donor, please contact Kelly Nicholls at 713-980-8688 or knicholls@hgo.org. ASSOCIATE PATRONS— $2,000 OR MORE Ms. Jacquelyn M. Abbott Dr. Joan Bitar Ms. Sonja Bruzauskas and Mr. Houston Haymon Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Carvelli Mr. And Mrs. M. J. Castelberg Dr. Bob Chapman and Ms. Balvy Bhogal Vicki Clepper Ms. Donna Collins

Mr. and Mrs. Willie Swisher

Nancy Dunlap

Nancy Thompson

Nancy and Tom Eubanks

Mary and Robert Trainer

Sylvia B. Fatzer

Mrs. Paloma Urbano

Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth M. Fisher

Mr. and Mrs. John Wallace

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Fowler

Mr. and Mrs. Alton L. Warren

Mr. Blake Frere

Dr. Randall Wolf

Mrs. Wendy Germani

Ken and Carolyn Yeats

Mr. David Gockley


Rhoda Goldberg Dr. and Mrs. Michael J. Gordon

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur G. Dauber


Mr. and Mrs. Warren Dean

Ms. Cecilia Aguilar

Dr. James E. Griffin III and Dr. Margo Denke

Mr. and Mrs. Blake Eskew

Joan and Stanford Alexander

Mr. and Mrs. Ira Gruber

Michael Gillin and Pamela Newberry

Mr. and Mrs. Philip Gunnels

Mr. and Mrs. Dewuse Guyton

Mr. Alan Anderson and Ms. Betsy Anderson

Ms. Zahava Haenosh

Mr. Robert K. Arnett Jr.

Dr. and Mrs. Carlos R. Hamilton, Jr.

Mr. Steven Aucoin

Mr. and Mrs. Michael F. Henderek

Mrs. Deborah S. Bautch

Dr. Sallie T. Hightower

Mr. and Mrs. V. G. Beghini

Mr. Tim Hilt

Dr. Alan Bentz and Mrs. Sallymoon Benz

Mr. John Keville

Mr. Bob F. Boydston

Nancy McGregor and Neal Manne

Ms. Zu Dell Broadwater

Mark and Juliet Markovich

Drs. Terry and Elvira Burns

Mr. Michael C. McEwen

Mr. and Mrs. James Brugman

Mr. and Mrs. Chad Muir

Ms. Julia Cambra

John Newton and Peggy Cramer

Drs. Danuta and Ranjit Chacko

Tammy and Wayne Nguyen

Dr. Claude Cech

Susie and Jim Pokorski

Kenneth T. Chin

Mr. and Mrs. Irving Pozmantier

Dr. Raymond Chinn

Suzanne Page-Pryde and Arthur Pryde

Ms. Mary Clark

Sharon Ruhly

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Collier

Ramon and Chula Sanchez

Dr. and Mrs. J. Michael Condit

Barbara Schufreider

Ms. Joyce Cramer

Christopher B. Schulze, M.D.

Peggy DeMarsh

Mrs. Sylvia Lohkamp and Mr. Tucker Coughlen

Dr. Wayne X. Shandera

Dr. Susan Denson

Mr. Robert Lorio

Len Slusser

Dr. and Mrs. R. L. Deter

Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Y. Lui

Ms. Karen MacAdam Somer

Dr. and Mrs. Donald Donovan

Ms. Nancy Manderson

Ms. Janet Graves

Mr. Claudio Gutierrez Julia Gwaltney Ms. Rebecca Hansen Mr. and Mrs. William H. Hazlett Dr. Ralph J. Herring Kay and Michael W. Hilliard Mr. Stanley A. Hoffberger Jay Hooker Mr. John Hrncir Mr. and Mrs. Ronald E. Huebsch Mr. Francisco J. Izaguirre Mr. and Mrs. Richard A. Jackson Mr. Mark E. Jacobs Mr. and Mrs. John Jordan Lynda and Frank Kelly Mr. Jon T. Lamkin and Dr. Lynn Lamkin Ms. Rachel Le and Mr. Lam Nguy Mrs. Yildiz Lee Ms. Nadine Littles

Dr. and Mrs. Moshe H. Maor 84

SPR IN G 2022


Mr. and Mrs. H. Woods Martin

Ella Prichard

Stefanie and Ralph Telford

Jim and Linda McCartney

Dr. and Mrs. Florante A. Quiocho

Jay and Charlotte Tribble

Dr. Mary Fae McKay

Mr. and Mrs. Gene Steve Rhea

Mr. and Mrs. Tim Unger

Mr. James L. McNett

Mr. William K. Rice

Dr. and Mrs. Lieven J. Van Riet

John and Bets McSpadden

Kathryn A. Ritcheske

Darlene Walker and Reagan Redman

Frank J. Meckel

Mrs. Carol Ritter

Andrea Ward and David Trahan

Mr. Douglas D. Miller

Ms. Mallory Robinson

Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Wellen

Ms. Josephine Miller

Mr. Jack Rooker

J. M. Weltzien

Ms. Celia Morgan

Mansel and Brenda Rubenstein

Mr. Peter J. Wender

Mr. and Mrs. Marvin H. Mueller

Mr. Alan Schmitz

Ms. Susan Trammell Whitfield

Mr. William Nicholas

Mrs. Carolyn A. Seale and Mrs. Carol Lee Klose

Mrs. Dolores Wilkenfeld

Mr. Dean Niemeyer and Dr. Marlowe D. Niemeyer Ms. Jo L. Papadakis Mr. and Ms. Carl Pascoe Mr. Rawley Penick and Mrs. Meredith L. Hathorn

Dr. Paul E. Setzler

Dr. Robert Wilkins and Mrs. Mary Ann Reynolds-Wilkins

Mr. Nick Shumway and Mr. Robert Mayott

Ms. Elizabeth D. Williams

Mr. Herbert Simons

Drs. William and Huda Yahya Zoghbi

Jan Simpson

7 Anonymous

Mrs. Ulrike Peto

Mr. and Mrs. Louis. S. Sklar

Joe and Joanna Phillips

Ms. Marylen Smith

Mr. and Mrs. Phil Plant

Ms. Linda F. Sonier

Mrs. Jenny Popatia

Ms. Carol T. Stamatedes

Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Woodell II

Mr. and Mrs. George Stark

WANNA #BEACOOLXDAD Our mission is to aid and uplift all fathers of color striving to build a better world for their children and serve the communities in which they live.



H G O. O R G



Corporate, Foundation, and Government Supporters Houston Grand Opera’s corporate, foundation, and government partners make it possible for HGO to create and share great art with our community. We are incredibly proud to work with these organizations and grateful for all they do. For information on joining HGO’s valued team of corporate and foundation supporters, please contact Kelly Finn, director of institutional giving, at 713-546-0265 or kfinn@hgo.org.

Michaela Greenan, Corporate Council Chair


Glen Rosenbaum, Vinson & Elkins LLP

Wells Fargo †

Manolo Sánchez, Spring Labs

Westlake Chemical Corporation †


Apurva Thekdi, MD, Houston Methodist

Winstead PC

Thomas R. Ajamie, Ajamie LLP Chris Angelides, Shell J. Scott Arnoldy, Triten Corporation Chris Bacon, Vinson & Elkins LLP C. Mark Baker, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP

Ignacio Torras, Tricon Energy Tom Van Arsdel, Winstead PC Alfredo Vilas, Novum Energy Allison Young, Wells Fargo David Young, Union Pacific

SPONSORS—$10,000 OR MORE CenterPoint Energy EY Locke Lord LLP † MEMBERS—$1,000 OR MORE

Marcos Basso, Baker McKenzie


Astley Blair, Marine Well Containment Company



ConocoPhillips †

Patterson & Sheridan LLP

H-E-B †

Maovor, Inc.

Houston Methodist †*

Union Pacific Foundation

Meg Boulware, Boulware & Valoir Thierry Caruso, EY Albert Chao, Westlake Chemical Corporation

Alliance Bernstein

Novum Energy

Silvia Salle, Bank of America

Schlumberger †

Beth A. Colle, EY

Shell †

Adam Cook, Tokio Marine HCC

United Airlines †*


Joshua Davidson, Baker Botts L.L.P.

Vinson & Elkins LLP †*


Frederic Dyen, Schlumberger Warren Ellsworth, MD, Houston Methodist


John C. Harrell, Truist

Ajamie LLP

Michael Hilliard, Winstead PC

Bank of America

Richard Husseini, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ †


Richard Leibman, FROSCH

M. David Lowe and Nana Booker Booker · Lowe Gallery

Kirksey Gregg Productions

David LePori, Frost Bank Bryce Lindner, Bank of America

Frost Bank

Claire Liu, LyondellBasell (Retired)


Patrick Keller, Truist

Baker Botts L.L.P. †

Craig Miller, Frost Bank

Baker McKenzie

Arcy Muñoz, Wells Fargo

Boulware & Valoir

Ward Pennebaker, Pennebaker

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Gloria M. Portela, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Norton Rose Fulbright LLP †

Allyn Risley, GTT North America

Principal Financial Services, Inc.

Susan Rivera, Tokio Marine HCC

Tokio Marine HCC

Kelly Rose, ConocoPhillips



SPR IN G 2022

Abrahams Oriental Rugs and Home Furnishings City Kitchen Catering The Events Company

Magnolia Houston Neiman Marcus Precious Jewels CO-SPONSORS—$7,500 OR MORE BCN Taste and Tradition Elegant Events and Catering by Michael Fort Bend Music Center Medallion Global Wine Group Sakowitz Furs Steak48


The Cullen Foundation †

Houston Endowment Inc.

The Corinthian at Franklin Lofts

The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts †

Houston Saengerbund

David Peck The Lancaster Hotel


The Four Seasons Hotel Houston

The Alkek and Williams Foundation †

Masterson Design/Mariquita Masterson

The Humphreys Foundation †

Shaftel Diamond Co.

The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation †

MEMBERS—$1,000 OR MORE Brasserie du Parc

The Nathan J. Klein Fund * Contribution includes in- kind support † Ten or more years of consecutive support

Texas Commission on the Arts † Anonymous

Chu Okoli Art Connie Kwan-Wong/CWK Collection Inc.


Dar Schafer Art

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation †

Elliott Marketing Group

John P. McGovern Foundation †

Ellsworth Plastic Surgery

M.D. Anderson Foundation †

Gittings Portraiture

The Powell Foundation †

Glade Cultural Center

The Sarofim Foundation

The Glimmerglass Festival

William Randolph Hearst Foundation

Guard and Grace


Hayden Lasher The Hotel ZaZa Joan Laughlin Art Kim Ritter Art

City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board † National Endowment for the Arts †

Las Terrazas Resort & Residences


Lavandula Design

Carol Franc Buck Foundation

Matt Ringel/Red Light Management

Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation

Mayfield Piano Service

OPERA America

Megan Murray Photography

Ruth and Ted Bauer Family Foundation †

Page Piland Art

Stedman West Foundation †

Rhonda Lanclos Art

Sterling-Turner Foundation

Sandi Seltzer Bryant Art

Vivian L. Smith Foundation

Shoocha Photography Marcia and Alfredo Vilas


SPONSORS—$10,000 OR MORE Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation † Anchorage Foundation of Texas Cockrell Family Fund Houston Grand Opera Guild †

The Brown Foundation, Inc. †

The Vaughn Foundation

Houston Grand Opera Endowment Inc. †

William E. and Natoma Pyle Harvey Charitable Trust †

The Wortham Foundation, Inc. † PRINCIPAL GUARANTORS— $500,000 OR MORE City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance †

MEMBERS—$1,000 OR MORE George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation †

H G O. O R G




EQT Foundation

Nintendo Of America

Baker Hughes Foundation

ExxonMobil Foundation

Quantlab Financial, LLC

Bank of America Charitable Foundation

Fannie Mae


BP Foundation

Hewlett-Packard Company

Shell Oil Company Foundation

Chevron Humankind

IBM Corporation

The Boeing Company

Coca-Cola North America

Illinois Tools Works Inc.

Union Pacific


LyondellBasell Chemical Company

Williams Companies



EOG Resources, Inc.

Microsoft Employee Giving

Laureate Society

Helen Wils, Chair

The Laureate Society comprises individuals who have helped ensure the future of Houston Grand Opera by remembering the Opera in their wills, retirement plans, trusts, or other types of estate plans. The Laureate Society does not require a minimum amount to become a member. Planned estate gifts to the Houston Grand Opera Endowment can be used to support general or specific Opera programs. Houston Grand Opera is deeply grateful to these individuals. Their generosity and foresight enable the Opera to maintain its growth and stability, thus enriching the lives of future generations. For information regarding charitable estate gift planning and how it might positively impact you, your loved ones, and ­Houston Grand Opera, please contact Deborah Hirsch, senior director of philanthropy, at 713-546-0259 or dhirsch@hgo.org.


Mr. Andrew Bowen

James W. Crownover

Ms. Gerry Aitken

Lynda Bowman

Shelly Cyprus

Dr. Susan Saurage-Altenloh and William Altenloh

Judith and Harry Bristol

Mr. Karl Dahm

Ms. Zu Dell Broadwater

Lida S. Dahm, M.D.

Margaret Alkek Williams

Catherine Brock

Darrin Davis

Mrs. Judy Amonett

Mrs. Ira B. Brown

Ms. Sasha Davis

Michelle Beale and Richard H. Anderson

Mr. Richard S. Brown

Ms. Anna M. Dean

Robin Angly and Miles Smith

Logan D. Browning

Ms. Peggy DeMarsh

Bill Arning and Aaron Skolnick

Richard Buffett

Elisabeth Dewitts

Mrs. Judie Aronson

Mr. Tom Burley and Mr. Michael Arellano

Ian Derrer and Daniel James

Christopher Bacon and Craig Miller

Ralph C. Byle

Dr. and Mrs. Russell L. Deter II

Gilbert Baker

Gwyneth Campbell

Connie Dyer

Dr. Saúl and Ursula Balagura

Jess and Patricia Carnes

Joyce and Trey Evans

Mrs. Thomas D. Barrow

Janet Langford Carrig

Bill A. Bartlett

Mrs. Sylvia J. Carroll

Ms. Thea M. Fabio and Mr. Richard Merrill

James M. Barton

Nada Chandler

Mr. Lary D. Barton

Mr. Robert N. Chanon

Mrs. Natalie Beller

Ms. Virginia Ann Clark

Dr. Patricia Eifel and Dr. James A. Belli

Mathilda Cochran

Mr. and Mrs. Stanley C. Beyer

Mr. William E. Colburn

Dr. Joan Hacken Bitar

Mr. and Mrs. Paul L. Comstock

Emily Bivona and Ryan Manser

Mr. Jim O. Connell

Susan Ross Black

C.M. and A.A. Cooper Jr.

Dr. Michael and Susan Bloome

Mr. Efrain Z. Corzo

Dr. and Mrs. Jules H. Bohnn

Mr. Alan M. Craft


SPR IN G 2022

Ann L. Faget Ms. Vicki Schmid Faulkner Mrs. Jean L. Fauntleroy Ms. Carol Sue Finkelstein Jack M. and Marsha S. Firestone Ms. Carol L. Fletcher Bruce Ford Dr. Donna Fox Bill and Robert Garcia-Richmond Dr. Alice Gates

ANNUAL SUPPORT Dr. Layne O. Gentry

Mr. and Mrs. Stephen M. Kaufman

Geoffry H. Oshman

Mr. Michael B. George

Steve Kelley and Charles Dennis

Macky Osorio

Dr. Wm. David George

A. Mark Kelly

Mrs. Susan Osterberg

Norine Jaloway Gill and David P. Gill, M.D.

Kyle F. Kerr

Mrs. Joan D. Osterweil

Lynn Gissel

Ms. Virginia Kiser

Thelma and Richard Percoco

Dr. Rollin O. Glaser

Ann and Sam Koster

Mrs. Sara M. Peterson

Wesley H. Goble

Ms. Michele LaNoue

Nancy Pryzant Picus

Mr. David Gockley

Lynn Lamkin

Mr. and Mrs. Harry C. Pinson

Rhoda Goldberg

Marcheta Leighton-Beasley

Mr. and Mrs. James A. Pokorski

Mary Francis Gonzales

Carolyn J. Levy

Ms. Gloria M. Portela

Mr. Jon K. Gossett

Willy and Inge Lotte Liesner

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Gott

Mr. Michael Linkins

Mr. Arthur B. Pryde and Mrs. Suzanne Page-Pryde

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Graubart

Heide and Karl Loos

Dr. Nichols Grimes

Mrs. Marilyn G. Lummis

Dr. Ellen R. Gritz

Dr. Jo Wilkinson Lyday

Mario Gudmunsson

Mr. and Mrs. Paul A. Lynn

Mr. Jas A. Gundry

Ms. Sandra L. Magers

Mr. Claudio Gutierrez

Mrs. Rosemary Malbin

Robert W. Guynn, M.D.

Ms. Michele Malloy

Bill Haase

Mr. and Mrs. J. Landis Martin

Linda Lloyd Hart

Nancy Wynne Mattison

Ms. Brenda Harvey-Traylor

Jackie and Malcolm Mazow, M.D.

Nancy Ferguson-Haywood

Mrs. Dorothy McCaine

Miguel and Teresita Hernandez

Mrs. Cynthia Tally McDonald

Dr. Ralph Herring

Mr. and Mrs. Alexander K. McLanahan

Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Hewell

Dr. Will L. McLendon

Mr. Edward L. Hoffman

Mr. Allen D. McReynolds

Dr. Gary L. Hollingsworth and Dr. Ken Hyde

Maryellen McSweeney

Alan and Ellen Holzberg

Christianne Melanson

Ms. Kathleen Moore and Mr. Steven Homer

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Menzie

Frank Hood Ms. Ami J. Hooper Ms. Sue A. Shirley-Howard and Mr. Richard H. Howard

Mr. and Mrs. D. Bradley McWilliams

Miss Catherine Jane Merchant Ms. Georgette M. Michko Ms. Suzanne Mimnaugh Sid Moorhead

Eileen and George Hricik

Mr. Juan R. Morales

Ms. Lee M. Huber

Mr. and Mrs. Sidney S. Moran

Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Hunter

Mr. and Mrs. Marvin H. Mueller

Greg Ingram

Ms. Linda C. Murray

Dr. Lamar and Mrs. Jane Jackson Charitable Trust

Ms. Terrylin G. Neale

Mr. Brian James

Bobbie Newman

Mr. Spencer A. Jeffries

Mrs. Tassie Nicandros

Ms. Charlotte Jones

Ms. B. Lynn Mathre and Mr. Stewart O’Dell

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Kauffman

Mrs. James W. O’Keefe

Mr. Erik Nelson

Dr. Angela Rechichi-Apollo Todd R. Reppert Mr. and Mrs. Conrad Reynolds Wanda H. Reynolds Ed and Janet Rinehart Mr. and Mrs. Edward N. Robinson Mrs. Shirley Rose Glen A. Rosenbaum Mr. John C. Rudder Jr. H. Clifford Rudisill and Ray E. Wilson Mr. and Mrs. Thomas V. Rushing Mr. and Mrs. Terrell F. Sanders Ms. Wanda Schaffner Deborah and Kenneth Scianna Charles and Gudrun Senuta Helen and James Shaffer Mr. Chris Schilling Hinda Simon Mr. Herbert D. Simons Ms. Susan Simpson Janet Sims Bruce Smith, DDS Mr. Robert J. Smouse Ms. Linda F. Sonier Mr. and Mrs. Harlan C. Stai Ms. Darla Y. Stange Catherine Stevenson Bruce Suter Rhonda J. Sweeney Mrs. John Ben Taub Quentin Thigpen and Amy Psaris Fiona Toth Mr. John G. Turner H G O. O R G


ANNUAL SUPPORT Mr. Paul and Dr. Rhonda Turner Mr. and Mrs. Jess B. Tutor Birgitt van Wijk


Alfredo Vilas

Ms. Evelyn M. Bedard

Marietta Voglis

Ronald Borschow

Ms. Rons Voogt

Mr. Stephen R. Brenner

Dean B. Walker Mr. Gordon D. Watson Rebecca Weaver

Mr. Ira B. Brown Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Capshaw Dr. Lawrence E. Carlton

Mrs. H. E. Warshaw

Mr. Tony Carroll, LCSW

Mr. Jesse Weir Mr. Geoffrey Westergaard Ms. Roxanne Cargill and Peter Weston Ms. Jane L. Williams

Michael Cochran Judy Cummings Ms. Marilyn R. Davis Mr. Richard Evans

Helen Wils

Frank R. Eyler

David and Mary Wolff Dr. L. Fabian Worthing III Lynn Wyatt

Linda Finger Christine E. George

Mary R. Lewis Bette and Peter Liebgold Mrs. Margaret Love Ms. Marsha Malev Mr. Constantine Nicandros M. Joan Nish Mr. James W. O’Keefe Barbara M. Osborne Mrs. Mary Ann Phillips Mr. Howard Pieper Mr. and Mrs. Craig M. Rowley Mrs. Joseph P. Ruddell Mr. Eric W. Stein Sr. John and Fanny Stone Dr. Carlos Vallbona Daisy Wong Miss Bonnie Sue Wooldridge

Adelma Graham

R. Alan York Katherine and Mark Yzaguirre Mrs. Lorena Zavala

Roberta and Jack Harris Jackson C. Hicks Dr. Marjorie Horning

Mr. John L. Zipprich II

Mark Lensky

27 Anonymous

Houston Grand Opera Endowment

Yolanda Knull, Chair

The Houston Grand Opera Endowment, Inc., is a separate nonprofit organization that invests contributions to earn income for the benefit of Houston Grand Opera Association. The Endowment Board works with CAPTRUST, an independent investment counsel, to engage professional investment managers. An endowed fund can be permanently established within the Houston Grand Opera Endowment through a direct contribution or via a planned gift such as a bequest. The fund can be designated for general purposes or specific interests. For a discussion on endowing a fund, please contact Deborah Hirsch, senior director of philanthropy, at 713-546-0259 or dhirsch@hgo.org. HGO acknowledges with deep gratitude the following endowed funds.


Stephen Kaufman


Allyn Risley

Yolanda Knull, Chair

Scott Wise

Tom Rushing, Senior Chair

Mary Frances Newton Bowers Endowment Fund Pat and Daniel A. Breen Endowment Fund The Brown Foundation Endowment Fund


Jane and Robert Cizik Endowment

Marianne Kah, Vice Chair

Susan Saurage-Altenloh and William Altenloh Endowed Fund

Terrylin Neale, Secretary/Treasurer

Michael and Mathilda Cochran Endowment Fund

The Rudy Avelar Patron Services Fund

Douglas E. Colin Endowment Fund

Members at Large

Charles T. (Ted) Bauer Memorial Fund

Thomas R. Ajamie

Sandra Bernhard Endowed Fund

The Gerald and Bobbie-Vee Cooney Rudy Avelar Fund

Khori Dastoor

The Stanley and Shirley Beyer Endowed Fund

Mary Jane Fedder Endowed Fund

Ronald C. Borschow Endowment Fund

Robert W. George Endowment Fund

Janet L. Carrig, Chair Emeritus

Robert C. Hunter Richard Husseini 90

SPR IN G 2022

Linda K. Finger Endowed Fund

ANNUAL SUPPORT Frank Greenberg, M.D. Endowment Fund Roberta and Jack Harris Endowed Fund Jackson D. Hicks Endowment Fund General and Mrs. Maurice Hirsch Memorial Opera Fund

ENDOWED CHAIRS AND FELLOWSHIPS Margaret Alkek Williams Chair:   Khori Dastoor, General Director and Chief Executive Officer

Ira Brown Endowment Fund

Sarah and Ernest Butler Chair: Patrick Summers, Artistic and Music Director

Elizabeth Rieke and Wayne V. Jones Endowment Fund

Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Master Chair: Richard Bado

Leech Family Resilience Fund

Sarah and Ernest Butler Concertmaster Chair: Denise Tarrant

Ann Holmes Endowed Fund

Lensky Family Endowed Fund

Tenneco, Inc. Endowment Fund Weston-Cargill Endowed Fund EDUCATION FUNDS Bauer Family Fund Sandra Bernhard Education Fund Lawrence E. Carlton, M.D., Endowment Fund Beth Crispin Endowment Fund James J. Drach Endowment Fund Fondren Foundation Fund for Educational Programs

Mary R. Lewis Endowed Fund

Mr. and Mrs. James A. Elkins Jr. Endowed Chair: Peter Pasztor

Beth Madison Endowed Fund

Mr. and Mrs. Albert B. Alkek Chair

Franci Neely Endowed Fund

James A. Elkins Jr. Endowed Visiting Artist Fund

The Schissler Family Foundation Endowed Fund for Educational Programs



The Ford Foundation Endowment Fund

Guyla Pircher Harris Project


Spring Opera Festival Fund (Shell Lubricants, formerly Pennzoil—Quaker State Company)

Audrey Jones Beck Endowed Fellowship Fund/Houston Endowment, Inc.


The Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation Endowment Fund

Eleanor Searle McCollum Endowment Fund

Constantine S. Nicandros Endowment Fund Barbara M. Osborne Charitable Trust Cynthia and Anthony Petrello Endowed Fund Mary Ann Phillips Endowed Fund C. Howard Pieper Endowment Fund Kitty King Powell Endowment Fund Rowley Family Endowment Fund The Ruddell Endowment Fund Sue Simpson Schwartz Endowment Fund

Marjorie and Thomas Capshaw Endowment Fund

Shell Lubricants (formerly Pennzoil — Quaker State Company) Fund

Houston Grand Opera Guild Endowment Fund

Dian and Harlan Stai Fund

James J. Drach Endowment Fund

The John and Fanny Stone Endowment Fund

The Evans and Portela Family Endowed Chair

Dorothy Barton Thomas Endowment Fund

Carol Lynn Lay Fletcher Endowment Fund

John G. Turner and Jerry G. Fischer Endowed Fund

William Randolph Hearst Endowed Scholarship Fund

John and Sheila Tweed Endowed Fund Marietta Voglis Endowed Fund

Charlotte Howe Memorial Scholarship Fund

Bonnie Sue Wooldridge Endowment Fund

Elva Lobit Opera Endowment Fund

The Wortham Foundation Permanent Endowment Fund

Marian and Speros Martel Foundation Endowment Fund


Laura and Bradley McWilliams Endowed Fund

Edward and Frances Bing Fund

Erin Gregory Neale Endowment Fund

Tracey D. Conwell Endowment Fund The Wagner Fund

Dr. Mary Joan Nish and Patricia Bratsas Endowed Fund


John M. O’Quinn Foundation Endowed Fellowship Fund

Jesse Weir and Roberto Ayala Artist Fund The Lynn Wyatt Great Artist Fund

David Clark Grant Endowment Fund

Shell Lubricants (formerly Pennzoil — Quaker State Company) Fund Mary C. Gayler Snook Endowment Fund

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SAVE THE DATES APRIL 22, 24M, 30, MAY 3, 6, 8M

Performances of Puccini’s Turandot. Wortham Theater Center’s Brown Theater. Special intermission reception for members of Opening Nights for Young Professionals at the April 22 performance only.

APRIL 26, 27

The Barber of Seville in Texas: HGO presents Kristine McIntyre’s bilingual adaptation of Gioachino Rossini’s classic comic opera, now set in Texas. Recommended for children in grades 2-8. Miller Outdoor Theatre. 11 a.m. Free.

MAY 2, 3

The Barber of Seville in Texas: HGO presents Kristine McIntyre’s bilingual adaptation of Gioachino Rossini’s classic comic opera, now set in Texas. Recommended for children in grades 2-8. MECA, 1900 Kane St. Free.

MAY 5 Student Matinee: HGO hosts groups of students in grades 4-8 and their chaperones at performances of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. 10 a.m. School groups only: reserve online at HGO.org/ StudentPerformances.

MAY 9 Patrons Circle Recital: HGO presents a private recital for Patrons Circle members featuring tenor Michael Spyres.


HGO Digital: Suite Española: Explorando el Caribe: Building on the critical and audience response for spring 2021’s Suite Española: Explorando Iberia, created by and starring the incomparable Ana María Martínez, this follow-up program celebrates the musical traditions of Spanish-speaking cultures in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. Streams through July 10. Paid; HGODigital.org.

JUNE 6–JULY 29 HGO Sing! Move! Play! Camp: • June 6-10 at Northwest Library 10:30 11:30 a.m. • July 11-July 15 at Tomball Library 10-11 a.m. • July 18-July 22 at Octavia Feilds Library 2-3 p.m.


APRIL 29, MAY 1M, 7, 11 Performances of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. Wortham Theater Center’s Brown Theater. Special intermission receptions for members of Opening Nights for Young Professionals at the April 29 performance only, and for members of Overture at the May 7 performance only.

HGO Digital: Live from The Cullen: Federico de Michelis: The renowned Argentinian bass-baritone Federico de Michelis shares tango and chamber songs from his home country alongside jazz standards. He also plays guitar, with Emiliano Messiez on piano. Streams through June 12. Free; HGODigital.org.

MAY 15 Laureate Society Recital: HGO presents a private recital featuring legendary American baritone Donnie Ray Albert for Laureate Society members.

MAY 20, 21

Performances of Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. Miller Outdoor Theatre. 8 p.m. Free. 92

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•July 25-July 29 at North Channel Library 11 a.m.-noon. Free. For information or to register, contact storybook@hgo.org.


JUNE 13–JULY 1 Opera Camp: HGO is joining forces with the American Festival for the Arts (AFA) to offer three summer camps! Register for both Art of Opera and the Vocal Artist Intensive and receive a discount valued at $75. Learn more at HGO.org/ SummerCamp. • Create an Opera for grades 3-8 will run June 13-24 at the Wortham. $600. • Art of Opera for grades 9-graduated seniors will run June 20-July 1 at the Wortham. Campers will have the opportunity to perform in an HGO-commissioned world-premiere opera: Mark Buller and Charles Anthony Silvestri’s The Impresario of Oz! Final performance will take place July 1 at Kinder HSPVA. $600.

• The Vocal Artist Intensive, led by AFA and held at Kinder HSPVA, is also for grades 9-12 and runs June 13-17. $535.

For more performances and events, in person and virtual, visit HGO.org!

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Khori Dastoor, General Director and Chief Executive Officer Margaret Alkek Williams Chair Patrick Summers, Artistic and Music Director * Sarah and Ernest Butler Chair Ana María Martínez, Artistic Advisor Richard Bado, Director of Artistic Planning/ Chorus Director * Sarah and Ernest Butler Chorus Director Chair Molly Dill, Chief Operating Officer* Elizabeth Greer, Chief Financial Officer Gregory S. Robertson, Chief Philanthopy Officer *

Marc Alba, Customer Care Center Specialist Chelsea Crouse, Creative Manager Jessica Gonzalez, Marketing Coordinator Maricruz Kwon, Digital Content Coordinator Catherine Matusow, Editor-in-Chief Joel Nott, Customer Care Center Specialist Candace Pittman, Digital Marketing Manager Christopher Robinson, Graphic Designer Alan Sellar, Videographer Charlotte Weschler, Customer Care Center Manager

SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM Kristen E. Burke, Director of Production * Natalie Barron, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications Deborah Hirsch, Senior Director of Philanthropy * Michael Hornsby, Director of Information Technology Scott Ipsen, Director of Patron Experience * Daniel James, Associate Director of Artistic Planning David Krohn, Director of Philanthropy Alisa Magallón, Interim Director of Community & Learning Brian Speck, Director of HGO Studio *

OFFICE OF THE GENERAL DIRECTOR Mary Elsey, Chief of Staff to the General Director and CEO Miriam Green, Assistant to the Artistic and Music Director Amber Sheppard, Governance Manager

FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION Natalie Burrows, Director of Business Intelligence Christian Davis, Human Resources Generalist Ariel Ehrman, Business Intelligence Manager Luis Franco, Office Services Coordinator * Denise Fruge, Accounts Payable Administrator * Matt Gonzales, Database Administrator * Chasity Hopkins, Accounting Manager Ty Jones, Network Administrator Debbie Loper, Payroll Manager * M. Jane Orosco, Business Intelligence Manager * Denise Simon, Office Administrator *

PHILANTHROPY Kelly Finn, Director of Institutional Giving * Michelle Frankfort, Special Events Operations Manager Jonathan Guez, Philanthropy Officer Sarah Long, Associate Director of Philanthropy Catie Lovett, Donor Event Specialist Kelly Nicholls, Director of Individual Giving Allison Reeves, Associate Director of Special Events Brooke Rogers, Director of Special Events Madeline Sebastian, Philanthropy Officer


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OPERATIONS Megan Morgan, Covid Compliance Manager Christopher Staub, Operations Manager

COMMUNITY & LEARNING Sonia Hamer, Programs Coordinator Jeremy Johnson, Dramaturg & Manager of New Works and Community Engagement Chelsea Lerner, Programs Manager Karen Mata, Operations Manager Lisa Vickers, Bauer Family High School Voice Studio Manager

ARTISTIC/MUSIC Chris Abide, Rehearsal Coordinator Lyanne Alvarado, Artist Services Coordinator Richard S. Brown, Orchestra Personnel Manager * Emilia Covault, Music Administrator Joel Goodloe, Manager of Rehearsal Planning & Artist Services Carolyne Hall, Associate Manager of Rehearsal Planning & Artist Services Eun Sun Kim, Principal Guest Conductor Kirill Kuzmin, Head of Music Staff Mark C. Lear, Associate Artistic Administrator * Joshua Luty, Music Librarian Benjamin Manis, Resident Conductor Kevin J. Miller, Assistant Conductor Peter Pasztor, Principal Coach * Karen Reeves, Children’s Chorus Director * Madeleine Slettedahl, Assistant Conductor

HOUSTON GRAND OPERA STUDIO Jamie Gelfand, Studio Manager

TECHNICAL/PRODUCTION Philip Alfano, Lighting Associate * Brian August, Stage Manager Ciara Ayala, Assistant Stage Manager Bruno Baker, Assistant Director Katherine Carter, Assistant Director Audrey Chait, Assistant Director Michael James Clark, Head of Lighting & Production Media * Andrew Cloud, Properties Associate * Norma Cortez, Head of Costumes * Meg Edwards, Assistant Stage Manger Caitlin Farley, Assistant Stage Manager

Vince Ferraro, Master Electrician * Erik Friedman, Assistant Director Mark Grady, Assistant Electrician/Light Board Operator Bridget Green, Wig and Makeup Assistant Terry Harper, Technical Director Eduardo Hawkins, Head of Sound * Hannah Holthaus, Assistant Stage Manager John Howard, Head Carpenter Jennelle John-Lewis, Assistant Stage Manager Esmeralda De Leon, Costume Coordinator * Christopher Kittrell, Associate Technical Director Nara Lesser, Costume Production Assistant Judy Malone-Stein, Wardrobe Supervisor * Melissa McClung, Technical and Production Administrator Megan, Properties Design Director * Kristie Osi, Costume Coordinator Frances Rabalais, Assistant Director Colter Schoenfish, Assistant Director Stephen Sposito, Assistant Director Dotti Staker, Wig and Makeup Department Head * Myrna Vallejo, Costume Shop Supervisor * Sean Waldron, Head of Props Annie Wheeler, Stage Manager * *denotes 10 or more years of service



PLAN YOUR VISIT Houston Grand Opera offers a wealth of services to enhance your opera experience. Want to brush up on the opera before you attend? Need directions to the theater? This information and much more is available on our website where you can also purchase tickets and make a donation: HGO.org. HGO’s Customer Care Center is another great resource. For performance information, to purchase or exchange tickets, or to make a donation to HGO, contact the Customer Care Center at 713-228-6737. You can also email customercare@hgo. org. Throughout the season, the Center will be staffed Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During performance runs, the Center is open until 6 p.m., and on performance days, it is open until curtain time. The Center will be open on Saturdays and Sundays only when there is a performance, from noon until curtain. Hours are subject to change. You can purchase tickets and make exchanges in person at the HGO Box Office, located in the Wortham Theater Center at 550 Prairie. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If there is a performance on Saturday or Sunday, the Box Office will be open from noon until curtain. Hours are subject to change. BROWN AND CULLEN ALCOVES The Wortham Theater Center’s alcoves were designed with your comfort in mind. Step inside one of these golden-hued spaces in the Grand Foyer, and you’ll find a calm place to reflect on the evening’s performance over dinner or drinks.

EXCHANGING YOUR TICKETS Full-season and mini-package subscribers may exchange their tickets for a different performance of the same opera without fee, subject to availability. Exchanges can be made by phone until the performance begins. Non-subscription single tickets may be exchanged with a service fee of $10 per ticket. When exchanged for tickets of greater value, the customer will be responsible for the difference; no refunds will be made. No exchanges are permitted after the performance has begun. LOST OR MISPLACED TICKETS There is no charge for replacing lost ­tickets. Call the Customer Care Center at 713-228-6737 to request replacement tickets. They will be reprinted and held at the Will Call window for your performance. PATRONS WITH DISABILITIES The Wortham Theater Center features wheelchair access to both theaters with a choice of seating locations and ticket prices. An FM assistive listening device, generously provided by the Houston First Corporation, is available for use free of charge at all performances. Please call the ­Customer Care Center at 713-228-6737 for full details. Descriptive services for persons with vision loss are available with 48-hour advance reservations. Please call 713-980-8662 for details. FOOD AND BEVERAGE SERVICES Pre-order beverages for intermission at any of the lobby bars when you arrive at the theater. When you return at intermission, your beverages will be waiting for you.

level, please contact a member of HGO’s Philanthropy staff at 713-546-0704, or e-mail us at donorservices@hgo.org. If you have a state-issued disability permit and need valet parking, you may purchase special passes by contacting the Customer Care Center. Parking spots for disabled ticket holders are also available in the Theater District Garage on a first-come, first-served basis. Parking in the Theater District Parking Garage is $12 on weekends and after 5 p.m. on weekdays. Clearance for trucks and vans is 6’8”.

HEALTH & SAFETY It is wonderful to be back with you at the Wortham Theater Center. The safety of our audience, cast, creative team, union members, technicians, and staff remains our top priority. For performances during HGO’s spring repertoire, per guidance from the HGO Health Committee, local health officials, and the Centers for Disease Control, we encourage our audience members to wear masks in and outside the theater. Enhanced cleaning procedures remain in place throughout the building. The building has been equipped with additional hand sanitizing stations, upgraded air ventilation, and increased touchless amenities.

Full-season subscribers in the Founders Boxes, Premium Orchestra, and Loge Boxes may dine in the Founders Salon. Reservations are required, and meals must be ordered in advance. To take advantage of this subscriber-only benefit, Call Elegant Events and Catering by Michael at 713-533-9318. PARKING Valet parking is a benefit of membership for Patrons Circle donors; the valet station is located on Prairie Street. If you would like information about membership at this H G O. O R G








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DEC. 8–DEC. 18 / 22

JAN. 27–FEB. 10 / 23

APR. 28–MAY 12 / 23



JAN. 13–JAN. 28 / 23

APR. 21–MAY 5 / 23









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