Houston Grand Opera

When you think of show business…theater, plays, operas or other art forms…you probably think “New York or LA,” right?

Did you know though–that The Houston Theater District is ranked second in the nation for the number of theater seats in a concentrated downtown area and is one of only five cities with permanent professional resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines of opera, ballet, music, and theater.

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Last weekend, I saw Rigoletto, an opera sung entirely in Italian. It’s also a classic, based on a play written and performed back in the 1850’s in Europe.

“It is one of the most enduring operas in the repertory. Its title role is regarded as one of the most demanding ever written for a baritone, both musically and dramatically,” according to The Houston Theater District http://www.houstontheaterdistrict.org/en/art/343/.

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Controversy surrounded the play back in the mid 1800’s:

The opera, originally titled La maledizione (The Curse), was faithful to the play’s basic story line, but the Italian censors found the libretto so shocking that they demanded changes; Hugo’s play had shocked the French as well and had to be withdrawn after only two performances. The censors were particularly concerned with the story’s unflattering portrait of King Frances I, (as an immoral and cynical womanizer), which they feared would provoke subversive behavior. To fictionalize the story, the locale was moved to Italy, the King was reduced in rank to a duke and the jester’s name was changed to Rigoletto (from the French rigoler, “to laugh”).

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Almost washed out with the flash, but you get the idea. 🙂

Have you seen a great performance lately? Email me (jreyna@kprc.com) or share with others…which events around town are too good to miss.

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