The season, the first under new general director Anthony Freud, was mostly planned by former general director David Gockley, according to the Houston Chronicle. Freud, who begins his tenure next month, did choose Vixen as a last-minute replacement for another production, the paper says.
Conspicuously absent from the schedule are contemporary works and world premieres, a hallmark of the Gockley era. A statement from Freud accompanying the season announcement seems to acknowledge the departure. "In particular, this season's repertory will highlight the HGO Orchestra and Chorus, two hometeam ensembles of which Houston should be enormously proud," the statement reads in part. "Above all, this season will offer magnificent singing and incredible stories."
Music director Patrick Summers adds, "The most important element of this season is that it provides perfect opportunities for families to experience opera together."
According to the Chronicle, Summers and Freud talked with Andr_ Previn about writing a new work for 2006-07 season before deciding that there wasn't time to bring it to fruition. The conductor and composer of A Streetcar Named Desire may yet write a new work for a subsequent HGO season.
The season opens October 21 with a Royal Opera Covent Garden production of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, featuring Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Simon Boccanegra and Olga Guryakova making her HGO debut as Amelia Grimaldi. Patrick Summers conducts; Elijah Moshinsky directs; sets are by Michael Yeargan.
A new production of Rossini's La Cenerentola will run in January and February, featuring Joyce DiDonato as Cinderella. Edoardo M‹ller conducts; Joan Font directs; sets and costumes are by Joan Guill_n. The Cunning Little Vixen will run in May; Patrick Summers conducts; casting and production information will be announced later.
Other highlights include Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel (cast to be announced), Mozart's Don Giovanni, Gounod's Faust, and Verdi's Aida.