Including Four New Productions: La bohème, The Italian Girl in Algiers, Show Boat, and Tristan und IsoldeHouston Grand Opera, with Music Director Patrick Summers and Managing Director Perryn Leech, announces its 2012-13 season, headlined by four new productions. The first of these is Puccini’s La bohème, which launches the new season with a new staging by award-winning British director John Caird. To honor 2013’s joint bicentennials of Wagner and Verdi, the coming season juxtaposes Tristan und Isolde – starring Ben Heppner and Nina Stemme in a new contemporary staging by Christof Loy – with a revival of Steven Lawless’s unforgettable take on Il trovatore. British conductor Trevor Pinnock leads a strong international cast in Mozart’s ensemble masterpiece Don Giovanni, while Francesca Zambello’s new production of Kern and Hammerstein’s Show Boat brings together stars of Broadway and the opera house in a celebration of America’s own contribution to the art. For a more intimate experience, Daniela Barcellona and Lawrence Brownlee star in Rossini’s dramma giocoso, The Italian Girl in Algiers.
John Caird’s brand new production of a perennial favorite, Puccini’s La bohème, opens the season on October 19. An Honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Principal Guest Director of Stockholm’s Royal Dramatic Theatre, Caird’s numerous honors include two Tony Awards, two Laurence Olivier Awards, and three Outer Critics Circle Awards. American soprano Katie Van Kooten stars as Mimì, the role in which she made her Covent Garden debut, impressing the Telegraph as “a major operatic talent” with “a winning stage personality.” Opposite her as Rodolfo is New York native Dimitri Pittas – “a huge talent, with a ringing, easy tenor voice…like a young Plácido Domingo” (Opera News). With designs by Olivier Award-winner David Farley, the new production will be conducted by young American Evan Rogister, former Kapellmeister of the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
As HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers reveals, “Planning a season is like planning a great six-course meal, and [the company has] a lot of main courses but the one dessert – and it’s a great one, a real soufflé.” This “soufflé” is Rossini’s comic masterpiece The Italian Girl in Algiers, which opens on October 26. Making her HGO debut in the title role is Italian soprano Daniela Barcellona, a bel canto specialist whom Opera News found “perfect” in the title role of Rossini’s Tancredi. She’ll be singing opposite tenor Lawrence Brownlee, winner of both the Marian Anderson and the Richard Tucker Awards, who returns to Houston after wowing audiences in The Barber of Seville. The production comes courtesy of Spanish director-designer team Joan Font and Joan Guillén – who were last seen in Houston with witty stagings of Rossini’s La Cenerentola and The Barber of Seville – and features Italian conductor Carlo Rizzi on the podium. Winner of the first Toscanini Conductors competition, Rizzi made his HGO debut in 2007 with Aida.