For the first time in many years, Houston Grand Opera will offer a free live simulcast of its newest production, Chorus! from the stage of the Wortham Theater Center in downtown. We're calling this event CityCast.

It represents the return of the popular and much-missed HGO event “Plazacasts.” These free live transmissions to Fish Plaza, directly in front of the Wortham Theater Center , were very popular events which would bring thousands of people downtown to enjoy a performance at HGO in a casual, family-friendly outdoor setting.

This year we're streaming to Discovery Green and five Houston area schools, where people can enjoy watching the performance for free!

We think CityCast is a great idea! What do you think? Got any fun memories from Plazacast days? Please share!

Little Mermaid at the Heinen Theatre

This week's blog is by Erin Bales, who recently played the lead in the Heinen Theatre Matinee performances of Dvorak's Little Mermaid.

The Little Mermaid has always been one of my favorite stories. I used to watch the Disney movie constantly as a little girl, read mermaid stories, and I always pretended to be a mermaid when I was in the swimming pool during the summer. So when I learned I was going to play Rusalka, the little mermaid herself, in this winter's Opera to Go! show, I was very excited!
But before all the fun of performing and touring could happen, there had to be some work.

We all had to get together and learn the music and staging for the show at Houston Community College. We only had two weeks to learn everything – so we had better work fast!

First, each singer met individually with our musical director Kade Smith and our wonderful pianist Youngha Guk. We worked on learning all the correct pitches and rhythms. Since opera is storytelling through song, it was very important that we get all of that right! After each of us knew our parts, we began staging – learning our acting parts and choreography. It was a lot of fun for all of us to be together learning our dance moves and really getting into our characters. And after two weeks of intense concentration and memorization, it was very rewarding to be able to perform at HCC's Heinen Theatre for one week.

The set and costumes were amazing – they really made us feel like we were under the sea. And now the show was no longer work, it was pure fun. It's hard to believe that only two weeks ago we were all just learning these parts.

Thanks to Houston Community College and Heinen Theatre, the Little Mermaid is now ready to tour!

High School Voice Studio Winter Recital

This week's blog is from Krystal Hargrove, a member of the Houston Grand Opera High School Voice Studio. She writes about her experiences during the HSVS Winter Recital.

Performing for the first time in front of an unbiased audience was an absolutely amazing experience! It opened my eyes to the possibilities I have as a performer and just how the High School Voice Studio is helping me to attain them. Though nervous beyond anything I've ever felt, I was comforted by the other members of the studio as well as Mr. Smith, Ms. Gianni, and my wonderful accompanist Yungha. I finally grasped the "it takes a village to raise a child" concept that evening.

Everyone who helped me reach this vocal milestone was there showing their support. As I began singing, the whole environment instantly felt warm and affable. I knew then no one was out to tell me I missed a note or rhythm. The only regret was that I didn't get to hear my peers perform. Part of being in the HSVS is hearing and adapting to your growth vocally. Individually I believe we noticed our growth, but just didn't have a chance to share it with each other. My favorite part of the evening was meeting everyone afterwards. It was such a blast to meet everyone╩╝s families, hear feedback on myself, and of course eat cookies! Yet the one moment that I'll never forget is when two adorable girls approached me for an autograph. I realized that I wasn't just a performer, but that I could also be an inspiration. This is why music is my passion. The HSVS gave me a night I'll never forget!