Operas to be released as a double bill in November
On Friday, November 27, Houston Grand Opera will present a double billing of Bon Appétit! and The Impresario.
Renowned mezzo-soprano and HGO Studio alumna Jamie Barton delights as Julia Child in Lee Hoiby’s one-woman opera, Bon Appétit! Based on an episode of Child’s TV program, The French Chef, this short, critically acclaimed confection, directed by HGO Studio alumnus Ryan McKinny, brings audiences into the chef’s storied kitchen as she bakes a chocolate cake.
Mozart’s The Impresario—featuring warring divas, a show within a show, and one of the composer’s greatest overtures—gets an English-language retelling from playwright Jim Luigs, the man behind hysterical musical Das Barbecü, based on Wagner’s Ring cycle. The work’s drama-filled auditions take place, appropriately enough, over Zoom. The opera will be conducted by HGO Principal Guest Conductor Eun Sun Kim and directed by General and Artistic Director of OPERA San Antonio E. Loren Meeker.
Bon Appétit! and The Impresario will be streamed back-to-back. Audiences can view this HGO Digital double bill for free for one month following its release.
Who: Critically acclaimed by virtually every major outlet covering classical music, American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton will sing the role of Julia Child in Bon Appétit! She has been described by The Guardian as “a great artist, no question, with an imperturbable steadiness of tone, and a nobility of utterance that invites comparison not so much with her contemporaries as with mid-20th century greats such as Kirsten Flagstad.” In recognition of her iconic performance at the Last Night of the Proms, Barton was named 2020 Personality of the Year at the BBC Music Magazine Awards. She is also increasingly recognized for how she uses her powerful instrument offstage—lifting up women, queer people, and other marginalized communities.
Praised by the Houston Chronicle for her “warm supple soprano” and by the New York Times for her “radiant” and “handsomely resonant voice,” renowned soprano Nicole Heaston will take on the role of auditioning singer Yolanda Cantrell in The Impresario. Internationally acclaimed soprano Nova Thomas, whose repertoire includes the heroines of La Traviata, Il Trovatore, Norma, Otello, Aida, Un Ballo in Maschera, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly, among many others, will sing the role of the impresario, known as Edna Mendenhall in this new version of the opera. Tenor Frederick Ballentine, who made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera as Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess last season, performs the role of agent Wiley Stonecrop. Bowie Krebs will be sung by second-year HGO Studio artist, bass William Guanbo Su, the second-place winner in HGO’s 2019 Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias. Soprano and first-year HGO Studio artist Raven McMillon will sing the role of Rona Richards.
When: Friday, Nov. 27, 7:30 p.m. CT
Where: Stream the recital for free on your computer, tablet, or smartphone by logging into HGO.org or marquee.tv.
Or stream the recital on your television by accessing the Marquee TV app using your Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, or other device.