Press Releases 2012-2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OPERA IN THE HEIGHTS REVEALS PLANS FOR 2013-2014 SEASON

Houston, TX (March 15, 2013)

Opera in the Heights’ (Oh!) 2013-2014 season has been announced. Four of the most popular works in all of opera will come alive on the Oh! stage beginning this fall.

La Traviata: Giuseppe Verdi
Don Pasquale: Gaetano Donizetti
Don Giovanni: Wolfgang A. Mozart
Lucia di Lammermoor: Gaetano Donizetti

“A superb group of guest artists come to join our orchestra and chorus to render a fresh take on these four consummate jewels of the repertoire, opening with the last installment on our Verdi bicentennial celebration to be performed on the actual date of his birthday. Join us for this once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Artistic Director Enrique Carreón-Robledo.

A new performance schedule will go into effect this season featuring two Sunday matinees for each opera, one in each performance week. Every production will still have seven performances, but now the first weekend will be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday matinee; and the second week will be Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday matinee.

The season opens with Verdi’s La Traviata, a story of passionate love and heartbreaking sacrifice. Every nuance of emotion can be heard in the music. Look for age-appropriate singer/actors in these roles of the young Parisians pushing the boundaries of societal rules. Performances at 7:30 pm are October 4, 5, 10, 11, 12; October 6 and 13 are the 2:00 pm Sunday matinees.

In November Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti bounds to the stage in all its bluster. This over-the-hill dandy thinks because he is rich, he will be able to marry a young woman and be happy. This comedy is played out to some of Donizetti’s most high-spirited and tuneful music. Performance dates are November 15, 16, 21, 22, 23 at 7:30 pm; November 17 and 24 are the Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm.

Don Giovanni is the winter production. This selection is such a complete and perfect masterpiece of opera that it could only have sprung from Mozart’s creative genius. It has riches of unique arias, duets, trio, etc. – so many it can hardly be absorbed at a first performance. And the story has everything: tragedy, comedy, high drama and hi-jinks, servants and masters, and a gravitational force at its center, Don Giovanni himself. Performance dates are January 31, February 1, 6, 7, 8 at 7:30 pm; February 2 and 9 are the Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm.

The season closes with Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, an opera brimming with emotional intensity. The epitome of the bel canto opera, the tunes and flourishes are endless, and the circumstances of the story are full of dramatic ups and downs as well. The story is heartbreaking and the music takes you there. Lucia takes the stage on March 28, 29, April 3, 4, 5 for 7:30 pm performances; and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm are March 30 and April 6.

Ticket prices for the prime seating section of the house have not increased from last season. Regular season tickets are $96 – $187. Senior subscription prices are $82 – $160. Student subscriptions (ID required) are also available for any performance night in limited seating areas for $34.

Single tickets will go on sale August 1. The prices are $28 – $55, tickets for seniors are $24 – $47 any time, and student tickets are $10 any time in limited seating areas. To buy tickets, please visit www.operaintheheights.org or call 713-861-5303. Each evening performance starts at 7:30 p.m. and each matinee at 2:00 p.m. and all take place at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Boulevard in the Houston Heights.

Opera in the Heights is a professional opera company that exists to provide a stage for emerging performers and to bring affordable opera to the Greater Houston Area. All operas are fully staged with orchestra and presented in the original language with English translation projected above the stage.
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For additional information on performance dates, press material, or information on scheduling an interview, please contact:
Laurie Hewett
713-553-4420
laurienow@comcast.net
www.operaintheheights.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MACBETH OPENS THE NEW YEAR AT OPERA IN THE HEIGHTS

HOUSTON, TX (December 10, 2012)

Opera in the Heights (Oh!) presents Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth, January 31 through February 10, at Lambert Hall in the Houston Heights, in the third production of its Shakespearean-themed season.

As he returns from battle, Macbeth encounters three witches who prophesy his future. Mystified, he arrives at home where Lady Macbeth has received word that the King will stop for the night at their home that very evening. The ambitious Lady Macbeth begins plotting and encourages her husband to do whatever it takes to gain power. The bloodbath begins.

Verdi idolized Shakespeare; and his Macbeth is particularly suited to the operatic stage with its flawed hero, strong heroine, and plot full of gore, madness, and the supernatural. It has been one of the most popular of Verdi’s creations because of the riveting story, enhanced by Verdi’s artistry.

Artistic Director Enrique Carreón-Robledo designed the all-Shakespearean season. He prepares and conducts the orchestra and works closely with all the artists to bring full expression to this opera.

Oh! favorite, soprano Emily Newton, will portray Lady Macbeth along with debuting Rosa D’Imperio  in the opera’s alternating cast system. Macbeth will be sung by Gustavo Ahualli and Andrew Cummings.

Linda Keith McKnight returns to direct Macbeth after successfully directing Cosi fan tutte last season. C. Vincent Fuller is the chorus master, Rachel Smith is the set designer, Dena Scheh designs the costumes, and the stage lighting is done by Kevin Taylor.

On Wednesday, January 30, opera connoisseur and educator Ann Thompson will give an engaging presentation about Macbeth at 1517 Bracher Street at 7:30pm.  Admission is $5. The informed yet informal commentary will enrich your upcoming opera experience.

Performance dates are January 31, February 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, and 10 (matinee). Single ticket prices are $25-$55, senior tickets are $21-$47, and student tickets are $10 anytime in designated areas.

Opera in the Heights, a professional regional company, exists to provide a stage for emerging performers and bring affordable opera to the Greater Houston Area. All operas are fully staged with orchestra and presented in the original language with English surtitles projected above the stage.

Evening performances begin at 7:30 pm and the matinee at 2:00 pm at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. in the Houston Heights. For tickets, please visit www.operaintheheights.org or call 713-861-5303.

 

For additional information on performance dates, press material, or information on scheduling an interview, please contact:

Laurie Hewett
713-553-4420
pr@operaintheheights.org
www.operaintheheights.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE A MUSICAL LIFE IN OPERA IS OVER: MAESTRO WILLIAM WEIBEL

HOUSTON, TX (October 5, 2012)

William M. Weibel led a colorful life as an opera conductor culminating in a twelve-year tenure as Artistic Director at Opera in the Heights.  He passed away on October 1, 2012 after a long illness.

A native of Queens, New York, Bill was never in doubt about the avenue his future career would take. His talent and love for musical expression began at an early age.  He attended both the Juilliard School and Mannes College of Music in Manhattan where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in conducting and piano.  Upon graduation he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship from the US government for further study of opera and conducting in Italy. While there he acquired a wealth of valuable experience and knowledge as well as a beautiful young Italian model, Pasquina Scarpa, as his wife.

Bill’s professional life began at the Cincinnati Summer Opera which led to a job offer from the Metropolitan Opera. Maestro Weibel worked there on the musical staff of the world’s leading opera house for eleven years.  During these rich years, he served as assistant to Leonard Bernstein, Claudio Abbado, Sir Georg Solti, and many more.

He was Herbert von Karajan’s assistant for seven years at the Salzburg (Austria) Festival, and then Leonard Bernstein invited Maestro Weibel to serve as his assistant at the New York Philharmonic, and he did so for one year.

William M. Weibel coached and conducted some of the most illustrious singers of the 20th century including Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti (who was godfather to his two sons), and Renata Tebaldi. He conducted opera at international opera houses and in the United States.

In 1990 he moved his family to Sugar Land, which by this time included twin sons Walter and Louis.  After being retired briefly, he was lured back into the world of opera in 1998 by a small “start-up” opera company in the Houston Heights.  Opera in the Heights became Maestro Weibel’s new professional home; he shortly became its Artistic Director and held this position until 2010.

Longtime Opera in the Heights supporter James R. Bates said, “Bill took our small neighborhood opera and turned it into a world class regional opera company.  He brought us first class young talent by expanding our auditions to New York. He developed an orchestra designed to fit our venue.”

But his greatest passion and contribution was in the development of talented young singers. He mentored, coached, and encouraged them, and gave them the opportunity to sing lead roles at Opera in the Heights. The Facebook comments on his page today sum up his impact: Tenor T’au Pupu’a posted, “Thank you for my start, and for believing in me.” Soprano Lara Tillotson said, “I will always remember you, and every step I take down this path I will hear your voice telling me I can do it.”

 

For additional information or press material, or information on scheduling an interview, please contact:

Laurie Hewett
713-553-4420
pr@operaintheheights.org
www.operaintheheights.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ‘OTELLO’ WITH A TWIST OPENS OPERA IN THE HEIGHTS SEASON

HOUSTON, TX (September 23, 2012)

The Houston premiere of Rossini’s Otello opens at Opera in the Heights on Thursday, September 27 with quite a different twist on several fronts.

Stage Director Erica Miller points out that in contrast to Shakespeare’s play, “the plot is radically different and minimized, almost to the point of being unrecognizable.” She added that “at some points, the storyline resemblesRomeo and Juliet more than Othello.”

Noting that all the characters share the quality of being headstrong and quick to resort to violence, Ms. Miller decided to move the setting of the opera to the world of the mafia in Venice in 1985 when organized crime was thriving there. The stage action now focuses more on the relationships among the characters than the original historical plot.

Artistic Director Enrique Carreón-Robledo designed the all-Shakespearean season. He prepares and conducts the orchestra and works closely with all the artists to bring full expression to the opera.

Erica Miller will direct the stage action, C. Vincent Fuller prepares the chorus, Rachel Smith is the set designer, Dena Scheh designs the costumes, and the stage lighting is done by Kevin Taylor.

Performance dates are September 27, 28, 29, October 4, 5, 6, and 7 (matinee). Single ticket prices are $25-$55, senior tickets are $21-$47, and student tickets are $10 anytime in designated areas.

Opera in the Heights, a professional regional company, exists to provide a stage for emerging performers and bring affordable opera to the Greater Houston Area. All operas are fully staged with orchestra and presented in the original language with English surtitles projected above the stage.

Evening performances begin at 7:30 pm and the matinee at 2:00 pm at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. in the Houston Heights. For tickets, please visit www.operaintheheights.org or call 713-861-5303.

 

For additional information on performance dates, press material, or information on scheduling an interview, please contact:

Laurie Hewett
713-553-4420
pr@operaintheheights.org
www.operaintheheights.org