HGO Triumphantly Returns to Wortham with ‘Carmen’ to Kick Off 67th Season

Lynn Lane
HGO Triumphantly Returns to Wortham with ‘Carmen’ to Kick Off 67th Season

Carmen. She's mad, bad, dangerous to know, works in a cigarette factory and … she's a mezzo. Who better than Bizet's original bad girl to bring the Houston Grand Opera back to the land of the living after one of the most challenging seasons for the arts in recent history?

No doubt hearing the raucous whirlwind of notes announcing Act One of Bizet's beloved opera live and in the flesh will bring even the most jaded opera lover to tears. As HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summer put it: "Nothing stirs the soul like being in the theater for a live opera performance — nothing."

This production features Canadian-born mezzo-soprano and knockout redhead Carolyn Sproule singing the role of Carmen, a woman for whom freedom is most definitely just another word for nothing left to lose — and an excuse to drive her hapless suitor Don José, sung by tenor Richard Trey Smagur, into a jealous rage with tragic consequences.

Internationally renowned lyric soprano Heidi Stober sings the role of the chaste Micaela, and bass-baritone Christian Pursell makes his HGO debut as glamour-boy bullfighter Escamillo. The fact that Sproule, Smagur and Stober are all alumni of the HGO Studio demonstrates how Houston continues to nurture exceptional talent in the world of classical music.

At the podium will be Russian-American conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya, who is known for bringing new interpretations to staged and concert repertoire. In the wake of the #MeToo movement and recent, but still long overdue, acknowledgement of gender and racial disparity in the world of classical music, perhaps seeing a woman conduct Carmen will reveal more layers to the story of a woman who sings, "If I love you, be on your guard!"

More HGO goodies this upcoming season include the world premiere of The Snowy Day, inspired by Ezra Jack Keats's groundbreaking children's book; Mozart's phantasmagoric The Magic Flute; Poulenc's tragic Dialogues of the Carmelites; and brand-new productions of Turandot and Romeo and Juliet.

Welcome back, HGO. We missed you.

Art + Entertainment
‘Natural Passion’ Makes Fourth-Gen Houstonian Sarah Callaway Sulma a Realty Star

AS A FOURTH-generation Houstonian, Sarah Callaway Sulma has a unique and invaluable view of the city. Her deep seeded connection to Houston led her down the path to becoming one the city's most well-respected, and renowned real estate agents. Sarah's natural passion for the real estate industry from a young age led her to where she is today. "I know that it sounds cheesy, but it is the truth! I wanted to be in real estate from a young age," Sarah shares. "The late-great restaurateur, Tony Vallone, put me together with real estate legend, Martha Turner, and Martha put me together with Cathy Cagle. The rest is history-13 years of success and counting!" Now with over 13 years in real estate and $55M+ in residential real estate sales, Sarah brings a rare combination of knowledge, skill, and advocacy to each one of her clients.

Keep ReadingShow less

THE MEANING OF “cool” evolves. In the ’50s you might have thought greasers were cool, with their leather jackets à la Danny Zuko. In the ’70s, a long-haired activist or a Studio 54 reveler in Halston. In the ’80s, a Wall Street master of the universe?

Keep ReadingShow less
People + Places

Gong Cha's Pride Lemon Ai Love Yu bubble tea (photo by Jayna Kropas)

HOUSTON RESTAURANTS, BARS and other venues are getting in on the month of fun with specials and donation opportunities in celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. From glittering rainbow cake to eye-popping cocktails and rooftop movies, check out these local spots.

Keep ReadingShow less