The Flying Dutchman at Houston Grand Opera

Houston Grand Opera features Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman at the Wortham Theater in Houston, TX.  The Flying Dutchman is an unrequited love story where a once-renowned singer and her enamored fans share in an enduring last journey on the Amazonian boat, The Flying Dutchman.

Most memorable moments include superb singing and acting and a unique illusory journey down the Amazon. The riverboat possesses both a lifelike and ephemeral quality.  Technicolor river and nature images create the illusion of motion.

Recommendation: 4 Stars!  Very good!

Website: HoustonGrandOpera.org

 

It’s A Wonderful Life at Houston Grand Opera

its-a-wonderful-life-houston-grand-opera-dec-2016We recently attended a stellar performance of It’s A Wonderful Life at Houston Grand Opera.  Through the years, Jimmy Stewart’s portrayal of George Bailey in the black and white film of It’s a Wonderful Life has captivated audiences.  Seeing it as an opera is even more memorable.

The story shows the difference one man can make in the lives of many people in the small New York town of Bedford Falls. It is a favorite at this time of the year.  The opera opens with a scene in heaven with Clara, an apprentice angel, wanting to earn her wings.  After waiting 200 years, she gets her chance to return to earth and help George Bailey on Christmas Eve when he was considering ending his life.. The set and costumes of the Winged Angels, First Class were brilliant.  The wings moved and the angels also moved.  No question you were in heaven.   Clara comes to Bedford Falls and encounters George and many doorways which when opened depict periods in George’s life which showed how he had been instrumental in improving the lives of the people around him.  

Houston Grand Opera improved on the classic film, bringing the story to life with the world premier of the opera version by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer.  The music and the voices resonated through the Wortham with a highly-memorable performance. The orchestra directed by Patrick Summers, provided the perfect support for the voices of tenor, William Burden (George Bailey), and soprano, Andrea Carroll (Mary Hatch), George’s wife.  The blending of their voices gave a performance to remember and will keep us coming back for more.

We highly recommend it!  It is an opera you do not want to miss.  It’s A Wonderful Life runs through December 17, 2016.  Find more information and get tickets here.

Madame Butterfly with Houston Grand Opera

Houston Grand Opera gives a stunning performance of Madame Butterfly. Madame Butterfly is a heartrending tale of a forlorn Japanese wife whose carousing naval husband returns to the U.S. and marries another. Puccini’s score poignantly punctuates the story.
Cio-Cio-San is played by Ana Maria Martinez, who delivers a stunning performance. Many viewers have said this is the best rendition of Madame Butterfly they have ever seen.

Madame Butterfly plays at Houston Grand Opera from January 23-February 8, 2015. Visit www.houstongrandopera.org for more details.

Rating: 5-star Best!

Rigoletto – Houston Grand Opera

“Rigoletto” may have been an inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock with its twist ending. The evolving story of an elegant duke with his uncontrollable sexual appetite and the court jester with his beautiful sheltered and untouched daughter provides just the type of plot and ending that made Hitchcock famous one hundred and fifty years later.
What Hitchcock did with lights and cameras, the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi was able to present with music and theatrical effects without the benefit of modern technology.

“Rigoletto”, performed by Houston Grand Opera is opera at its finest. The intricate set and costumes, combined with the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra’s presentation of his music would have made Verdi very pleased to play in Houston. Soprano, Elizabeth Zharoff, appearing as Gilda, Rigoletto’s daughter, and bass-baritone Ryan McKinny, Rigoletto, sang together with a blending of voices that was exquisite.

The standing ovation at the end was proof that the entire performance was extremely pleasurable and one that should not be missed.

Rigoletto plays Jan. 24-Feb. 9th, 2014 at the Wortham Theater. For more information, visit www.houstongrandopera.org/rigoletto