From the OperaPulse News Desk
Houston, TX – As many opera companies continue to adjust to the financial hardship set on by the recession, two companies in Houston, Texas are positioned for growth under exciting new leadership. Opera lovers around the world are familiar with the Houston Grand Opera but many may be unaware of another professional Houston company that, “exists to provide a stage for emerging performers and to bring affordable opera to Houston” – Opera in the Heights. Both companies have seen exciting shifts/additions to their artistic staff that points to an opera audience in Houston begging for more. While Opera in the Heights appoints a new Artistic Director , Houston Grand Opera realigns their leadership as General Director, Anthony Freud departs to accept the lead position at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. HGO also announced that, “despite the continued instability of the economy, 2011 has been one of the most successful years in the company’s history.” It’s a great time to be an opera lover in Houston! More detail below…
Opera in the Heights New Leadership
The Board of Directors of Opera in the Heights (Oh!) announced the appointment of Enrique Carreón-Robledo as its new Artistic Director. After a year of searching and engaging guest conductors, Oh! selected Maestro Carreón-Robledo, who conducted Don Carlo for the opera in January of this year.
Maestro Carreón-Robledo was born and grew up in Mexico City, where he received his initial higher education in music and conducting. He attended the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He continued his undergraduate music education in California, and earned his master’s degree in Music from the University of Mississippi, and then completed doctoral studies at the University of Texas in Austin in Drama (stage directing) and Musical Arts (conducting).
A well-rounded interpreter of opera, ballet, and symphonic repertoire, the new Maestro also has experience in arts administration. He has guest conducted throughout Europe, the Americas, and the Middle and Far East.
Maestro Carreón-Robledo said, “Opera in the Heights is a company of great achievements and enormous potential, a combination that makes it the ideal place to settle as an Artistic Director looking into the future in pursuit of the highest artistic standards. I embrace its mission and I shall continue, as I have done all through my professional life, to devote my talents, abilities, expertise, and artistic efforts to the discovery and support of outstanding emerging talent. I join the board of directors, staff, and every member of the artistic family in their commitment to bring affordable opera to the greater Houston area.”
HGO’s New Leadership
Patrick Summers said, “I am as honored by the Houston Grand Opera board’s confidence as I am grateful to have been mentored by two extraordinary leaders during my tenure as the company’s Music Director. I thank David Gockley, who brought me to Houston in the late 1990s, for the many years we worked together. Most especially, I wish to acknowledge my colleague Anthony Freud, with whom I have enjoyed the most inspired and rewarding artistic partnership of my life over these past six seasons. I look forward to the success he will undoubtedly have with Chicago’s historic company.
“My initial attraction to Houston Grand Opera has greatly deepened during my years here. In this precarious time for the arts in the United States, HGO has managed to constantly re-define what an arts company could look like in a young and growing American city. HGO is an institution reflective of its city: it is entrepreneurial, inspired by bold ideas. It prefers to climb new mountains rather than stroll through the familiar hills. It is not simply a European Opera house dropped into an American city, waiting for adherents; it is a uniquely American institution, a model for the future of many arts organizations in our nation. Our main objective is to produce great opera, and to make this inspiring art form as available and affordable as possible, while breaking down the social clichés that are unfairly attached to the performing arts.
“In addition to producing the finest performances we can during our seasons, I want to rigorously address an area I feel to be vital not just to HGO, but to American culture: arts education. As governments relentlessly cut the arts from schools, the responsibilities for arts education will increasingly move to arts companies and to the artisans who populate them. We have a moral imperative as artists: to be more than simply the guardians of an honestly great tradition, but to also begin to assume the mantle of educators. Tradition, it must be remembered, is only truly honored by innovation.”