1999 - 2000 SEASON

Opera Spectacular Enough For



David Gockley
General Director

Patrick Summers
Music Director




October 22, 24m, 27, 30, 1999 and November 2, 5, 7m, 1999
Sung in Italian with English Surtitles

The production that proves why Aida is indeed the most popular opera in the world.

It was seen by millions during the 1987 nationally televised performance commemorating
the opening of the Wortha Theater Center. Now, twelve years later, you once again have
the opportunity to see Aida, undoubtedly the grandest opera of all time.

A huge and spectacular cast surrounds Marquita Lister who returns to Houston (Porgy and
Bess, 1995) in the title role of the beautiful Ethiopian slave. The new Italian tenor sensation
Walter Fraccaro portrays her lover Radames.

With its magnificent music, stirring choruses and electrifying dances, Aida is the quintessential
epic opera. While Egypt wars with Ethiopia, the audience braves a sensational battle of emotions.
Passion, jealousy, joy, despair - Verdi intended for you to feel it all.

Aida. The experience of a lifetime.




October 29, 31m, 1999 and November 3, 6, 9, 12, 14m, 1999
Sung in Italian with English Surtitles

From seduction to damnation, Mozart's blend of the earthly and supernatural is truly masterful.

With an overactive libido and a long list of conquests, Don Giovanni philanders his way to eternal damnation. Fortunately, for operagoers everywhere, his story is immortalized in what is frequently referred to as the greatest opera ever composed. Bo Skovhus returns to Houston (Billy Budd, 1998) to portray the world's most famous seducer. Who better than this strikingly handsome Dane? Among his would-be conquests are Donna Anna, sung by Alexandrina Pendatchanska, and Zerlina, sung by Nicole Heaston. Conceived by the late Goran Jarvefelt, with sets by Carl Friedrich Oberle, this classic production was last seen in Houston nearly a decade ago.

This tale of seduction represents a towering achievement for Mozart; there's never been a better blend of comedy and high drama.

Don Giovanni. Wicked men shall be condemned.




January 21, 23m, 26, 29m, 2000 and February 1, 4, 6m, 2000
Sung in Italian with English Surtitles

A delightfully bubbly score, a touching story, and a golden-voiced tenor combine to make this a performance you'll never forget.

Though he portrays the timid character Nemorino, there's nothing hesitant about the incomparable Ramon Vargas's rendition of one of opera's greatest hits, the exquisite aria "Una furtiva lagrima."

By popular demand of all true opera lovers, the Elixir of Love returns to the Houston stage after an absence of nearly two decades. Patrick Summers leads the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra in this lighthearted comedy positively infused with memorable melodies.

The lovesick Nemorino desperately wants to win the hand of Adina, the most beautiful girl in the village, fetchingly portrayed by Ana Maria Martinez. Having heard the story of Tristan and Isolde, he spends his last bit of gold on a magical "love elixir" being hawked by the conniving Dr. Dulcamara.

Will Nemorino win the girl? Will they live forever after in wealth and happiness? Remember, this is the world of comic opera. What fun you'll have finding out!




January 27, 30m, 2000 and February 2, 5, 8, 11, 2000
Sung in German with English Surtitles

David Hockney. Christoph Eschenbach. Richard Wagner. A Collaboration to Treasure.

Houston Grand Opera proudly presents the most passionate love story ever set to music, Wagner's Tristan and Isolde.

Renowned Danish heldentenor Stig Andersen makes his Houston debut as Tristan, the Cornish sea captain charged with transporting the spirited Irish princess Isolde (Renate Behle) to her betrothed. Tristan delivers the bride, but not before the two fall deeply and irrevocably in love. Theirs is a love so profound, so forbidden, it can only be consummated in death.

The Houston Symphony, under the direction of Christoph Eschenbach, plays a powerful role in realizing this hauntingly beautiful drama. The visual production by artist David Hockney adds yet another spectacular dimension to an already rich and memorable experience.

Opera fans travel thousands of miles to experience this rarely produced masterwork, the climactic expression of nineteenth-century romanticism. Save yourself a trip. Take advantage of a rare opportunity to experience this monumental event so close to home.




March 3, 5m, 7, 11, 12m, 17, 2000
To celebrate the new millennium, we return to the Cullen Theater
Sung in English with Surtitles

Like the novel that inspired it, this tale of the March sisters is impossible to resist.

It's long been a classic of American literature. Now the new opera based on Louisa May Alcott's beloved novel is approaching a similar stature. To the pleasure of many, Mark Adamo's exquisitely beautiful and touching work returns to the Cullen Theater stage.

Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth. We know the sisters like intimate friends. Perhaps this is why we never tire of watching them grow up. Why their pain never fails to touch us. And why we exalt in their joy.

Patrick Summers conducts the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra in an expanded production of the charming opera that first delighted Houston Opera Studio audiences during the 1997 - 98 season. The music is at once melodic and glorious, the story heartbreaking and life affirming. Forever imbedded in our cultural history, Little Women also finds a very special place in our hearts.




April 14, 16m, 19, 22, 25, 28, 30m, 2000
Sung in English with Surtitles

A world premiere! Be among the first to delight in the newest work by America's best-known opera composer. Houston Grand Opera is proud to unveil Carlisle Floyd's long-awaited gift to opera lovers across the country: Cold Sassy Tree.

Based on Olive Ann Burns' hilarious novel of the same name, Cold Sassy Tree is a step back in time to turn-of-the-century rural Georgia. When his wife dies, Rucker Lattimore, the town's leading - and most outspoken - citizen, needs someone to manage his household. Just days later, he marries a beautiful young woman, and a firestorm of controversy ensues. The results are both uproarious and heartwarming.

The cast of Cold Sassy Tree is one befitting a world premiere. Dean Peterson performs the part of the colorful Rucker Lattimore, and Patricia Racette has been cast as his spirited young wife. Patrick Summers leads the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra. Stage direction is provided by the distinguished Australian film director and Oscar nominee Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Tender Mercies).

Come let us introduce you to the unforgettable characters of Cold Sassy Tree.




April 29, 2000 and May 2, 5, 7m, 10, 12, 14m, 2000
Sung in Italian with English Surtitles

Samuel Ramey leads a cast worthy of the world's greatest opera houses.

Opera's favorite basso returns to Houston (Mefistofele, 1999) to sing the role of the prophet Zaccaria in this stirring and powerful opera, Verdi's first great "hit." Joining him are two Slavic performers: Russian baritone Sergei Leiferkus in the title role and Ukrainian soprano Maria Guleghina as his daughter Abigaille. Nabucco also marks the debut of the brilliant young Russian conductor Vladimir Jurowski at the helm of the Houston Symphony.

Verdi's score is majestic and powerful. His use of the chorus is dynamic. In fact, the opera's most famous chorus, "Va pensiero," became the unofficial national anthem of Verdi's Italy of the 1840's, so symbolic was it of the people's yearning for freedom.

Set in Babylon in 587 B.C., the opera follows King Nabucco (aka Nebuchadnezzar) as he storms Jerusalem and takes the Israelites captive. When he declares himself not only king but God, Nabucco is struck down by a bolt of lightning. He is converted and sets the Israelites free.

Nabucco. The production is epic, the cast stupendous.



Attn: Subscription Office 200466
P. O. BOX 4321
Houston, Tx 77210-9529