Press Room

HGO’s 2012-13 line-up highlighted by new commissions

Houston Grand Opera – the only opera company to have won a Tony, two Grammys, and two Emmys – enhances its impressive 2012-13 line-up with three productions from its Song of Houston project, winner of the National MultiCultural Institute’s 2009 Leading Lights Diversity Award. Thanks to this ongoing initiative, through which the company commissions works that celebrate Houston in all its cultural diversity, the upcoming season boasts the world premieres of two new commissions exploring the city’s Korean and Japanese communities in the “East + West” series – plus the return, by popular demand, of José “Pepe” Martínez’s Cruzar la cara de la luna (“To Cross the Face of the Moon”). Commissioned in 2010 for Song of Houston, Cruzar, the world’s first mariachi opera, proved to be “a multicultural winner” that “succeeded on all fronts” (, and it opened the fall 2011 season at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.
The revival of Cruzar la cara de la luna opens on HGO’s main stage on March 22, 2013, starring baritone Octavio Moreno, an HGO Studio alumnus who represented Mexico in the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. With a libretto by acclaimed writer-director Leonard Foglia, whose credits include directing HGO’s world premiere of Jake Heggie’s opera Three Decembers, “Cruzar tells a story that speaks to anyone who has roots in a place other than that which they now call home,” explains HGO Managing Director, Perryn Leech. He continues, “It is a fantastically moving, dramatic account of three generations of a family dealing with the impact of immigration. As such, it is the perfect story for so many, not only in Houston but throughout the US and around the world.”
The first of two new Song of Houston “East + West” commissions celebrates Houston’s Korean community. Composed by Jeeyoung Kim – whose numerous honors include National Endowment for the Arts, ASCAP, and Meet the Composer awards – to a libretto by the University of Houston’s Jane Koh, the new work will premiere during the city’s Korean Festival on November 3. The second new “East + West” commission is a Japanese opera, due to premiere in April 2013. This work will be Houston Grand Opera’s 50th world premiere commission. Details will follow shortly.
Houston Grand Opera’s legacy of commissioning and premiering new works goes back more than 40 years, and includes commissions from John Adams, Philip Glass, Daniel Catán, André Previn, Carlisle Floyd, Mark Adamo, Jake Heggie, and Christopher Theofanidis, among others. In upcoming seasons, the company expects to commission more works on varying scales, from chamber operas to grand operas, as well as presenting the American premiere of a “lost” opera by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, The Passenger, in 2014. “Commissioning and presenting new work is the life’s blood of a 21st-century opera company,” said the company’s Artistic and Music Director, Patrick Summers. “It is an investment in the future of our art form, in the artists who will carry our legacy with their voices into the next century, and in the audiences of tomorrow.”
In addition to Cruzar, there are six further productions – four of them new – that will appear on HGO’s main stage in the 2012-13 season. The first of these is Puccini’s La bohème, which launches the season in a new staging by award-winning British director John Caird. To honor 2013’s joint bicentennials of Wagner and Verdi, the coming season juxtaposes Tristan und Isolde, starring Ben Heppner and Nina Stemme – both in HGO debuts – in a new contemporary staging by Christof Loy, with a revival of Steven Lawless’s unforgettable take on Il trovatore. British conductor Trevor Pinnock leads a strong international cast in Mozart’s ensemble masterpiece, Don Giovanni, while Francesca Zambello’s new production of Kern and Hammerstein’s Show Boat brings together stars of Broadway and the opera house in a celebration of America’s own contribution to the art. For a more intimate experience, Daniela Barcellona and Lawrence Brownlee star in Rossini’s dramma giocoso The Italian Girl in Algiers.
For full details of Houston Grand Opera’s 2012-13 season, click here. Additional information is also provided below.
Houston Grand Opera: 2012-13 season 
La bohème (new production)
Oct 19 – Nov 10, 2012
Rodolfo: Dimitri Pittas
Mimi: Katie Van Kooten
Marcello: Joshua Hopkins
Musetta: Heidi Stober
Colline: Vuyani Mlinde
Schaunard: Michael Sumuel
Conductor: Evan Rogister
Director: John Caird
Set and costume designer: David Farley
Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Chorus / Richard Bado, Chorus Master
The Italian Girl in Algiers (new production)
Oct 26 – Nov 11, 2012
Isabella: Daniela Barcellona
Lindoro: Lawrence Brownlee
Mustafa: Patrick Carfizzi
Taddeo: Daniel Belcher
Haly: Robert Pomakov
Conductor: Carlo Rizzi
Director: Joan Font
Set and costume designer: Joan Guillén
Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Chorus / Richard Bado, Chorus Master
A co-production with Teatro Real, Madrid; Maggio Musicale, Florence; and Opera National Bordeaux
Song of Houston – East + West: Korean opera
Nov 3, 2012
Show Boat (new production)
Jan 18 – Feb 9, 2013
Magnolia Hawkes: Sasha Cooke
Gaylord Ravenal: Joseph Kaiser
Julie La Verne: Melody Moore
Joe: Morris Robinson
Queenie: Marietta Simpson
Parthy Hawkes: Cheryl Parrish
Director: Francesca Zambello
Set Designer: Peter Davison
Costume Designer: Paul Tazewell
Don Giovanni
Jan 25 – Feb 10, 2013
Don Giovanni: Adrian Eröd
Leporello: Kyle Ketelsen
Donna Anna: Rachel Willis-Sorensen
Donna Elvira: Veronika Dzhioeva
Don Ottavio: Joel Prieto
Zerlina: Malin Christensson
Masetto: Michael Sumuel
The Commendatore: Morris Robinson
Conductor: Trevor Pinnock
Director: Harry Silverstein
Set and costume designer: Carl Friedrich Oberle
Cruzar la cara de la luna (“To Cross the Face of the Moon”)
March 22–24, 2013
Laurentino: Octavio Moreno
Renata: Cecilia Duarte
Diana: Brittany Wheeler
Lupita: Vanessa Cerda-Alonzo
Mark: TBA
Rafael: TBA
Chucho: TBA
Music Director: David Hanlon
Director: Leonard Foglia
Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán
Tristan and Isolde (new production)
April 18 – May 5, 2013
Isolde: Nina Stemme
Tristan: Ben Heppner
Brangäne: Claudia Mahnke
Kurwenal: Ryan McKinny
King Marke: Christof Fischesser
Melot: Roger Honeywell
Conductor: Patrick Summers
Director: Christof Loy
Set and costume designer: Johannes Leiacker
Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Chorus / Richard Bado, Chorus Master
Il trovatore
April 26 – May 11, 2013
Leonora: Tamara Wilson
Manrico: Marco Berti
Azucena: Dolora Zajick
Count di Luna: Tómas Tómasson
Ferrando: Vuyani Mlinde
Conductor: Patrick Summers
Director: Steven Lawless
Set designer: Benoit Dugardyn
Costume designer: Martin Pakledinaz
Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Chorus / Richard Bado, Chorus Master
Production co-owned by Los Angeles Opera and Washington National Opera
Song of Houston – East + West: Japanese opera
Dates and Location TBA, April 2013
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Media contacts:
Houston Grand Opera:
Claire Vince, senior publicist, [email protected], 713-546-0278 / 832-738-2611
21C Media Group:
Glenn Petry, [email protected], (212) 625-2038
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