Despite a challenging, but resilient year, Houston Grand Opera’s HGOco (education and community engagement initiative) forges ahead to premiere a brand new opera for children and families, produce a new opera film short, add a new summer camp, and launch a new Storybook Opera book. There is much to look forward to and much to be proud of.
During the past season, over 4,000 Houston-area students enjoyed performances of HGO’s mainstage productions of La Traviata and The House without a Christmas Tree. They also got a first-hand look at HGO’s Resilience Theater in the George R. Brown Convention Center, HGO’s temporary home after the Wortham Theater was flooded during Hurricane Harvey, for the 2017-18 season.
With Monkey & Francine in the City of Tigers, a presentation of HGOco’s Opera to Go!, HGOco presented its sixty-fifth world premiere. The delightful opera debuted the team of composer Kamala Sankaram and librettist David Johnston. Developed in partnership with American Lyric Theater in New York, the 40-minute opera is inspired by Indian, Chinese, and West African mythology, with Bollywood style mixed in. The hilarious fable demonstrates the power of teamwork as a monkey, a prince, and the prince’s brainy sister outwit a hungry crocodile. In so doing, they are able to escape from the City of Tigers. Free public performances at Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston will take place from May 2, 2018 to May 4, 2018.
HGOco will venture into the world of cinema with the pilot episode of its new series, Star-Cross’d. Boundless tells the story of Alma who seeks personal fulfillment at a crossroads in her life and begins a relationship with an artistic soul 20 years her junior. When she discovers that their future goals do not align, Alma makes a heartbreaking decision to realize her own dream. The touching tale is based on a true story by Aryana Rose originally told on The Moth Radio Hour. The pilot will be released in late April and will be screened in a number of venues, as well as on HGOco’s website.
Summer Camp - NO BUG SPRAY NEEDED! Think opera camp is not for your kids? Think again! Our camps cultivate important 21st century skills including social-emotional development, critical thinking and teamwork skills. Our brand new camp, Sing!Move!Play! (for children entering grades K to two) is a half day that focuses on singing, rhythm, storytelling, and lots of fun! It will take place at the beautiful Clayton Library Center annex building on Caroline Street. The other three camps will be held at our temporary home in the George R. Brown Convention Center, directly across from Discovery Green. Our popular camps include Create An Opera (a one-week day camp for children entering grades three to six), Create a Singer (a one-week day camp for children entering grades four to nine), and Art of Opera (a two-week day camp for youth entering grades nine to twelve). Camps fill up quickly so make sure to register now.
Looking ahead to the fall of 2018, HGOco will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Opera to Go! favorite, Cinderella in Spain. The bilingual opera presents a fresh take on the classic fairy tale. Free public performances for schools and families will take place in October at Miller Outdoor Theater. The opera will tour from late-September through mid-December 2018 and will begin taking bookings in April.
One of HGOco’s longest running programs is Storybook Opera, in which a talented teaching artist brings an opera-themed storybook to life with interactive singing and movement activities. Generously underwritten by the CKW (Connie Kwan-Wong) Foundation and CKW LUXE Magazine, HGOco is thrilled to launch a new storybook, The Armadillo’s Dream. The delightful story is written by HGOco’s own Touring Programs Manager, Dennis Arrowsmith, and is illustrated by Eduard Hakobyan. The moving story tells the tale of Sandy, an armadillo who lives on the Buffalo Bayou, and dreams of singing on the stage of the Houston Grand Opera. The book will launch in September of 2018 with a series of performances around Houston, which will coincide with HGO’s return to the Wortham Theater Center.
For complete information and registration information about all of HGOco’s programming, please visit HGOco.org