Opera in the Heights

Opera in the Heights Events Announced

Houston, TX (January 26, 2016) - Opera in the Heights (Oh!) offers something for everyone surrounding the third production of its 20th anniversary season, Rossini’s La Cenerentola. Whether you’re a child, a young professional or a seasoned opera-goer, you can participate in one of Oh!’s exciting activities tying in with the beloved opera.

This highly entertaining and hilarious comedy, directed by David Ward, is perfect for children of all ages, and parents are encouraged to bring children and teens.  As an added treat, any children who attend wearing princess dresses/costumes for La Cenerentola can have their photographs taken after the performance with Oh!’s lead, Megan Berti, who portrays Cenerentola (The One in Cinders.) Many people will remember Berti from Oh!’s 2014 production of Hänsel und Gretel, where she sang the role of Hänsel.

After Oh!’s 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 7, audience members are encouraged to participate in the popular “Sunday Talk Back” series at Lambert Hall with Principal Conductor Eiki Isomura, the artistic staff and cast members. “You never know what the cast and conductor will offer up about their experiences putting the show together or what creative questions patrons will ask,” says Mariam Khalili, Executive Director. “It makes for a truly dynamic exchange of idea. Plus, everyone likes to meet the stars of the show!"

Opera in the Heights’ third special event is the Young Opera Lovers Organization (YOLO) Happy Hour for young professionals after the show on Feb. 11. (Location details will be on the website soon.) The YOLO group has taken off and exposed many people in their 20s and 30s to great opera at Lambert Hall. To participate in the Happy Hour and to take advantage of other networking activities by joining YOLO, visit operaintheheights.org, and check out the YOLO portion of the website.

La Cenerentola promises to be a late-winter treat. "Oh! has once again assembled some of the finest emerging artists in the country to bring this wonderful work to life,” says Isomura. “Our dynamic cast is sure to dazzle with its vocal pyrotechnics. Rossini's score is like musical caffeine; it pumps through your veins and lifts you up."

Performance dates are Feb. 5, 11 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale online now at operaintheheights.org. Single tickets prices are $35 - $67 for regular tickets, $32 - $58 for seniors and $15 - $17 for student tickets in limited seating areas. Parents of children 16 and under can purchase premier seats with a special ticket price just for kids during checkout.

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 (where applicable) projected above the stage.

Photo: Megan Berti (right) is seen here as Hänsel in Oh!’s Hänsel und Gretel in 2014. (Allison Pohl is Gretel.) Berti sings the role of Cenerentola in Rossini’s La Cenerentola at Opera in the Heights Feb. 5 – 13.  Photo by Deji Osinulu Photography.

For additional information on performance dates, press material, or information on scheduling an interview, please contact: Carol Brejot, 713-503-3885pr@operaintheheights.org

For full article, click HERE.

Opera In The Heights Presents La Cenerentola, Rossini's Take On The Classic, Cinderella

Houston, TX (January 11, 2016) - Opera in the Heights (Oh!) presents Gioachino Rossini’s La Cenerentola as the third offering of its 20th anniversary season, providing a unique take on the classic fairy tale, Cinderella. This opera, considered to be one of Rossini’s greatest achievements, will be enjoyed by adults and children alike.

Rossini composed La Cenerentola when he was only 25, following the success of The Barber of Seville the previous year. In this decidedly "un-Disney" version, instead of magic and pumpkin carriages, there are plenty of clever ruses and acts of kindness that lead to our heroine's happy ending. You also have a stepfather instead of a stepmother, a philosopher in place of a fairy godmother and a bracelet in lieu of a glass slipper – and stepsisters.

In the story line, the prince is wise enough to switch identities with his servant as they search for the beautiful girl who came to the ball. This way he can observe who has real character and who is sadly lacking. Audiences will find plenty of humor in La Cenerentola showing us that pretentiousness is silly, and those who are pure of heart will ultimately find each other.

"Oh! has once again assembled some of the finest emerging artists in the country to bring this wonderful work to life,” says Eiki Isomura, Principal Conductor. “Our dynamic cast is sure to dazzle with its vocal pyrotechnics. Rossini's score is like musical caffeine; it pumps through your veins and lifts you up."

"La Cenerentola is the Cinderella story that I wish we all could have grown up with, one in which humility and kindness, rather than magic and beauty, triumph above all,” Isomura continues. “With comedic genius David Ward returning to Oh! as stage director, audiences can look forward to a hilarious and heartwarming production."

Performance dates are Feb. 5, 11 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale online now at operaintheheights.org. Single tickets prices are $35 - $67 for regular tickets, $32 - $58 for seniors and $15 - $17 for student tickets in limited seating areas. Parents of children 16 and under can purchase premier seats with a special ticket price just for kids during checkout. All performances take place at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Boulevard.

The 20th season closes with Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, which is based on the myth of Orpheus, a legendary ancient Greek hero endowed with superhuman musical abilities, and his love, Eurydice. The opera takes to the stage on Apr. 8, 14 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and on Apr. 10 at 2 p.m.

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 (where applicable) projected above the stage.

Photo: Principal Conductor Eiki Isomura conducts the orchestra for La tragedie de Carmen. Photo credit: Mariam Khalili.

- See more at: http://fatcatwebproductions.com/ThePaper_2014/md-thenews/content/opera-heights-presents-la-cenerentola-rossinis-take-classic-cinderella#sthash.Frx2FSJo.dpuf

BWW Blog: Mezzo-Soprano Claudia Chapa Talks OHs THE MEDIUM

Mezzo-soprano Claudia Chapa is Madam Flora
in Opera in the Heights' THE MEDIUM.
Chapa previously appeared at OH! in FALSTAFF
and HANSEL UND GRETEL.

THE MEDIUM and THE TELEPHONE, two mid-twentieth century compositions by Gian Carlo Menotti, make the perfect double act at Opera in the Heights. THE MEDIUM concerns a spooky, alcohol drenched, sham of a séance and THE TELEPHONE-a love affair hampered by technology.

Claudia Chapa, the mezzo-soprano who puts The Medium in THE MEDIUM talks about weathering the storm, literally, and embracing the much deserved rainbow that follows.


Becoming Madam Flora

When Opera in the Heights offered me the title role in THE MEDIUM, I jumped at the opportunity. I've worked with OH! in the past (Dame Quickly in FALSTAFF, The Witch in HANSEL UND GRETEL), so I was excited to perform this complex character in such an intimate setting.

A one sentence synopsis of THE MEDIUM: Madam Flora (or "Baba") is a charlatan who poses as a medium to make THAT MONEY and in one of her "séances" things get real and she loses it. Of course, the characters and storyline are more complex than that, but that's basically the story.

The rehearsal process has been intense for me, Madam Flora/Baba has so much hurt, anger, and pain. Lynda Keith McKnight, our stage director, encouraged us to be genuine on stage. And I'm not going to lie, while Menotti wrote a wicked opera, it was musically hard to learn. But Maestro Eiki Isomura is fantastic to work with. He is very attentive and shepherded us when needed. This role has challenged me musically and emotionally. I love it.

Stormy Weather

I want to start this section with this: Our final dress rehearsal went amazingly! But our previous dress rehearsal was a real mess. Everything that could go wrong did! Side note: Our creative/production team is AWESOME! They are scrappy, they make it happen (even when it seems impossible). Go team!

A big storm swung through by Houston and affecting the lighting system, so our lighting designer dealt with that. THANKS, PATRICIA! Props were breaking, costumes were not fully finished, there was a scheduling conflict causing one of our cast members to leave early. Yet all of these issues highlight how much opera is a team effort. The singers are just the tip of the iceberg. We learned from that dress rehearsal and looked forward to our final orchestra dress.

Sun in the Sky

The energy for our final dress was steady. Everyone had their game faces on and we were ready to create some compelling stage magic. The show goes smoothly!

Once our final dress was done, I felt the energy to be both relaxed and excited! Relaxed because all of the major malfunctions in previous rehearsals had been worked out, and excited because we did it! We have put together a show that makes us proud and we can't wait to perform for y'all! WOOT!

Remaining performances of THE MEDIUM AND THE TELEPHONE are Nov. 5 and 7 at 7:30 pm. For more information, visit www.operaintheheights.org/the-medium-the-telephone.

For more information on Claudia Chapa, visit www.claudiachapa.com.

 

For full post, click HERE.

Oh! Spooktacular Weekend!

Houston, TX (October 22, 2015) – If you’re wanting to spice up your Halloween weekend with some culture, look no further than Opera in the Heights (Oh!) with its presentation of the spooky and eerie show The Medium and the light comedy The Telephone in a Menotti double bill Oct. 30 and Nov 1. Not only that, new opera-goers can receive an online discount of 30 percent off for that weekend upon checkout, with the promo code SPOOKYNEWBIE.  

In The Medium, Madame Flora holds a séance and invites her guests’ dear departed children to speak to them, which they do. It’s all a sham, but when threatening, un-staged events occur, the medium becomes afraid and suspects those around her. Add too much alcohol to this situation and in true operatic fashion, someone has to die before the curtain falls.

With modern day implications, The Telephone proves that technology can be a distraction where matters of the heart are concerned. Ask anyone whose significant other’s attention is continually on her smartphone, and not on him. In The Telephone, Ben can’t connect with Lucy until he wisely uses the technology she favors.

The operas kick off on Oct. 30, with four shows running for two weekends. Times are 7:30 p.m. for Oct. 30, Nov. 5 and Nov. 7, while the Nov. 1 matinee is at 2 p.m.

For extra fun, patrons can enter a costume contest Oct. 30 in the spirit of Halloween. According to Oh! Executive Director Mariam Khalili, those who wish to participate must have a photo taken in the photo booth between 6:30 p.m. and 7:10 p.m. 

Judging will take place during the first half of the performance, with the winners announced during intermission. Categories include best opera-related costume and best in show. Khalili notes that judges include mosaic artist Chris Silkwood and Oh! board member, Realtor® and Heights resident Marianne Terrell, along with a special guest judge. 

“We also have a milestone with this double bill, as this is the first time Opera in the Heights has presented operas sung in English,” says Khalili. “If you are intimidated by or shy away from opera sung in German or Italian, this is an opportunity to view a more accessible production.”

Single tickets prices are $35 - $67 for regular tickets, $32 - $58 for seniors and $15 - $17 for student tickets in limited seating areas. To buy tickets or to become a subscriber, please visit operaintheheights.org or call 713-861-5303. Go to operaintheheights.org and the box office tab to access the discount coupon.

Opera in the Heights is a professional regional 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 (where applicable) projected above the stage.

Full Article, HERE

I PAGLIACCI SOARS IN THE LAST 20 MINUTES AT OPERA IN THE HEIGHTS

September 21, 2015
By D. L. Groover

Dash Waterbury as Beppe; James Rodriguez as Tonio.  Photo by Deji Osinulu Photography

Dash Waterbury as Beppe; James Rodriguez as Tonio.

Photo by Deji Osinulu Photography

The set-up:
In a snit with his music publisher Ricordi, who was pushing young Puccini, Italian composer Ruggero Leoncavallo, who thought his first opera had languished because of indifference, signed up with rival publisher Sonzogno. He had an opera ready to go, a heady melodrama about infidelity within a traveling theater troupe. I Pagliacci (The Clowns) struck opera gold. Conducted at the 1892 world premiere by soon-to-be legendary firebrand Arturo Toscanini, and sung by a four-star quartet of singers (including Victor Maurel, the French baritone superstar who created the role of Iago in Verdi'sOtello and would soon debut in his Falstaff), Leoncavallo's verismo opera about sex, jealousy, and revenge was a thunderous success. The music world ate it up. It was the last time, however, that one of Leoncavallo's works would ever catch fire. But if you're destined to write one of the most enduring operas in history, Pagliacci is the one to pen.

The execution:
It is concise, utterly dramatic, and totally believable. Full of heat and rushing melody, it never stops. The opera's as theatrical as its setting. The work has entered the world's consciousness with its motif of “laugh, clown, laugh;” the old showbiz chestnut that the show must go on, no matter how much your heart is breaking. Leoncavallo runs with this idea, setting his original libretto (his own, by the way) in a bedraggled commedia dell'arte company touring the Italian provinces. Colorfully designed by Torsten Lewis – those antique circus posters are definitely eye-catching – with costumes by L.A. Clevenson, the production is set in Victorian England, although you wouldn't know if you hadn't read the program. Why England instead of southern Italy is anyone's guess, but Pagliacci would work even if were set on the moon.

Canio (tenor James Chamberlain), who plays Pagliaccio in the “show within the show,” runs the business. He's insanely suspicious of wife Nedda (soprano Donata Cucinotta), who plays Columbina in the troupe. Canio had rescued Nedda as a “young orphan” from the Italian mean streets. He thinks he has saved her. Not exactly virtuous, Nedda yearns to be free. She already has a lover, local Silvio (baritone Jeremiah Johnson), but company member Tonio (tenor James Rodriguez), ugly and hunchbacked who plays the troupe's comic fool, lusts after her, too. The company's other member, Beppe (tenor Dashiell Waterbury), tries to stay out of everyone's way. When Tonio makes his move on Nedda, she spurns him, laughing and mocking him. He vows revenge for this humiliation, and when he spies her tryst with Silvio, he runs to tell Canio.

In one of opera's most famous tenor arias, “Vesti la giubba” Canio puts on his costume and makeup while his heart aches. The troupe performs for the small town. Ironically, the play mirrors the actors' real life, as Columbina cuckolds Pagliaccio. The audience has a merry time until Canio breaks the fourth wall, accusing Nedda of being unfaithful. Is this part of the play? they wonder, it's so real. Canio demands Nedda reveal her lover's name. She refuses. He loves her; he can't understand why she would betray him. She's adamant. No name. Furious, he stabs her. When Silvio runs to help, Canio stabs him, too. Quick as a flash, with a wicked laugh, Canio announces, “The comedy is over.” Blackout.

Lean and taut with no extra filler whatever, Leoncavallo's two-acter gallops like a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper account of some sensational murder. It's melodrama in all capital letters – Love, Lust, Revenge, Murder! Leoncavallo has a felicitous way with melody that he would never display again, and Pagliacci is filled with exquisite songs and orchestral effects that nemesis Puccini would finally rival.

Each of the five principals gets to shine. Tonio has the “Prologue,” a beguiling intro to the opera, both bounding and thoughtful as he warns us not to confuse acting with real life. Watching the birds fly overhead, Nedda envies their freedom in “Stridono lassu,” a rapturous paean whose vocal line soars ever higher. Canio, of course, gets his showstopping “Vesti” and another winner in Act II, his cantabile “No, Pagliaccio non son” (“No, I'm not a clown”), when he confronts his faithless wife. Lover Silvio has a gorgeous duet with Nedda, “Tutto scordiam”(“Forget everything”), a Tristanesque moment of bliss; while Beppe sings a melodious old-fashioned serenade in Act II's play within the play.

This is all gangbusters. So why is Opera in the Heights' opening production of its 20th season (!) truly alive only in the last half-hour? No one warms up until midway through the work, and by then we've lost a lot of interest. Rodriguez grumbles through the Prologue, Cucinotta's big set piece about freedom is choppy, Chamberlain blusters and bellows, Johnson looks terribly uncomfortable, and only Waterbury knows what he's doing. Did director Susan Stone Li phone in her notes? Maestro Eiki Isomura doesn't help, overlaying Act I with sleepy tempi and some missed communication between pit and singers. And those strings need extra rehearsal time. Even OH's chorus, known for its plangent communal blend, sounds ragged and miscued.

But then something magical happens. Maybe it's Leoncavallo's Midas touch; maybe the singers passed through opening night jitters; maybe the drama took hold and shook them awake, but suddenly Pagliacci came alive. The singers relaxed (or their throats did), maestro Isomura got a B12 shot, and the drama took off. What had been clunky staging turned natural; the play within the play actually was funny; and the underlying tension which had been missing in action came to the fore. The final twenty minutes were harrowing, edge-of-your-seat excitement, just what Leoncavallo had in mind.

What had been bluster from Chamberlain – my, he can sing loud! – worked in his favor when he toned it down. His wrenching final aria to Nedda was heartbreakingly tender; his gruff stage presence paying off handsomely as the big lug begs her to reconsider. Cucinotta's fiery soprano opened up with a blistering top, square on, raising goosebumps in the best possible way. To top it off, she's the only soprano I know who can do a split, cartwheel, and headstand! Brava for that!

The verdict:
Leoncavallo wrote a one-off with Pagliacci. But what a one-off. This late 19th-century work certainly isn't subtle, but it connects with audiences in a visceral way. Unique in the repertoire, Pagliacci punches without apology. It seems to floor Opera in the Heights until our venerable little brother of an opera company fights back. Once OH meets Leoncavallo on his own terms, it scores a knockout.

I Pagliacci. September 20, 24, 26. Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Boulevard. Purchase tickets online at operaintheheights.org or call 713-861-5303. $13-$63.

For Full Article, click HERE.

Opera in the Heights kicks off 20th season

Sept. 11, 2015
By Colin Eatock

After two decades of bringing intrigue, passion and murder to a normally quiet neighborhood, Houston's Opera in the Heights is in a festive mood.

The plucky little opera company opens its 20th season with Ruggero Leoncavallo's "I Pagliacci," on Friday at Lambert Hall.

Tenor James Chamberlain leads the cast as the jealous Canio, opposite soprano Donata Cucinotta as Canio's wife, Nedda. Eiki Isomura conducts, and staging is by Susan Stone Li.

The company has remained loyal to its core artistic mission for 20 years, said Keith Chapman, the company's director of artistic administration.

"Opera in the Heights was created by three local people," he said, "Lois Alba, Bettye Gardner and John Jennings. They started the company so they could give opportunities to young singers to perform on stage. Today, our mission is still exactly the same."

Almost from the beginning, the company has staged operas in their original languages, with costumes, scenery and even a small orchestra. Despite the company's modest budget - less than $1 million for the whole season - it operates on a professional basis, and all artists are paid for their performances.

Chapman - who has been involved with Opera in the Heights since the early days - takes pride in the many young singers who have sung leading roles. Many have been local, but the company also casts a wide net, with national auditions every year in New York.

"We've had singers go on to the Metropolitan Opera, to the San Francisco Opera and to La Scala," Chapman said. "That's one of our greatest achievements. These singers got a chance to start performing with Opera in the Heights."

The company has also remained loyal to its home - Lambert Hall, on Heights Boulevard. The company re-purposed the 1927 brick edifice, originally built as a church, as a small opera house, with seating for 300 people.

"It was John Jennings who discovered this little gem," Chapman said. "He suggested we could turn it into a small, European-style opera house. It's a beautiful old space. It's all plaster and has wonderful surfaces that make the sound bounce around. Singers love to sing in there."

Not even a fire in the hall - set by an arsonist - in 1996 could put a stop to the fledgling company's determination. A quick response from the Houston Fire Department saved the building, and the company raised funds to repair the damage.

Yet even as it celebrates 20 years, Opera in the Heights is re-thinking its artistic priorities, and is deliberately stretching its own comfort zone. The 2015-16 season runs a gamut of styles - from the 20th-century Italian-American composer Gian Carlo Menotti to the pre-classical poise of the German Christoph Wilibald Gluck.

Chapman said the upcoming season is an experience because the company will be presenting 20th-century operas. "Menotti's 'The Medium' and 'The Telephone,' written in the 1940s, are the most modern operas we've done. And we're also reaching back to 1762 for Gluck's 'Orfeo ed Euridyce.'"

"La Cenerentola" - Gioacchino Rossini's operatic version of the Cinderella story - rounds out the season.

At the same time, the company has decided that small is beautiful and has turned to operas that are modest in scale. This shift in direction was made when the company's former artistic director, Enrique Carréon Robledo, left halfway through last season.

The company currently has no artistic director. Rather, it's run by a four-member artistic advisory board.

Conductor Isomura, who will be leading all the productions this season, is on the board. He explains the company's shift in artistic priorities.

"In the past," he said, "Opera in the Heights didn't do enough to distinguish itself from the big show in town - the Houston Grand Opera. So we wanted to focus on works that would allow us to do what only we can do - productions that take advantage of the intimate atmosphere of Lambert Hall."

In Isomura's opinion, "I Pagliacci" - with its small cast and condensed two-act format - is a fine example of the kind of opera that the company does best.

"We knew we wanted to do 'Pagliacci,' he said, "because it's a play within a play. We thought it would be a very special experience for our audience. We've set up the stage in such a way that the audience will really feel part of it."

"And," he adds, "the cast is superb. Rehearsals began two weeks ago - and I think people will be blown away by our singers."

 

For Full Article, click HERE.

Opera in the Heights kicks off 20th season a month early

by Martin Hajovsky

While Opera in the Heights‘ 20th anniversary season is still a month away, this Saturday you can get a sneak peek of what’s on offer.

Opera in the Heights will feature at Silver Street Studios’ First Saturday event Aug. 8.

OH will kick off the year at Silver Street Studios’ “Second Saturday” at 2000 Edwards, this Saturday, Aug. 8 from 2-5 p.m. Opera in the Heights will share the space with Foto Fest International and its exhibit I Am A Camera, along with open studios for the artists housed at Silver Street.

Filling the schedule will be:

  • Two micro opera performances by Opera in the Heights singers (This will make the entire day for me.)
  • Ice cream truck Chocolate Wasted, and Wokker Texas Ranger, Asian/Texan fusion cuisine truck. (Wait, wait. I get food too?)
  • Karbach Brewing Co. will be on hand with complimentary beverages (Now my cup, it doth runneth over, though not by much as I would never waste Karbach beer that way.)
  • The company is also launching its new YOLO group, which stands for Young Opera Lovers Organization. For more on that, check out the video below.
  • The costume work and set designs by Opera in the Heights designers will be on display.
  • And more! (Because there’s always more.)

That’s a full Saturday right there. But to learn more, and to buy tickets for the 20th season, check out the niftily redesigned operaintheheights.org.

As I’ve written many times before, Opera in the Heights is one of those unique elements that helps to make the Heights what it is, which is for my money (Hello HCAD!) simply the best neighborhood in my city, and as a fifth-generation Houstonian and father to two sixth-gen-ers, I get to say that! Hope to see you out at Silver Street Saturday.

For FULL ARTICLE click HERE

Chronicle critics offer some entertainment options

Wednesday, August 5

Open Studios: Check out works by more than 200 artists, jewelry designers and other creative types during the monthly Second Saturday open studio event in the Washington Avenue Arts District. Follow your ears as well as your eyes: Opera in the Heights, celebrating its 20th anniversary, will give pop-up performances at Flashback Film's space (#105) in the Silver Street Studios building, where you can also catch FotoFest's "I Am a Camera" exhibition. 2-5 p.m. Saturday at 2000 Edwards, 2010 Winter, 1502 Sawyer and 1824 Spring; artsdistricthouston.com. FREE

Molly Glentzer

 

For FULL ARTICLE click HERE

Opera in the Heights Announces Single Ticket Sales for 2015-16 Season

Houston, TX (June 29, 2015) – Opera in the Heights (OH!) announces that single tickets will go on sale Aug. 1 for the 2015-2016 season, which also celebrates the organization’s 20th anniversary. The company presents an inspired selection of works which should appeal to diverse operatic tastes.

The season includes Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, a double-bill of Menotti’s The Medium and The Telephone, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, and Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. All will be conducted by Maestro Eiki Isomura.

Opera in the Heights Conductor Eiki Isomura

“The repertoire OH! has selected for its 20th anniversary season reads like a celebration of opera itself,” says Isomura. “Each piece represents an essential development in the history of the art form. It’s a great privilege to bring these iconic works to life with the extraordinary OH! orchestra and some of today’s finest emerging artists.”

“We are thrilled that Maestro Isomura, an amazingly gifted young conductor and artist, returns to lead the orchestra, providing continuity from our previous season,” says Mariam Khalili, Opera in the Heights’ Executive Director. “Our focus remains on delivering the superb artistic product that has come to be expected of Opera in the Heights.”

OH! will present each opera with four performances rather than seven as in some previous seasons. The change will allow Opera in the Heights to better focus its financial resources, while enhancing the artistic quality of each of the four productions.

The season opens Sept. 18 with I Pagliacci (The Clowns), the enduring tale of jealousy and rage between lovers in a comedy troupe. Art imitates life with fatal results in this iconic tragedy, featuring one of the most famous arias in the entire repertoire. Performances will start at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 18, 24 and 26 and at 2 p.m. on Sept. 20.

October and November bring to the stage two operas by Menotti, both sung in English: The Telephone and The Medium. Serving as the opener will be the light one-act comedy, The Telephone, in which a man comes to his girlfriend’s apartment to propose, only to find her preoccupied with chatting incessantly on the telephone. In the dark psychological drama, The Medium, audiences will encounter a fraudulent spiritual medium, who starts to genuinely hear voices and feel phantom presences she cannot explain. Performance dates are Oct. 30, Nov. 5 and Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 1 at 2 p.m.

Rossini’s La Cenerentola is OH!’s late winter production and is perfect for the entire family. Rossini’s take on the classic fairy tale,Cinderella, the opera La Cenerentola is considered to be one of his greatest achievements, complete with mistaken identities, stepsisters and of course, romance. Performance dates are Feb. 5, 11 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 7 at 2 p.m.

The season closes with Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, which is based on the myth of Orpheus, a legendary ancient Greek hero endowed with superhuman musical abilities, and his love, Eurydice. The opera takes to the stage on Apr. 8, 14 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and on Apr. 10 at 2 p.m.

Single tickets prices are $35 – $67 for regular tickets, $32 – $58 for seniors and $15 – $17 for student tickets in limited seating areas. To buy tickets or to become a subscriber, please visit operaintheheights.org or call 713-861-5303. All performances 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 (where applicable) projected above the stage.

 

 

 

 

For additional information on performance dates, press material, or information on scheduling an interview, please contact: Carol Brejot, 713-503-3885; pr@operaintheheights.org

 

Get your opera on at Houston’s Opera in the Heights

June 14, 2015

By Peggie Miller / performing arts columnist

Let’s face it. The most obvious entertainment limitation on the local scene is classical music, particularly opera.

Without the Young Texas Artists Competition and Contest once a year in the Crighton Theatre, and performances by the Conroe Symphony Orchestra, classical music lovers would face an absence of choices.

Yet even these opportunities present limited opera selections with the robust, rafter-shaking, sometimes whispery soft arias, that opera enthusiasts love.

On the other hand, Houston’s Opera in the Heights taps into that nectar for the thirsty for those who won’t balk at the hassle of getting there. All performances are in Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd., 77008.

The new season, just announced, presents four beloved operatic works, beginning Sept. 18.

That first one is Leoncavallo’s comedic I Pagliacci, where a commedia/arts troupe quickly learns how life can imitate art. Performances are September 18, 19 at 7:30, with a 2 p.m. matinee September 20.

Next is Menotti’s The Medium The Telephone at the end of October.

When a medium is visited “from the other side” during a fake séance, her life begins to unravel.

The Telephone part is about a device that makes putting love on hold a breeze (among other things, one might add).

Experience it Oct. 30, 31, Nov.5–7 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 1 and 7 at 2 p.m. Rossini’s La Cenerentola becomes the focus during the month of flowers and valentines playing Feb 5–6, and 11—13 at 7:30 p.m. with matinees on Feb. 7 and Valentine’s Day.

Rossini tells in arias and words how a humble girl and a disguised prince connect in the ultimate ashes to riches story.

Gluck’s Orfeo Ed Euridice, that ends the season, illustrates the belief that even the gods cannot break the bonds of true love.

It runs April 8-9 and 14-16 at 7:30, with 2 p.m. matinees April 10 and 17.

So there you have it. A nice assortment, maybe even better than Forest Gump’s chocolates.

The upcoming season marks 20 years for OH! successes.

It’s filled with diversity, showcasing operatic genius from past to present, from as early as 1762. Another appealing aspect of OH! productions is that the size of its hall fosters an intimate ambiance and comfortable seating. One of its goals is promoting emerging young singers while bringing affordable opera to the Greater Houston area.

Three price levels exist, based on seat choices. Season subscriptions range from $223 all the way to a frugal $49 for students, including fees. However, no student charges are available for the most desired gold locations, and the special pricing is only for those under age 17 with ID.

Seats are reserved and tickets can be exchanged for different performances, with no extra charges applying in most cases. Subscribers also receive invitations for private events reserved only for them.

Deadline for renewal for current subscribers is June 25, and of course unforeseen production changes may become unavoidable.

For more information or to subscribe, go to www.OPERAINTHEHEIGHTS.ORG, call 713-861-5303, or mail check to P. O. box 7887, Houston 77270-7887.

During this 20th anniversary celebration, comes the exclusive Overture! festivity in September, with tickets on sale July 1. There also are some young professional events where rising stars mix and mingle with those of similar ambitions.

 

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