Houston Grand Opera continues its 54th season with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” British composer Benjamin Britten’s setting of William Shakespeare’s play of the same name.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” opens Jan. 23 in the Brown Theater at the Wortham Theater Center. Tickets are now on sale.
The performance will be sung in English with English supertitles. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m.
Following HGO’s production of “Billy Budd” last season, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is the second opera in a multi-year series of works by Britten.
“Benjamin Britten’s operas continue the great line of central operatic creations from Monteverdi in the 17th century through Mozart, Handel, Verdi, Wagner, Strauss and Janáček,” explained HGO General Director Anthony Freud. “In embarking on a Britten series, we are working to introduce our audiences, on a long-term and ongoing basis, to a group of works that deserves to be at the very heart of the operatic repertoire.”
HGO will continue its series of Britten operas through the 2012–13 season, which marks the centennial of the composer’s birth.
“Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream seems to do the impossible; it weds 20th-century music to a 16th-century play, cuts the text in half, and creates an enjoyable and wholly different work,” said HGO Music Director Patrick Summers, who will conduct. “It is a story of metamorphosis and transcendence, which deals with the dueling perceptions of reality and fantasy.”
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which was last performed at HGO in 1993, returns to the Wortham Theater Center in a new production by Australian director Neil Armfield, who also directed HGO’s “Billy Budd.” Welsh countertenor Iestyn Davies will make his company debut as Oberon, king of the fairies, and his queen, Tytania will be sung by Houston favorite soprano Laura Claycomb, who was also “Marie” in HGO’s “Daughter of the Regiment” in 2007.
Studio alumni Norman Reinhardt will sing the role of Lysander, Liam Bonner will sing Demetrius and Marie Lenormand will sing Hermia. Making their company debuts, Soprano Katie van Kooten will sing the role of Helena and British bass-baritone Matthew Rose will sing his much acclaimed role of Bottom.
HGO Music Director and Conductor Patrick Summers leads the cast with the HGO Orchestra and Chorus. Sets and costumes are designed by Australian Dale Ferguson and lighting design is by Australian Damien Cooper.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a co-production with the Canadian Opera Company.
Performance dates are Friday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 25 at 2 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Friday, Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Individual tickets are now on sale and start at $20. General information and tickets are available at www.houstongrandopera.org or call 713-228-OPERA (6737) or 1-800-62-OPERA (800-626-7372) 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday, and from 12:00 p.m. until curtain time on days of Saturday and Sunday performances. Hours are subject to change.
The Wortham Theater Center features wheelchair access to both theaters, with a choice of seating locations and ticket prices. An infrared listening system, underwritten by Shell Lubricants, is available and free of charge at all performances.
The Wells Fargo Pre-Curtain Lecture Series takes place forty-five minutes before each performance. Guest speakers present a twenty-minute informal lecture in the orchestra level of the Brown Theater.
The talks, free and open to all ticket holders, are intended to enhance the audience’s enjoyment by preparing them for the opera they are about to attend.