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Subject: HGO - new home for three operas
From: David H Spence <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:David H Spence <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 26 Sep 2017 01:46:51 -0400

text/plain (45 lines)

It is, I kid you not, Exhibit Hall A3 in the George Brown Convention Center on the east side 
of downtown Houston, with a combination of floor and stadium seating surrounding what 
area will be used for orchestra and the stage - for an intimate feel for the experience. In 
other words, nobody will be seated further than a hundred feet from the performers.  Just a 
couple of weeks ago, the GRB Convention Center was used as a shelter for flood victims.

The three operas are La Traviata, Handel's Giulio Cesare, and something called House 
Without a Christmas Tree, as you can find on the Houston Grand Opera website.  The 
season opens on October 20th with the Verdi - in a new production by Arin Arbus, 
conducted by Eun Sun Kim (HGO debut).

I am fine, really more like neither here nor there actually for seeking out the unconventional 
for staging venues.  My major concern most of all regards acoustics.  What will all the 
reverb be like and what is possible for HGO to do on such short notice to counteract it?  
Beggars can't be choosers, necessarily, but still ......

Back in the 1970's, the Houston Symphony 'experimentally' tried doing Mahler 3 in the Field 
House (gymnasium) on the Rice University campus, Clyde Roller conducting.  There was not 
a Alice P Brown building, thereby no Stude Hall as of yet.  Acoustically that got reported on 
as being a mess, everything blurring together.  It all could've turned out sounding like poor 
man's Charles ives, almost.  I wasn't there; I can only limit myself to relying on a little 
imagination regarding something like this.

As an aside, interesting that there is an Elektra later on this season, for which no new venue 
has been located as of yet.  Strauss may have been thinking of the Nietzsche fourth 
movement from Mahler Three when composing some of the quieter, more introspective 
lines in the part of Klytaemnestra.  Regina Resnik was great at singing both.

Just my take on a highly unusual situation and attempt at solving it.

David H Spence

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