Year in Revue

HGO offers forthcoming highlights from new season with Studio Showcase.

By Jenn Nguyen September 1, 2015

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Houston Grand Opera starts its 2015/16 season with its annual Studio Showcase

Image: Lynn Lane

Rising performers from the Houston Grand Opera Studio will kick off the 2015/2016 performance season with an annual talent showcase on September 10 and 12 at the Cullen Theater. The production will serve as the HGO Studio artists’ introduction to Houston’s flourishing arts community.

HGO Studio’s fully staged show features scenes from seven renowned operas, including The Marriage of Figaro, Susannah and Carmen. Each scene is thoughtfully selected with the participating young artists in mind and will highlight each of the nine singers’ and three pianists’ musical fortes.

“Opera is inherently collaborative,” says Opera Studio Director Brian Speck. “It’s always a conversation for artists to have with stage directors…we’re always finding ways to collaborate and understand what is best for the performers.”

Speck often works in tandem with the program’s artists, providing them career advice and determining what will help reinforce their musical education. As seen from the careful coordination of the annual showcase, HGO Studio always takes the artists’ musical and professional needs into great consideration. When the Studio began developing this year’s showcase in March, the directors began crafting a list of scenes and songs that would best suit the artists, which include pieces from traditional arias and more contemporary compositions.

“It’s almost like looking into a crystal ball,” says D’Ana Lombard, a second-year HGO Studio soprano. “They think, ‘will this work for them? Can we see them performing this in 10 years?’ All the choices fit perfectly for each of our voices.”

Like Lombard, mezzo-soprano Megan Samarin is a second-year HGO Studio performer who is looking forward to participating in the annual showcase again. 

“I’m coming in with an entirely new head space and confidence,” Samarin says. “Now that the nerves are out of the way, I can focus on being the best that I can be.”

Samarin, who will also star in HGO’s productions of O Columbia and Eugene Onegin later this year, hopes that the showcase will be the beginning of great things to come.

“My goal is to continue singing and I’ll take whatever opportunity comes my way,” she says.

Sept 10 and 12. 8. $15. Cullen Theater at Wortham Theater Center, 550 Prairie St., 713-228-6737. houstongrandopera.org

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