Earns a Coveted Nomination
By: Dennis Arrowsmith
HGOco Touring and Ensembles Manager
Houston Grand Opera (HGO) deserves a big round of applause. It is a finalist in the coveted Best Opera Company category at the International Opera Awards.
Part of the company’s success comes from its devotionto educational programing and community involvement. HGOco is the unique initiative of HGO that strives to connect our company to our community through collaboration. In our efforts to keep opera relevant to today’s changing audiences and introduce the art form to new communities, HGOco continually spearheads new commissions, partnerships, and initiatives, while maintaining the highest quality in our renowned programing.
Storybook Opera has been an integral part of our educational programing for over 10 years. Designed as an engaging and enjoyable introduction to opera for young children, this program brings singing storytellers to schools and libraries throughout Greater Houston and beyond. Our artists bring existing opera-themed storybooks to life for students in Pre-K to grade two. This experience is often the audience’s first exposure to a classically trained voice. During the past
season, Storybook Opera reached 9,000 people through 180 performances in schools, libraries, and community centers.
Houston Grand Opera HGOco is thrilled to partner with the Connie Kwan-Wong foundation to produce its first original storybook called The Armadillo’s Dream. Inspired by a Bolivian folktale, The Armadillo’s Dream spins the tale of an armadillo who longs to sing. Dennis Arrowsmith, a staff member of HGOco, transported this story to the banks of the Buffalo Bayou where our hero meets several critters and finds his moment in the spotlight at Houston Grand Opera. HGO constantly seeks Houston-based stories that can draw in audiences and reflect the wonderful city of Houston in art.
The launch of this new Storybook Opera is planned for October with several fabulous free events for the whole family. The tale will then take its place in the Storybook Opera repertoire available for booking in many diverse venues. HGOco recently produced a brand new version of The Barber of Seville for Opera to Go!, another educational touring program. Designed for Grades two to eight, this bilingual production toured through the spring semester and was generously underwritten by the Connie Kwan-Wong foundation. Opera to Go! is one of HGO’s farthest-reaching programs with nearly 100 performances each semester playing to approximately 60,000 students. Two more highlights of HGOco’s spring season were the world premiere chamber opera, Some Light Emerges, and Das Barbecü, a light-hearted retelling of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Each production, while very different in subject and tone, featured performances in non-traditional venues.
HGOco constantly develops exciting projects in its enduring mission to connect with Houston’s diverse communities. It is partly for this reason that it has received international attention and has been nominated for such a prestigious award.