Both the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal published stories this week on Houston Grand Opera, praising the company's quality work and touting its initiatives in audience development.
The Times noted that since HGO's former general director David Gockley's departure in 2005, the company's media profile has slipped even though it continues to produce worthwhile fare. Steve Smith wrote in his review of HGO's recent Dead Man Walking and Lucia di Lammermoor: "Clearly the work being done here is on a par with almost anything the company has undertaken, and in some ways finer. [Director Anthony] Freud might consider beating the drum more loudly."
Smith also pointed out that HGO continues to launch the international careers of opera performers through its Studio Program.
The Wall Street Journal focused its attention on the company's HGOco program, which brings opera to Houston's communities, "on their terms," as Freud said. If the Times was asking Freud to beat his drum louder, WSJ writer Judith H. Dobrzynsky allowed Freud to pound out his abstract vision for what he thinks American opera companies should be doing to advance the 400-year-old art form into the future, though Freud never pinpoints how to determine the success of such an endeavor beyond turning a handful of non-opera-goers into potential ticket-buyers or producing some new works that could see productions outside Houston.
All we think it takes is producing an opera about a tragic blonde bombshell.
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But hey, the WSJ worked up a nifty illustration of Freud: