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Houston Grand Opera Going Truly Grand

by Jerome Weeks 18 Sep 2012 9:47 AM

Its ambitious plans include several world premieres – and al fundraising goal of $165 million. Did we mention one premiere is an opera version of a Horton Foote play? Did we mention Dallas classical groups cutting back their schedules?


The Houston Chronicle calls it “the largest fundraising drive in the history of Houston performing arts.”

So take that, Dallas, and all your expensive new buildings with arts groups like the Dallas Symphony and the Dallas Opera that have cut back their schedules. These people are programming stuff, big stuff that’ll fill their halls. Stuff like:

World premieres of Ricky Ian Gordon’s “A Coffin in Egypt,” based on the Horton Foote play; Christopher Theofanidis’ “Siddahartha,” based on the Herman Hesse novel; and Carlisle Floyd’s “Kynaston,” based on the life of 17th-century English actor Edward Kynaston, one of the Restoration-era “boy players” who specialized in women’s roles….

The commissioning of holiday-themed operas based on such sources as “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Christmas Carol” and “The House Without a Christmas Tree,” in order to create “new traditions for Houston families” – and presumably, in hopes of developing the elusive operatic equivalent of those seasonal cash cows at ballet and theater companies, “The Nutcracker” and “Christmas Carol.”

As part of his artistic agenda for the next few years, Summers reiterated the already announced plans to produce all four operas of Richard Wagner’s “Ring” cycle in consecutive seasons beginning in 2014 and to continue creating new productions of the standard repertory favorites such “La Traviata” and “Carmen” that are every opera company’s bread and butter.