"92% of last year's subscribers are returning for more," wrote HGO Director of Marketing and Communications Elizabeth Baisley in an e-mail last week.
In a press release, HGO General Director and CEO Anthony Freud said the renewal rates attest to the substantial and frequent demand for opera so long as prices are reasonable. Since last season, ticket prices have dropped about 20% overall; subscription packages for next season start at under $80.
HGO also reported an 18% increase in total contributions for the past season over 2005-06. Freud attributes the growth to tighter relationships with donors and stakeholders, which have spawned multi-year million-dollar gifts.
Among this season's performance successes were HGO's co-productions of Verdi's AÇda and Rossini's La Cenerentola. The former was produced with the English National Opera, Norwegian National Opera and San Francisco Opera; the latter with Welsh National Opera and the opera companies of Barcelona and Geneva.
Collaborations also strengthened Houston Grand Opera's new community outreach initiative, HGOco, which this year presented recitals at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston as well as Viktor Ullman's The Kaiser of Atlantis, written in and for the Nazi concentration camp at Theresienstadt, at Houston's Jewish Community Center.
Launching HGOco in its upcoming season is the Song of Houston Project, an original, large-scale musical production involving Houston's Vietnamese, African, Mexican, Central American, Soviet-era Jewish, Indian and Pakistani communities.
Houston Grand Opera's 2007-08 season begins in October with Verdi's Un ballo in maschera.