HGO Joins Forces with Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, the Houston Ebony Opera Guild, Prairie View A&M University, and Texas Southern University for the Fourth Annual Giving Voice

Celebration of Black artists in opera and Black History Month
to take place at historic Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church

On Friday, February 24, 2023, Houston Grand Opera (HGO) will stage the fourth annual Giving Voice concert in partnership with Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, the Houston Ebony Opera Guild, Prairie View A&M University, and Texas Southern University. The fourth annual concert will be presented outside the Wortham Theater Center for the first time, at the new Cathedral of the historic Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in the Third Ward, in celebration of Black History Month.

The fourth Giving Voice will feature an awe-inspiring roster of talent including world-famous tenors George Shirley and Lawrence Brownlee; beloved soprano Nicole Heaston; HGO Studio artists Renée Richardson and Cory McGee; the world-class HGO Chorus; and the incredible choirs from the presenting partner organizations. KHOU’s Len Cannon will host the evening.

Now a beloved HGO tradition, Giving Voice was created by Brownlee in 2020 and has been replicated by companies across the country. The popular series showcases the diversity of opera artists while seeking to attract new audiences to the art form.

This year’s concert will include a mix of arias, popular songs, and spirituals and feature the debut of a new choral work by HGO Composer-in-Residence Joel Thompson, “Draw Us Near.” Thompson’s acclaimed first opera, the HGO-commissioned The Snowy Day, made its world premiere at the Wortham Theater Center in 2021.

Who:    Lawrence Brownlee, the creator of HGO’s Giving Voice series, has performed numerous lead roles with the company. He was named Male Singer of the Year at the International Opera Awards and is the recipient of honors including the Kennedy Center’s Marian Anderson Award and the OPERA NEWS Award.

George Shirley, the first African American tenor to perform a leading role at the Metropolitan Opera, has a repertoire of more than 80 operatic roles developed over a career that spans 50 years. He is the recipient of the National Medal of the Arts from President Barack Obama, this year’s OPERA NEWS Award, and numerous other honors.

Celebrated soprano Nicole Heaston, an HGO Studio alumna and veteran of the Giving Voice series, has appeared with opera companies throughout the world. Her long-standing relationship with HGO includes performing as the Countess in this season’s The Marriage of Figaro. Brownlee, Shirley, and Heaston are joined by two HGO Studio artists, soprano Renée Richardson and bass Cory McGee; the HGO Chorus; and the choirs of the Houston Ebony Opera Guild, Prairie View A&M University, and Texas Southern University. Host Len Cannon is a news anchor at KHOU 11 who has won Emmys and the prestigious Columbia University DuPont Award for his reporting.

When: Friday, February 24, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, 3826 Wheeler Ave., Houston, TX 77004

Tariff: Tickets are free to the public but require a reservation. For more information and to reserve tickets, visit HGO.org or call the Box Office at 713-228-6737.