??

About Us

  • Share to Twitter
  • Share to Facebook
  • Send to friend

About Houston Grand Opera

Houston Grand Opera (HGO) is one of the largest, most innovative, and most highly acclaimed opera companies in the United States. HGO was the only American finalist for Opera Company of the Year at the 2017 International Opera Awards. In fulfilling its mission to advance the operatic art to serve an ever-evolving audience, HGO leads the field in commissioning new works (63 world premieres to date) and in training and nurturing promising young artists and administrators. The company contributes to the cultural enrichment of Houston and the nation through a diverse and innovative program of performances, community events, and education projects that reaches the widest possible public. HGO’s pioneering community engagement initiative, HGOco, has served as a model for other arts organizations.

The NEXUS Initiative is HGO’s multi-year ticket underwriting program that allows Houstonians of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy opera without the barrier of price. Since 2007, NEXUS has enabled more than 250,000 Houstonians to experience superlative opera through discounted single tickets and subscriptions, subsidized student performances, and free productions.

HGO has toured extensively and has won a Tony, two Grammy awards, and two Emmy awards. It is the only opera company to win all three honors. 

 

Mission, Vision & Values

The Vision and Mission of Houston Grand Opera

Houston Grand Opera’s vision is to inspire opera’s future. Our mission is to advance the operatic art to serve an ever-evolving audience. We will produce great operatic works that create and sustain a new American art form and fuse them with historical repertoire to inspire the next generations of opera lovers—both in our own community and globally through technology.

The Core Values of Houston Grand Opera

  • We believe opera has a vital role to play in the lives of an audience hungry for art, beauty, and meaning. Diversity is no longer just a poetic reference, but a joyous cultural reality the company fully embraces. HGO will honor the classic masterworks but also evolve the art form to serve future generations.
  • We believe our creative dreams for Houston Grand Opera are vital to the cultural pulse of this city and add immeasurably to the quality of life of its many communities. All cultures use words and music to tell their distinct stories, and we have the ability to use opera as a connector to join those communities.
  • HGO seeks to be a global leader in the evolution of the art form, by inspiring it, developing it, training people to deliver it, documenting it, and most importantly, composing it. We will identify and train the next generation of gifted artistic, creative and leadership talent who will create opera’s future.
 

History of HGO 

Houston Grand Opera (HGO), located in Houston, Texas, was founded in 1955 by German-born impresario Walter Herbert and Houstonians Elva Lobit, Edward Bing, and Charles Cockrell. HGO's inaugural season featured two performances of two operas, Salome(starring Brenda Lewis in the title role) and Madame Butterfly. David Gockley succeeded Walter Herbert as general director in 1972 and remained in the post until accepting the general directorship at San Francisco Opera in 2005. He began his tenure there in 2006.

Gockley was succeeded at Houston Grand Opera by Anthony Freud, previously the general director at Welsh National Opera. When Freud resigned his post at HGO in 2011 to take the general directorship of Lyric Opera of Chicago, he was succeeded by joint leaders Patrick Summers, who had been music director at HGO since 1998, and Perryn Leech, who joined the company in 2006 and became chief operating officer in 2010. Summers serves as artistic and music director and Leech serves as managing director. Oversight of the HGO Association is provided by a board of directors; a body of trustees also supports the organization.

The company now presents six to eight productions per season and has an operating budget of $27 million (2016–17 season). Houston Grand Opera performances are held in the Wortham Theater Center, a venue with two performance spaces: the Alice and George Brown Theater and the smaller Roy and Lillie Cullen Theater. Their combined capacity is more than 3,300.

Under Gockley’s leadership, the company began regularly commissioning and producing new works—almost exclusively from American composers—and the company continues to do so. HGO has also staged seven American premieres.

The Houston Grand Opera Studio, co-founded by Gockley and composer Carlisle Floyd in 1977, was one of the earliest comprehensive young artist training programs in the United States. It provides advanced training and professional opportunities to outstanding young artists, many of whom have gone on to establish international careers.

Through its HGOco initiative, begun during the tenure of Anthony Freud, HGO partners with educational and community organizations to provide a variety of artistic experiences to the greater Houston area and the Gulf Coast region.

Houston Grand Opera is supported by an active auxiliary organization, the Houston Grand Opera Guild, established in October 1955.

The company has received a Tony Award, two Grammy Awards, and two Emmy Awards—the only opera company in the world to win all three honors.

 

Awards

National MultiCultural Institute “Leading Lights” Award, 2009 for HGOco, Song of Houston

Emmy Awards
Hitting the High Cs, Marion Kessell and Rick Christie, 1998
Nixon in China, John Adams and Alice Goodman, 1987
 
Grammy Awards
Nixon in China, John Adams and Alice Goodman, 1987
Porgy and Bess, George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward, 1976
 
Tony Award
Porgy and Bess, George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward, 1976
 
Grand Prix du Disques
Porgy and Bess, George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward, 1976

 

Premieres

HGO World Premieres through the 2015-16 Season

63            Some Light Emerges, Laura Kaminsky and Mark Campbell/Kimberly Reed, 2017 (HGOco)

62              It's a Wonderful Life, Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer, December 2016 

61              After the Storm, David Hanlon and Stephanie Fleischmann, May 2016 (HGOco)

60              What Wings They Were: The Case of Emeline, John L. Cornelius II and Janine Joseph, April 2016 (HGOco)

59              Prince of Players, Carlisle Floyd, March 2016

58              The Puffed-Up Prima Donna, Mark Buller and Charles Anthony Silvestri, January 2016 (OTG)

57              O Columbia, Gregory Spears and Royce Vavrek, September 2015 (HGOco)

56              The Pastry Prince, Mark Buller and Charles Anthony Silvestri, 2015 (OTG) 

55              A Christmas Carol, Iain Bell and Simon Callow, 2014

54              River of Light, Jack Perla and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, 2014 (HGOco)

53              A Coffin in Egypt, Ricky Ian Gordon and Leonard Foglia, 2014

52              Bound, Huang Ruo and Bao-Long Chu, 2014 (HGOco)

51              Rapunzel, Mary Carol Warwick and Alvaro Saar Rios, 2014 (OTG)

50              The Memory Stone, Marty Regan and Kenny Fries, 2013 (HGOco)

49              Past the Checkpoints, David Hanlon and Joann Farías, 2013 (OTG)

48              From My Mother’s Mother, Jeeyoung Kim and Janine Joseph, 2012 (HGOco)

47              New Arrivals, John Glover and Catherine Filloux, 2012 (HGOco)

46              The Bricklayer, Gregory Spears and Farnoosh Moshiri, 2012 (HGOco)

45              The Clever Wife–a Chinese Folktale, Mary Carol Warwick and Hugh Behm-Steinberg, 2012 (OTG)

44              Pieces of 9/11, Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer, 2011 (HGOco)

43              Your Name Means the Sea, Franghiz Alizadeh, 2011 (HGOco)

42              Courtside, Jack Perla and Eugene Chan, 2011 (HGOco)

41              Cruzar la Cara de la Luna / To Cross the Face of the Moon, José “Pepe” Martinez and Leonard Foglia, 2010 (HGOco)

40              A Way Home, Ethan Frederick Greene and Irene Keliher, 2010 (HGOco)

39              Brief Encounter, André Previn and John Caird, 2009

38              Sleeping Beauty, Edward Charles Winkler, 2008 (OTG)

37              Last Acts (Three Decembers), Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer, 2008

36              The Refuge, Christopher Theofanidis and Leah Lax, 2007 (HGOco)

35              Send (who are you? I love you), Michael John LaChiusa, 2006

34              Strega Nona, Mary Carol Warwick and Mary Ann Pendino, 2006 (OTG)

33              Lysistrata, or the Nude Goddess, Mark Adamo, 2005

32              The Princess and the Pea, Mary Carol Warwick and Mary Ann Pendino, 2005 (OTG)

31              Salsipuedes, a tale of Love, War and Anchovies, Daniel Catán and Eliseo Alberto / Francisco Hinojosa, 2004

30              The End of the Affair, Jake Heggie and Heather McDonald, 2004

29              The Velveteen Rabbit, Mary Carol Warwick and Kate Pogue, 2004 (OTG)

28              The Little Prince, Rachel Portman and Nicholas Wright, 2003

27              Sibanda!, Michael Remson, 2003 (OTG)

26              The Emperor's New Clothes, Mary Carol Warwick and Kate Pogue, 2001 (OTG)

25              Cold Sassy Tree, Carlisle Floyd, 2000

24              Resurrection, Tod Machover and Laura Harrington with additional materials by Braham Murray, 1999

23              Little Women, Mark Adamo, 1998 (HGOS)

22              Cinderella in Spain/Cinderella en España, Mary Carol Warwick and Kate Pogue, 1998 (OTG)

21              Jackie O, Michael Daugherty and Wayne Koestenbaum, 1997 (HGOS)

20              Florencia en el Amazonas, Daniel Catán and Marcela Fuentes-Berain, 1996

19              The Tibetan Book of the Dead, a liberation through hearing, Ricky Ian Gordon and Jean-Claude van Itallie, 1996 (HGOS)

18              Puppy and the Big Guy, Sterling Tinsley and Kate Pogue, 1995 (OTG)

17              Harvey Milk, Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie, 1995

16              The Outcast (fully realized version), Noa Ain, 1994

15              The Dracula Diary, Robert Moran and James Skofield, 1994 (HGOS)

14              TEXAS!, Mary Carol Warwick and Kate Pogue, 1993 (OTG)

13              The Achilles Heel, Craig Bohmler and Mary Carol Warwick, 1993 (TOT)

12              Desert of Roses, Robert Moran and Michael John LaChiusa, 1992

11              ATLAS: an opera in three parts, Meredith Monk, 1991

10              The Passion of Jonathan Wade (new version), Carlisle Floyd, 1991

9                New Year, Sir Michael Tippett, 1989

8                Where's Dick?, Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie, 1989 (TOT)

7                The Making of the Representative for Planet 8, Philip Glass and Doris Lessing, 1988

6                Nixon in China, John Adams and Alice Goodman, 1987

5                A Quiet Place, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Wadsworth, 1983

4                Starbird, Henry Mollicone and Kate Pogue, 1980 (TOT)

3                Willie Stark, Carlisle Floyd, 1981

2                Bilby's Doll, Carlisle Floyd, 1976

1                The Seagull, Thomas Pasatieri and Kenward Elmslie, 1974

 

 

 

HGO American Premieres through the 2015-16 Season

7                The Passenger, Mieczyslaw Weinberg, 2014

6                Akhnaten, Philip Glass, 1984

5                La donna del lago (new critical edition), Gioacchino Rossini, 1981

4                The Panther, Philip Glass, 1981 (HGOS)

3                Robinson Crusoé, Jacques Offenbach, 1977 (TOT)

2                Rinaldo (stage premiere), George Frideric Handel, 1975

1                Hugh the Drover, Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1973

 

OTG = work was premiered by Opera to Go!

TOT = work was premiered by Texas Opera Theater, HGO's former touring company

HGOco=work was premiered by HGOco

HGOS = work was premiered by Houston Grand Opera Studio


 

 

 

Recordings

Audio Recordings

Gordon/Foglia: A Coffin in Egypt, Albany, 2014

Heggie/McNally: Dead Man Walking, EMI, 2012

Martinez/Foglia: Cruzar la Cara de la Luna/ To Cross the Face of the Moon, Albany, 2011

Previn/Caird: Brief Encounter, 2011

Heggie/Scheer: Three Decembers, Albany, 2009

Theofanidis/Lax: The Refuge, Albany, 2008

Floyd: Cold Sassy Tree, Albany, 2005

Floyd: Of Mice and Men, Albany, 2004

Catán/Fuentes-Berain: Florencia en el Amazonas, Albany, 2002

Machover/Harrington: Resurrection, Albany, 2002

Adamo: Little Women, Ondine, 2001

Daugherty/Koestenbaum: Jackie O, Argo/Decca, 1997

Sheng: Song of Majnun, Delos, 1997

Moran/Skofield: The Dracula Diary, Catalyst/BMG, 1994

Monk: ATLAS: an opera in three parts, ECM, 1992

Adams/Goodman: Nixon in China, Nonesuch, 1988

Joplin: Treemonisha, Deutsche Grammophon, 1982

Gershwin/Heyward: Porgy and Bess, RCA, 1976

 

Video Recordings

Adamo: Little Women, Naxos, DVD, 2010

Rossini: La Cenerentola, London/Decca,VHS and DVD, 1996

Joplin: Treemonisha, Kultur Video, VHS, 1982

 

 

 

 

Archives

In 1989, Houston Grand Opera established the Genevieve P. Demme Archives and Resource Center, named in honor of a longtime member of the board of trustees and historian of Houston Grand Opera Association. The facility preserves valuable materials from the company's history. The archive houses 3,500 linear feet of institutional records including programs, artists files, production records, audio and video recordings, financial records, and photographic images in a wide range of formats.

Houston Grand Opera Archives and Resource Center is an organizational archive. Public research is by appointment only. Some record series are restricted. For research requests or questions pertaining to Houston Grand Opera history, contact Archive Director Brian Mitchell at 713-228-0238 or bmitchell@hgo.org.