Houston Grand Opera
510 Preston Street Houston, Texas 77002-1594
Tel. (713) 546-0200 Fax (713) 228-4355
General Director David Gockley and Music Director Patrick Summers Announce
Houston Grand Opera's

46th Season
which begins Friday, October 20th, 2000 with a new production of
Bizet's Carmen



Georges Bizet's

George Bizet's CARMEN Presented by The Houston Grand Opera from October 20 through November 11, 2000 at The Wortham Center.


New production

The 46th season opens with Bizet's sensual and provocative Carmen, often cited as the
most popular opera in the repertory. French mezzo-soprano Beatrice Uria-Monzon makes her Houston Grand Opera Debut in the title role. Ms. Uria-Monzon garnered rave reviews recently at
the Met, where "her vocalism and vivid characterization produced a Carmen to remember."
Argentinian tenor Luis Lima returns as Don Jose, the unwitting corporal who is powerless to
resist opera's greatest femme fatale and ends up losing everything, including his freedom.
American bass Mark S. Doss returns as the glamorous toreador Escamillo, Don Jose's rival for
Carmen's affections. Romanian soprano Adina Nitescu debuts as Micaela, Don Jose's innocent
intended fiance and Hungarian bass Jozsef Gregor returns as Zuniga, Don Jose's superior officer
and captain of the guards.
The altemate - cast performances feature a pair of Americans and former artists of the
Houston Grand Opera Studio, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Novacek and tenor Raymond Very as
Carmen and Don Jose respectively.
Making his Houston Grand Opera debut, British director Ron Daniels will, with Cuban
set designer Riccardo Hernandez, costume designer Constance Hoffman, and lighting designer
James Ingalls, create a Seville saturated with color and warmth. The eminent French maestro
Alain Lombard will conduct the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra.
Carmen is sung in Italian with English surtities. The production opens on October 20,
with further performances on October 22m, 25, 28m(altemate cast), 28, 31, November 2, 3, 5m,
8 (altemate cast), and 11(altemate cast), 2000. The season-opening performance begins at 7:00
p.m., with the remaining evenings beginning at 7:30 p.m. and matinees beginning at 2:00 p.m.
Carmen is a co-production of Houston Grand Opera, Opera Pacific, and Michigan Opera
Theater with major funding support provided by Conoco.


Leos Janacek's


New production

American soprano Catherine Malfitano (Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, 1997), one of the
world's greatest singing actresses, returns as Katya, a woman tom between her duty to her
husband, Tikhon (American tenor Neil Rosenshein), and her forbidden passion for Boris
Grigorjevic (Austrian tenor Kurt Schreibmayer in his HGO debut). Katya interprets a violent
storm as a divine indicator of her sins and confesses her infidelity to Tikhon and her domineering
mother-in-law, Kabanicha (American mezzo-soprano Katherine Ciesinski). Unable to continue
life in the stifling Kabanova household, Katya meets Boris one last time before drowning herself
in the Volga. The cast is rounded out by American mezzo-soprano Zheng Cao as Varvara,
foster-child of the Kabanovas; Hungarian bass Jozsef Gregor as Dikoy, Boris's uncle; and
American tenor Gordon Gietz as Kudrjas, a clerk of Dikoy's. Mr. Schreibmayer, Mr. Gietz, and
Ms. Cao are making their Houston Grand Opera debuts.
American David Alden (Macbeth, 1997) returns to direct Janacek's brilliant and
psychologically taut opera. Alden's design team includes British set and lighting designer
Charles Edwards (Macbeth, 1997) and British costume designer Jon Morrell in his HGO
debut. Israeli conductor Asher Fisch makes his HGO debut leading the Houston Symphony.
Katya Kabanova is sung in Czech with English surtitles. The production opens on
October 27, with further performances on October 29m, November 1, 4, 7, 9, 10, and 12m, 2000. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and matinees begin at 2:00 p.m.
Katya Kabanova is a co-production of Houston Grand Opera and The Dallas Opera with
major funding support provided by NL Industries, Inc.



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's


Houston Grand Opera opens the winter repertory with a revival of its beloved production
of Cosi fan tutte, Mozart's perfect, and perfectly delightful, ensemble opera. Crafty Don Alfonso
(Italian bass Alfonso Antoniozzi in his HGO debut) sets out to prove to two young men,
Ferrando (American tenor Richard Croft) and Guglielmo (American baritone Nathan Gunn),
that all women are fickle. Don Alfonso tells the sisters, Fiordiligi (American soprano Christine
Goerke) and Dorabella (American mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato), that their fiances have
joined the army and the sisters are left at home. With the assistance of the sisters' maid, Despina
(American mezzo soprano Judith Christin), Don Alfonso introduces them to a pair of
"Albanians," actually Ferrando and Guglielmo in disguise. After being pursued relentlessly by
the Albanians, the sister's engage in a little flirtation that results in a mock double wedding.
When the fiances return unexpectedly from "battle," the trick is ultimately revealed, leaving the
young lovers a bit wiser. Ms. Goerke, Mr. Croft, and Mr. Gunn are all making their Houston Grand Opera debuts.
HGO Music Director Patrick Summers conducts the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra.
American director Harry Silverstein (Don Giovanni, 1999) directs the late Goran Jarvefelt's
production with sets and costumes by German designer Carl Friedrich Oberle (Don Giovanni,
1999) and lighting by American lighting designer Ken Billington (Madame Butterfly, 1999).
Cosi fan tutte is sung in Italian with English surtitles. The production opens January 19,
with further performances on January 21m, 24, 27, 30, February 2, 4m, and 10 (alternate cast),
2001. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and matinees begin at 2:00 p.m.
Major funding support for Cosi fan tutte provided by Texaco.





Houston Grand Opera presents the first performance of Borodin's Russian epic Prince Igor in the company's 46 - year history. The opera follows the fortunes of Prince Igor Sviatoslavich and his people following his capture by the exotic Polovtsian tribe led by Khan Konchak. Featuring a rich oriental flavor, powerful choruses and riveting dance sequences, Prince Igor promises to provide an unforgettable experience of Russian opera at its grandest. Much of the music in Borodin's splendid score will already be familiar to audience members, either through its popularization in the musical Kismet (the melody of "Stranger in Paradise") or through its performance as symphonic excerpts (the famous "Polovtsian Dances").
The mostly-Russian cast, steeped in the tradition of the Bolshoi and Mariinsky (Kirov) Theaters, promises authentic and idiomatic performances of this Russian masterpiece. Acclaimed Russian baritone Sergei Leiferkus (HGO's Nabucco last season) takes the title role, and Bulgarian soprano Zvetelina Vassileva makes her HGO debut as his wife Yaroslavna. Russian tenor Vsevolod Grivnov returns to Houston to sing Igor's son Vladimir Igorevich. Rounding out the principal roles are Russian bass Vladimir Ognovenko as Prince Galitsky, Russian bass-baritone Vladimir Vaneev as the Polovtsian leader Khan Konchak and Georgian mezzo - soprano Mzia Nioradze as his daughter Konchakovna. These last three artists are making their HGO debuts.



Claudio Monteverdi's


New production

Taking a journey back to the very beginnings of opera, Houston Grand Opera will mount
a historically informed production of Monteverdi's masterpiece The Coronation of Poppea in the
Cullen Theater. Set in Rome AD 65, the Roman Emperor Nero (American male soprano
Michael Maniaci, winner of the 1999 McCollum Competition) has taken as his mistress the
scheming Poppea (Canadian mezzo-soprano Meredith Hall) much to the dismay of Ottone
(Canadian counter-tenor Matthew White) who loves Poppea. Nero announces his intention to
banish his wife Ottavia (American mezzo-soprano Stephanie Novacek) and marry Poppea.
Ottavia orders Ottone to murder Poppea in her sleep, but she awakens during his attempt and he is
ultimately condemned to death. The opera concludes with the imperial coronation of Poppea.
Mr. Maniaci and Mr. White are making their HGO debuts.
A collaboration with Toronto's Opera Atelier, Canadian director Marshall Pynkoski
(Orfeo, 1999) returns to direct The Coronation of Poppea. The all-Canadian design team
includes sets by Gerard Gauci (debut), costumes by Dora Rust-D'Eye (Orfeo, 1999), and
lighting by Kevin Fraser (Orfeo, 1999).
The Coronation of Poppea is sung in Italian with English surtitles. The production opens
on March 2, with further performances on March 4m, 8, 10, 11m, 13, 15, 16, 17, and 18m, 2001.
Evening performances begin at 8:00 p.m. and matinees begin at 2:30 p.m.
The Coronation of Poppea is a co-production of Houston Grand Opera and Opera Atelier.



Giuseppe Verdi's


New production

After an absence of twenty years, Verdi's Don Carlo returns to Houston Grand Opera
with a rare opportunity to hear the five-act version that includes the famous "Fontainebleau"
scene. To mark the end of the war between Spain and France in 1560, Don Carlo (Mexican tenor
Ramon Vargas), son of King Philip of Spain, is betrothed to the French princess, Elisabetta de
Valois (Italian soprano Carla Maria Izzo in her HGO debut). The two meet in Fontainebleau
and fall in love, but news arrives from the Spanish court that King Philip (American bass Samuel
Ramey) has decided to wed Elisabetta himself. American tenor Stephen O'Mara (Radames in
1999 Aida) will sing the role of Don Carlo on May 1 and 5, 2001.
At a masked ball, Elisabetta and Princess Eboli (French mezzo-soprano Beatrice Uria-
Monzon) exchange costumes. Don Carlo, mistaking Eboli for Elisabetta, confesses his love and
Eboli threatens to reveal all to the King. Later at an inquisition, Don Carlo defies King Philip and
is arrested by the Grand Inquisitor (American bass Dale Travis). Rodrigo (American baritone
Dwayne Croft in his HGO debut), leader of the Flemish rebels, visits Don Carlo in his cell.
Rodrigo is shot by the King's men and, upon dying, tells Don Carlo that Elisabetta will come to
him tomorrow at the monastery of San Yuste. King Philip arrives at the monastery with the
Grand Inquisitor to arrest him, but the figure of Charles V appears and takes Don Carlo to safety.
Music Director Patrick Summers conducts the Houston Symphony. In his HGO debut,
Spanish director Emilio Sagi directs the production that features sets and costumes by American
designer Zack Brown.
Don Carlo is sung in Italian with English surtities. The production opens on April 20,
with further performances on April 22m, 25, 27, 29m, May l(alternate cast), and 5(altemate cast),
2001. Evening performances begin at 7:00 p.m. and matinees be& at 1:30 p.m.
Don Carlo is a production from the San Francisco Opera.


Daniel Catan's



Houston Grand Opera concludes the 2000-2001 season with a revival of its most popular world
premiere to date, Daniel Catan's Florencia en el Amazonas. Based upon the writings of Nobel
Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia MArquez, Florencia adapts his signature style, Magic
Realism, to the opera house.
During the early 1900s, the reclusive diva Florencia Grimaldi (Spanish soprano Ainhoa
Arteta in her HGO debut) embarks on a journey down the Amazon River, a trip she made 20
years before with her lover, Cristobal. Her mission: to perform at the opera house in Manaus.
Her desire: to find Cristobal. With the other travelers - Rosalba (American soprano Ana Maria
Martinez), a young writer who's blossoming into womanhood; a married couple, Paula
(American mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzman) and Alvaro (American baritone Hector Vasquez),
who have lost the capacity to love; the Captain (Mexican bass Rosendo Flores); and the mythical
Riolobo (American bass Mark S. Doss) - Florencia will be tested by nature and transformed by
the supernatural. Mr. Flores is making his Houston Grand Opera debut.
Patrick Summers, HGO's music director, will conduct the Houston Grand Opera
Orchestra. American director Francesca Zambello and lighting designer Paul Pyant will return
to recreate the production which features sets by Robert Israel and costumes by Catherine
Florencia en el Amazonas is sung in Spanish with English surtitles. The production opens
on April 28, with further performances on May 2, 4, 6m, 8, 11, and 13m, 2001. Evening
performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and matinees begin at 2:00 p.m.
Florencia en el Amazonas is a co-production of Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles
Opera, Opera de Colombia, and Seattle Opera, in association with Opera de Bellas Artes and
Festival Internacional Cervantino.
Major funding provided by Shell Oil Company Foundation.


Houston Grand Opera performs at the Wortham Theater Center in Houston's Donwtown
Theater District. Opened in 1987, the Wortham Center features the 2,400 seat Brown Theater and
the 1,100 seat Cullen Theater. The Wortham is located at Texas and Smith.

The Southwestern Bell Pre-Curtain Lecture Series is offered thirty minutes before each
performance. Guest speakers present a 20-minute informal lecture on the sixth floor of the Grand
Foyer. These presentations, free and open to all ticket holders, are intended to enhance
the audience's enjoyment by preparing them for the production they are about to attend.
T'he Wortham Theater Center features easy wheelchair access to both theaters, with a
choice of seating locations and ticket prices. An infrared listening system, generously
underwritten by Pennzoil-Quaker State Company, is available and free of charge at all
performances. Please call HGO Subscriptions at (713) 546-0246 or 1 (800) 346-4462 for details.
Descriptive services for persons with vision loss are available with 48-hour advance reservations.
Please call HGO Education and Outreach at (713) 546-0231 for details.

Subscriptions for the 2000-2001 season, priced from $130 to $1,260, go on sale January
31, 2000 through the Houston Grand Opera Subscription Office. Members of the public who wish
to be placed on Houston Grand Opera's mailing list should write the company at 510 Preston,
Houston, TX 77002, or should phone 713-546-0246 or 1-800-346-4462. Information and
subscriptions are also available at Houston Grand Opera's website


General Director David Gockley and Music Director Patrick Summers Announce
Houston Grand Opera's

46th Season
which begins Friday, October 20th, 2000 with a new production of
Bizet's Carmen

HOUSTON, TX - With a season that reflects increased public interest in diverse repertoire,
Houston Grand Opera's General Director David Gockley has announced the productions for the
company's 46th international season. Tle 2000-2001 season will offer 58 performances of seven
different operas including masterpieces by Verdi, Mozart, Bizet, JanAcek, and Monteverdi, the
company's first mounting of an opera by Anton Rubinstein, and the revival of a recent opera by
Daniel Catlin. The season begins on Friday, October 20, 2000 and concludes Sunday, May 13, 2001.

"Our 2000-2001 season will be distinctive for many reasons, most prominently our first
production of the rare opera by Anton Rubinstein, The Demon. Add to that, the five-act version
of Verdi's Don Carlo led by Samuel Ramey and Ramon Vargas; a "period" production of
Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea; a fresh new production of Bizet's Carmen; an
electrifying portrayal of Janicek's Kalya Kabanova by Catherine Malfitano; and revivals of
Mozart's Cosi fan tutte and our most popular world premiere to date, Daniel Catan's Florencia
en el Amazonas, and you have a season that has something for everyone," stated David Gockley.

Gockley noted that the company's 46th season includes five major, new and new-to-
Houston productions. T'hese include Bizet's Carmen as directed by Ron Daniels; Janacek's
Katya Kabanova as directed by David Alden; Rubinstein's The Demon as directed by Francesca
Zambello; Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea as directed by Marshall Pynkoski; and
Verdi's Don Carlo as conceived by Emilio Sagi.

"Our brilliant Music Director Patrick Summers presides over his first Houston Grand
Opera production conducting Cosi fan tutte, as well as Florencia en el Amazonasco and Don
Carlo. Conductors Asher Fisch, Alexander Anissimov, and Alain Lombard make their
Houston Grand Opera debuts conducting Katya Kabanova, The Demon, and Carmen respectively, and David Fallis returns to conduct The Coronation of Poppea, " Gockley said.

"Few opera companies in the world offer the opera lover such a wide range of
possibilities. Houston Grand Opera's 2000-2001 season is a virtual history of opera. I can hardly
wait to get in the pit next season," added Maestro Patrick Summers.

The Houston Grand Opera Orchestra plays all productions except Katya Kabanova and
Don Carlo, which will be performed by the Houston Symphony. Richard Bado will be the
chorus master for the Houston Grand Opera Chorus for all seven operas.

Returning for Houston Grand Opera's 2000-2001 season are sopranos Catherine
Malfitano, and Ana Maria Martinez; mezzo- sopranos Judith Christin, Katherine Ciesinski,
Joyce DiDonato, Suzanna Guzmin, and Stephanie Novacek; tenors Vsevolod Grivnov, Luis
Lima, Neil Rosenshein, and Ramon Vargas; baritones Sergei Leiferkus, and Hector Vasquez;
and basses Mark S. Doss, Jozsef Gregor and Samuel Ramey.

Making their HGO debuts during the 2000-2001 season are sopranos Ainhoa Arteta,
Christine Goerke, Carla Maria Izzo, Adina Nitescu, and Zvetelina Vassileva; mezzo-
sopranos Zheng Cao and Beatrice Uria-Monzon; male soprano Michael Maniaci; counter-
tenor Matthew White; tenors Charles Castronovo, Richard Croft, Gordon Gietz, Gerald
Isaac, and Kurt Schreibmayer; baritones Dwayne Croft and Nathan Gunn; and basses
Alfonso Antoniozzi, Rosendo Flores, and Vladimir Ognovenko.

Seven-Opera season includes:
A rare production of Anton Rubinstein's The Demon, a revival of
Daniel Catin's Florencia en el Amazonas, Katya Kabanova, Cosifan tutte,
The Coronation of Poppea, and the epic five-act version of Don Carlo

Roster of international singers includes:
Alfonso Antoniozzi, Ainhoa Arteta, Zheng Cao, Judith Christin,
Katherine Ciesinski, Dwayne Croft, Richard Croft, Joyce DiDonato,
Mark S. Doss, Rosendo Flores, Gordon Gietz, Christine Goerke,
Jozsef Gregor, Vsevolod Grivnov, Nathan Gunn, Suzanna Guzmin, Gerald Isaac,
Carla Maria Izzo, Sergei Leiferkus, Luis Lima, Catherine Mairitano,
Michael Maniaci, Ana Maria Martinez, Adina Nitescu, Stephanie Novacek,
Vladimir Ognovenko, Stephen O'Mara, Samuel Ramey, Neil Rosenshein,
Kurt Schreibmayer, Dale Travis, Beatrice Uria-Monzon, Ramon Vargas,
Hector Vasquez, Zvetelina Vassileva, and Matthew White

Alexander Anissimov, David Failis, Asher-Fitch,
Alain Lombard, and Patrick Summers

David Alden, Ron Daniels, Marshall Pynkoski,
Harry Silverstein, Emilio Sagi and Francesca Zambello

Ken Billington, Zack Brown, Charles Edwards, Kevin Fraser, Gerard Gauci,
Riccardo Hernandez, Constance Hoffman, James Ingalls, Robert Israel,
Marie-Jeanne Lecca, Jon Morrell, Carl Friedrich Oberle, Paul Pyant,
Dora Rust-D'Eye, and Catherine Zuber