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 announces honorees for ‘Bravissimo 2016’

By Carol Brejot
Special to The Examiner

Opera in the Heights (Oh!) announced the honorees for Bravissimo 2016 – An Emerald Evening at a recent kickoff party at Boulevard Realty in the Heights. Gala co-chair and Oh! board member Tony Tripodo was excited to tell the crowd that Josie and Fred Nevill will be recognized at the annual fundraiser in May for their extensive contributions to Opera in the Heights over the past nine years.

“No one could be more deserving than the Nevills, who are passionate supporters of Oh!,” says Tripodo. “Fred is a long-time board member who has taken a hands-on approach to improving and growing our organization. Both he and Josie have generously donated time, energy and money to Opera in the Heights over the years, in addition to hosting special events at their beautiful store, Antiques of River Oaks.”

This year’s gala is set for May 21 at La Colombe D’or. Director of Development Becky Buturovic has assembled a team of capable young professionals to serve on the gala committee with chairs Heather and Tony Tripodo, also Oh! supporters for many years. These include Carli Baker, Molly Blanchard, Lauren Bryan, Leah Hanson, Alexis Hester, Brittany Koger, Natalie Murdock, Kari Schultz, Dr. Emily Walding and Elizabeth Yarotsky.

“I’m thrilled to introduce a younger crowd to Opera in the Heights through involvement with Bravissimo,” says Buturovic. “I know many of them personally, and they will take our 20th anniversary gala to a new level with their talents and expertise. These are the future leaders and supporters for our organization.”

Other Oh! board members planning Bravissimo include Josh Agrons, Bo Eagles, Marianne Terrell, Dan Mathena, Will Speer, and Jesse Soto. In addition to an elegant seated dinner and the presentation of the honorees, the evening will include special performances from some of Oh!’s most talented emerging artists.

Call 713-861-5303 to purchase or reserve tickets. Check our website at operaintheheights.org for updates.

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 Caption: Opera in the Heights Bravissimo chairs Tony and Heather Tripodo with 2016 honorees Fred and Josie Nevill at a recent kickoff party. Photo credit: Deji Osinulu Photography.

 

For Full Article, click HERE.

Opera in the Heights hits all the right notes with magical musical evening for supporters

Elizabeth Yarotsky, Carli Baker, Natalie Murdock, Lauren Bryan.  Photo by Deji Osinulu Photography

Elizabeth Yarotsky, Carli Baker, Natalie Murdock, Lauren Bryan. Photo by Deji Osinulu Photography

You don't typically find a coterie of young professionals heavily populating a gala committee. But when Opera in the Heights  (Oh!) development director Becky Buturovic went about to fill the committee for the Bravissimo gala in the spring, she cast her net across the sea of the organization's younger supporters.

The committee was introduced at a music-filled reception at Boulevard Realty, which happens to be located only a block down Heights Boulevard from Lambert Hall, where Oh! performs. Oh! board member Marianne Terrell and Kenny Terrell hosted the soirée. 

The gathering also served to announce that Josie and Fred Nevill are gala honorees, set to take the spotlight at La Colombe d'Or on May 20. That announcement was made by  Tony Tripodo, who chairs the gala with his wife, Heather Tripodo.

Tenor James Chamberlain (Canio in Oh!’s I Pagliacci) hit all the right notes as he provided operatic entertainment for the crowd, singing from three operas:Carmen, Tosca and Turandot. Pianist Catherine Schaeffer provided the musical accompaniment.

Gala steering committee members include Carli Baker, Molly Blanchard, Lauren Bryan, Leah Hanson, Alexis Hester, Brittany Koger, Natalie Murdock, Kari Schultz, Dr. Emily Walding, and Elizabeth Yarotsky. 

Oh! executive director Mariam Khalili and principal conductor Eiki Isomura joined the group.

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

Your contributions at work in 2015

Join us in taking a look back at the incredible art we created together in 2015!

Mozart's  La clemenza di Tito

January 30 - February 8, 2015 (2014-2015 Season)

Mozart's Roman tale about a woman scorned, an evil assassination plot, and shocking forgiveness was made fresh with a modern-dress rendition that was called elegant by the Houston Press. In his first production with Opera in the Heights, Principal Conductor Eiki Isomura led a thrilling performance for Oh! patrons of this Mozart rarity. Critics called the cast a "finely tuned ensemble" and the orchestra "reliably solid."

Oh!'s offering of La clemenza di Tito showed that little has changed for us in the thousands of years since Ancient Rome, and even less in the hundreds of years since Mozart filled this soaring opera with all the societal anger, wildfire gossip, political chatter, and partisan plotting that papers the walls of our public lives. The terror and terrorism that climbs through La clemenza di Tito, impossibly, yet accurately, imagines our daily headlines while tracing the true shape of their ancient roots. The beauty of Metastasio's libretto is in its continuing prescience. We placed this story in our own time, and with no alteration were able to recall an ancient world in which, though guns were daggers, the motives and machinations were the same.

Far Left: Justin Hopkins as Publio. Left: Celeste Frasier as Vitellia (Emerald Cast). Right: Zach Averyt as Tito (Emerald Cast). Far Right: Mary-Hollis Hundley as Vitellia (Ruby Cast).     

Far Left: Justin Hopkins as Publio. Left: Celeste Frasier as Vitellia (Emerald Cast). Right: Zach Averyt as Tito (Emerald Cast). Far Right: Mary-Hollis Hundley as Vitellia (Ruby Cast).   

Brook's  La  tragédie de Carmen

Adapted from the opera by Georges Bizet

March 20 - 29, 2015 (2014-2015 Season)

Oh! audiences were swept away with the spicy and seductive music of La tragédie de Carmen, the tragic tale of the ultimate femme fatale, the naïve soldier she seduces, and his rival, the glamorous toreador. Critics raved that "the cast committed wholeheartedly to staged mayhem" and that Principal Conductor Eiki Isomura "lead his chamber orchestra with seductive ease". All said, it made for an irresistibly captivating evening at the intimate Lambert Hall. 

When Bizet's Carmen premiered in 1875, it broke new ground in French opera with its steamy portrayal of love and jealousy. In the years since its premiere, Carmen has become perhaps the most popular and recognizable of operas, losing that shock factor that was so much a part of its beginning. But this 1983 adaptation, La tragédie de Carmen, stripped away all the "fluff", paring the work down to its essential elements, and bringing the opera back to its original gritty, visceral nature.

Left: Brent Turner as Don José and Sishel Claverie as Carmen (Ruby Cast). Middle: Jared Guest as Escamillo. Right: Briana Hunter as Carmen (Emerald Cast) and Jared Guest as Escamillo.

Left: Brent Turner as Don José and Sishel Claverie as Carmen (Ruby Cast). Middle: Jared Guest as Escamillo. Right: Briana Hunter as Carmen (Emerald Cast) and Jared Guest as Escamillo.

Leoncavallo's  I Pagliacci

September 18 - 26, 2015 (2015-2016 Season)

In our 20th Anniversary Season opener, we presented the story of a commedia dell'arte troupe that quickly learns how life can imitate art. Critics proclaimed the performance "soared" and that Opera in the Heights "scored a knockout." At the onset of the opera, Tonio's prologue demands the audience consider not the performers' costumes but rather their souls, for the characters populating the stage are "men of flesh and bone, who, like you, breathe the air."

The audience and the players in fact do breathe the same air, and nowhere is that connection more powerfully felt than at Lambert Hall, home of Opera in the Heights. The theater has a remarkable way of enveloping each audience member in the action. Our wonderful orchestra performs in plain view, and the design of the hall frequently inspires staging that utilizes every aisle and corner of the house. This immersive effect became all the more potent in the context of I Pagliacci, with its play-within-a-play structure and obscured boundaries between theatre and real life. Though many may have heard the iconic aria "Vesti la giubba" many times, the audience's hearts broke anew in sympathy with Canio in the intimate space, where we were continually reminded that audiences and players breathe the same air.

Left: James Chamberlain as Canio and Donata Cucinotta as Nedda. Middle: Donata Cucinotta as Nedda, Dashiell Waterbury as Beppe, and the Oh! Chorus in the background. Right: James Rodriguez as Tonio. 

Left: James Chamberlain as Canio and Donata Cucinotta as Nedda. Middle: Donata Cucinotta as Nedda, Dashiell Waterbury as Beppe, and the Oh! Chorus in the background. Right: James Rodriguez as Tonio. 

Menotti's The Medium and The Telephone

October 30 - November 7, 2015 (2015 - 2016 Season)

In a 1947 radio interview, Gian Carlo Menotti described the then-current state of opera by quoting Nöel Coward: "People are wrong when they say that the opera isn't what it used to be. It is what it used to be - that's what's wrong with it!" Menotti then went on in his own words, "People don't realize that opera is theatre. It must be live theatre. Just as the plays change with the passing centuries, so should opera." He made his point, in part to reject the notion that opera had become a museum piece in his time, and also to explain his practice of writing his own libretti. 

In The Telephone and The Medium, Menotti charted a way forward for opera, one in which composers and interpreters tackle contemporary subject matter while continuing to engage with the past. Menotti's artistic vision and craft were such that nearly seventy years after their successful premiere as a double bill in 1947 the pieces still ring true. The Telephone, a sassy and short work about a boyfriend unable to propose to his girlfriend because she won't get off the phone is perhaps more relevant than ever. The Medium, a sleek psychological thriller about a sham seer who scams her emotionally fragile patrons, continues to transport, shock, and haunt audiences today. The Houston Press summed up the experience saying "Any Menotti is rare in today's opera rep. A return to his particular brand of full-out theatricality is long overdue, certainly welcome, and a surprising re-discovery."

Left: Julia Engel as Lucy, Thomas Richards as Ben  The Telephone . Right: Gwen Alfred as Mrs. Gobineau, Claudia Chapa as Baba, Thomas Richards as Mr. Gobineau, Monica Isomura as Mrs. Nolan  The Medium. 

Left: Julia Engel as Lucy, Thomas Richards as Ben The Telephone. Right: Gwen Alfred as Mrs. Gobineau, Claudia Chapa as Baba, Thomas Richards as Mr. Gobineau, Monica Isomura as Mrs. Nolan The Medium. 

ConciertOh! de Invierno

December 11 - 13, 2015

ConciertOh! de Invierno is a special holiday concert highlighting some of Oh’s most outstanding Hispanic artists. The artists played a critical role in the creative process for the concert, drawing on their own nostalgia of holiday traditions. The concert series gave patrons the opportunity to experience a variety of Spanish musical genres hailing from regions including Spain, Mexico and Cuba. The musical offerings included traditional zarzuelas, boleros and música navideña - perfect for the music lover at any age. The ConciertOh! de Invierno concert touched not only the hearts of our patrons but our singers as well.  By closing night, the celebratory energy and sense of camaraderie between both sides of the stage was palpable - the audience begged for an encore and the artists obliged! To all who attended our weekend of special performances: Thank You!  We are grateful to have kicked-off the holiday season with you and your family with such a festive and fabulous concert weekend.   

Top, L-R: Pianist: Brian Suits; Singers: Octavio Moreno, Claudia Chapa, and James Rodriguez. Bottom, L-R: Tenor, Patrick Contreras; Executive Director, Mariam Khalili; Guitarist, Arnold Yzaguirre.

Top, L-R: Pianist: Brian Suits; Singers: Octavio Moreno, Claudia Chapa, and James Rodriguez. Bottom, L-R: Tenor, Patrick Contreras; Executive Director, Mariam Khalili; Guitarist, Arnold Yzaguirre.

ConciertOh! de Invierno

By Olivia Flores Alvarez

Octavio Moreno has performed many times with Opera in the Heights, but the ConciertOh! De Invierno concert hits a personal note. The Latin American zarzuelas (opera-like, with both sung and spoken sections), boleros and música navideña (Christmas music) on the program are the music Moreno grew up with in Mexico. “This is what I grew up listening to,” he tells us. “This music is what pushed me to pursue a musical career. Even today, I try to do some of this music whenever I can; it’s too beautiful for me to let go. It’s music that I feel it deep in my heart, in my soul.

 

“Also, I love romantic music and two of the two arias [I sing] are very romantic.” Opera in the Heights Executive Director Mariam Khalili approached Moreno and a few other singers with the idea for the concert a few months ago. The organization had done a similar event several years ago and when the subject of a holiday concert came up, Khalili suggested ConciertOh! Along with Moreno, the lineup of performers includes Claudia Chapa, James Rodriguez, Arnold Yzaguirre, Patrick Contreras and pianist Brian Suits.

Moreno switches roles for a few songs, going from singer to accompanist when he picks up a guitar in the second half of the show. “I play on ‘Granada’ for Patrick. [Playing guitar,] that’s an obscure part of my life, one that I really enjoy.”

Does a zarzuelas concert being performed by an American opera company surprise Moreno? “Actually, no. Opera in the Heights isn’t a Latin American organization, but it also isn’t an Italian organization or a German organization; nevertheless, they’re doing Italian opera and German opera. I think we, the whole world, has gotten to a point where pretty much everything is everybody’s. In a country like this, where you can look around and see Irish people, Africans, Germans all in one place, adding a program like this makes sense.”

7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights. For information, call 713-861-5303 or visit operaintheheights.org. $25.

 

ORGANIZER DESCRIPTION: Join Opera in the Heights (Oh!) for ConciertOh! de Invierno, a special holiday concert highlighting some of Oh’s most outstanding Hispanic artists in a way that that allows them to show off different styles of music. Oh!’s concert series will feature traditional zarzuelas, boleros and música navideña (Christmas music) that have broad appeal. (Zarzuela is a Spanish lyric dramatic opera genre alternating between spoken and sung scenes, and bolero is slow tempo Latin music.)

For Full Article, Click HERE.

BWW Blog: Baritone James Rodriguez on Opera in the Heights' CONCIERTOH! DE INVIERNO

By Guest Blogger: James Rodriguez

Opera in the Heights continues to celebrate its 20th anniversary season with CONCIERTOH! DE INVIERNO, a Spanish language and music holiday concert. The concert features Oh! favorites Claudia Chapa, Octavio Moreno, and James Rodriguez along with special guest appearances by Arnold Yzaguirre, Brian Suits, and Patrick Contreras.

Baritone James Rodriguez gives us a look into his musical background and how it influences his performance in CONCIERTOH! DE INVIERNO.

Above: Baritone James Rodriguez as Tonio   in Oh's production of I PAGLIACCI last season.   This December he'll perform   for Oh's Spanish language holiday concert,    CONCIERTOH! DE INVIERNO.    Photo by Deji Osinulu Photography

Above: Baritone James Rodriguez as Tonio
in Oh's production of I PAGLIACCI last season.
This December he'll perform
for Oh's Spanish language holiday concert,
CONCIERTOH! DE INVIERNO.
Photo by Deji Osinulu Photography

Every summer for the last five years, I have presented a recital of songs and arias back home in Fort Worth. Much of this audience is made up of family and friends from all over Central and South America. It was only last year (at the request of one of my mother's friends) that I sang my first group of Mexican folksongs arranged by Edward Kilenyi. The audience loved them.

I have to be honest; my experience with performing music in Spanish has been primarily through the operatic works of the late Mexican composer, Daniel Catán. I have explored very little in the way of art song or zarzuela; therefore, you can imagine my surprise when I was contacted by Opera in the Heights to sing on their holiday concert, which will feature songs, boleros, zarzuelas, and Christmas music all sung in Spanish. This was the perfect opportunity to finally explore music written in my native language.

After various meetings, repertoire was selected and my solo selections include three Kilenyi folksongs ("Mi sueño," "Noche serena," and "Pregúntale á las estrellas") and "Amor, vida de mi vida" from the zarzuela, Maravilla by Federico Moreno Torroba. This aria was introduced to me this summer and has quickly become one of my favorites because it is a showstopper for the baritone voice! Other ensemble numbers include "Blanca Navidad" and "Navidad y Año Nuevo."

The holiday season is an opportunity to hear great classics such as Messiah and Nutcracker; however, I hope Houstonians will take time out of their busy schedules and stop by Lambert Hall in the Heights during the weekend of December 11 to hear CONCIERTOH! DE INVIERNO. You won't be disappointed!

[Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that James Rodriguez would perform the bolero selection "El Desdichado" by French composer, Camille Saint-Saëns, with mezzo-soprano, Claudia Chapa. The duet has been removed from the program.]

CONCIERTOH! DE INVIERNO. December 11-13, 7 pm. Opera in the Heights, Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Blvd. $15.

For the Full Post, Click HERE.

Four events turn the Heights into Holiday Central

By Martin Hajovsky on December 2, 2015

...

Moving on to next weekend, Opera in the Heights will salute its Hispanic artists in what they’re calling the “ConciertOh! de Invierno.”

The company is celebrating its 20th season this year, and for the holidays they’ve put together a program featuring zarzuelas, boleros and música navideña (Christmas music) at Lambert Hall, 1703 Heights Boulevard.

The company will showcase singers Claudia Chapa, Octavio Moreno and James Rodriguez, with guest appearances by Arnold Yzaguirre, Brian Suits and Patrick Contreras. Three concerts are scheduled for Dec. 11, 12 and 13, all starting at 7 p.m.

Tickets range from $15-25 with military, student and senior discounts and can be purchased either by clicking here or calling 713-861-5303.

 

For Full Article, click HERE.

Opera in the Heights presents ConciertOh! de Invierno

Opera in the Heights will present ConciertOh! de Invierno, a special holiday music concert series in Spanish highlighting some of Oh!’s most outstanding Hispanic artists in a way that allows them to show off different styles of music. ConciertOh! de Invierno will feature traditional zarzuelas, boleros, and música navideña (Christmas music) that have broad appeal. (Zarzuela is a Spanish lyric dramatic opera genre alternating between spoken and sung scenes, and bolero is slow tempo Latin music).

Oh!’s sensational singers participating in the concert series are Claudia Chapa, Octavio Moreno, and James Rodriguez, with guest appearances by Arnold Yzaguirre, Brian Suits, and Patrick Contreras. Oh! subscribers will recognize Chapa, Moreno and Rodriguez, who have most recently portrayed Madame Flora/Baba in The Medium (Chapa); Rigoletto in Rigoletto (Moreno) and Tonio in I Pagliacci (Rodriguez).

ConciertOh! de Invierno will last approximately 90 minutes, with an intermission and concessions featuring sweet treats, coffee and cocoa provided by Oh!’s guild members. The music appeals to all ages and makes a perfect family outing in the midst of the holiday season.

For Full Article, Click HERE!