The Houston Grand Opera will open its season Oct. 20 in a space a press release describes as “unconventional, ” though the space is used for some of the city’s largest conventions: downtown Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center.
The opera company will launch its 2017-18 season in Exhibit Hall A3 of the massive convention center. The site will host performances of Verdi’s “La Traviata,” Handel’s “Julius Caesar,” and the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s “The House Without a Christmas Tree.”
The Wortham Center, home of the Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Ballet, sustained serious damage due to rains from Hurricane Harvey last month. The theater complex will undergo repairs and renovations and is expected to reopen in May 2018.
The convention center served as a shelter for thousands of storm victim for several weeks and is preparing to reopen for business.
The new space will offer an unprecedented level of flexibility, as producers and set designers will be able to arrange staging and seating to accommodate each production. The configuration will include 1,700 seats, both floor and stadium-style, which will allow all audience members to be within 100 feet of the stage.
HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers released a statement that said, in part, “our artists and creative teams are excited to take advantage of the extraordinary possibilities” that come with performing in the convention center exhibit hall.
“Opera companies around the world are performing in new and unusual venues,” the statement also said. “We are fortunate to have the freedom in this new venue to customize the space to fit our unique needs and to maintain the artistic integrity of the productions.”