Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Utopia, Texas

Greetings - long time no see! There is much to tell since I last wrote in this space nearly two months ago (hangs head...the shame...). We're rehearsing our winter rep here at HGO, a pair of Mozart operas, both Singspiels; that simply means that recitatives, the talky bits in between arias and ensembles, are spoken rather than sung. This tradition lived on through Gilbert and Sullivan and into American musical theater. Many people are watching Sweeney Todd on movie screens now - the Demon Barber does have his link all the way back to the Bad Boy of Salzburg!

So, all Singspiel all the time - Singspielorama? Singspielapalooza? There has to be a good nickname for this rep. There certainly is a good feeling up on the sixth floor of the Wortham where we rehearse. To have the whole company involved in these two Mozart operas is to experience joy around every corner. We are all absorbed in his sublime music (yes, "sublime" is the most cliched adjective possible in this case, but what can you do? The man seems to call down the voice of heaven in every simple, direct, endlessly inventive phrase. Sublime. Sue me). In addition to that, these two pieces are so hopeful about the human condition, so loving and forgiving, so optimistic, that we all are touched and inspired by them together. ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO is a story of constancy and clemency, and THE MAGIC FLUTE is about, in various ways, humankind's best and highest aspirations. As we start another year on this planet, things shaky all around us, we in Houston have the good fortune to be surrounded for a few weeks by this voice of hope and light, Mozart himself.

So there is much to say and tell, and this time around I have friends to help with the story - guest bloggers! You'll meet several over the next few weeks. In the meantime, a few images from December, or, What we did before our Christmas vacation:

The Studio put on a program of Opera Scenes, everything from Wagner to Massenet to Ravel to Handel - fabulous stage direction by Sandra Bernhard

Recitals: a beautiful contemplative Advent-themed evening at Rienzi was followed by a more glam holiday bash at the Tasting Room

All of the above events featured the amazing pianism of Grant Loehnig and Joseph Li, the gents at the far left of this photo - the singers of the HGO Studio outdid themselves throughout December. And now their stories continue - some singspiel-related and some not. We also have a pair of world premieres coming up, plus the return of THE REFUGE...

...Son of Refuge? The Refuge Identity?

All right, no more nicknames this morning. Back to the coaching studio - but we will see you here again soon!
(oh, and you should know...there really is a Utopia, Texas, it's not just in my head or on the sixth floor of the Wortham. It's about 90 miles west of San Antonio, and it truly is beautiful).

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