Houston Grand Opera Presents World Premiere of The House without a Christmas Tree
Family-friendly holiday opera November 30–December 17 at
George R. Brown Convention Center
Houston Grand Opera (HGO) continues its series of holiday operas with the world premiere presentation of The House without a Christmas Tree by the widely admired composer/librettist team of Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek, in the HGO Resilience Theater at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
The opera is based on the uplifting story by Gail Rock and the beloved 1972 television film of the same name about a family that is healed by the holiday spirit. A precocious daughter struggles to understand her father’s resentment of the holidays and longs for a beautiful Christmas tree like other families have, to “make her house look happy.”
The opera includes a new setting of the carol “Gather Around the Christmas Tree,” sung by a juvenile chorus. The performance will be sung in English with projected text.
Several HGO Studio alumni lead the cast: soprano Lauren Snouffer stars as young Addie Mills, baritone Daniel Belcher plays her father, and soprano Heidi Stober (now singing Cleopatra in Julius Caesar) takes the roles of the adult Adelaide Mills, her mother, Helen, and Addie’s teacher, Miss Thompson. Soprano Patricia Schuman sings Grandma Mills, and the role of Carla Mae will be taken by HGO Studio alumna Megan Mikailovna Samarin (now playing Sextus in Julius Caesar). Young tenor Maximillian Macias will sing Billy Wild, and soprano Elisabeth Leone will sing Gloria Cott.
The House without a Christmas Tree is the third opera for HGO by Ricky Ian Gordon and the second by Royce Vavrek. This is their first collaboration after their critically acclaimed opera 27, premiered by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 2014.
HGO has transformed an exhibit hall in the convention center into an intimate theater after being displaced from its creative home at the Wortham Theater Center by Hurricane Harvey. Every seat is less than 100 feet from the stage and the productions give audiences insight into and connection to the theatrical process, in what HGO is calling “unconventional opera.”
Tickets for the new venue are available at HGO.org. Group discounts are available. Parking for HGO’s performances will be available at the Avenida North garage located at 1815 Rusk Street, across from HGO’s new venue. A sky bridge connects the parking garage to the GRB, and there is clear signage directing patrons to the theater. For more information, go to www.houstongrandopera.org.