Jake Heggies world premiere opera Last Acts is fit for an era that likes everything lithe and lean. It is not, at least not now, an opera in the traditional sense sweeping, epic, grandiose. Commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera and based on the play Some Christmas Letters by Terrence McNally, Last Acts relays a series of letters and phone calls among an actress mother, her daughter and a son from 1986 to 2006.
The relatively tiny ensemble includes ten instrumentalists accompanying three singers: Frederica von Stade (who was closely involved with the operas creation), Kristin Clayton and Keith Phares, as they move through spoken dialogue, ensemble pieces and Broadway-style solos. Heggie (who will play piano during the performance) had huge success with 2000s Dead Man Walking; Last Acts could establish him as an important player in operas evolution. 2:30 p.m. today. Through March 15. Wortham Center, 500 Texas. For a full schedule, call 713-228-6737 or visit www.houstongrandopera.org. $50 to $77.
Fri., Feb. 29, 8 p.m.; Sun., March 2, 2 p.m.; Wed., March 5, 8 p.m.; Fri., March 7, 8 p.m.; Sun., March 9, 2 p.m.; Tue., March 11, 8 p.m.; Thu., March 13, 8 p.m.; Sat., March 15, 8 p.m., 2008