Houston Grand Opera announces season, initiative to fight fine arts education gap in schools

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Tuesday, April 2, 2024
Houston Grand Opera announces season, initiative to fight fine arts education gap in schools
ABC13's Jonathan Bruce caught up with Houston Grand Opera general director and CEO Khori Dastoor about new initiatives to bridge the gap in performing arts education in HISD.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Grand Opera in March announced its upcoming 2024-25 season on the Wortham Theater Center stage, which includes classics like Puccini's La Boheme and the iconic Broadway production of West Side Story.

However, the company made news with new initiatives designed to reach young Houstonians and help bridge the growing gap in fine arts education within the Houston Independent School District, general director and CEO Khori Dastoor said in an interview with ABC13.

"I'm a mom. I have two young girls in HISD, and it's the largest school district in the country with no fine arts program at all. So, HGO really feels compelled to act. How are we going to respond to meet the needs of our youngest community members who deserve access to world-class art? We know the impacts of that access are tremendous, and we really don't have time to wait for a city to provide that need. We're going to jump into the fray and make sure that we are doing our part," Dastoor said.

The company describes its first annual HGO Family Day production of Rossini's Cinderella on Nov. 9 as a 90-minute, relaxed environment performance perfect for young guests, complete with kid-centric lobby activities.

Throughout the 2024-25 season, HGO will present a double bill of touring operas for students and families entitled Opera to Go!: Mo Willems's Bite-Sized Operas!, presented as a bilingual English and Spanish edition.

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The show features two children's books by popular Emmy Award-winning author Mo Willems, with music by Carlos Simon. In addition to schools and other community spaces throughout the region, the family-friendly double bill will be presented at Miller Outdoor Theatre from Oct. 8-10 this year.

"One of the perks of living in Houston is that it is not difficult to consume art here. You can be in a museum, you can be at a play, you can be enjoying the ballet. And you can bring your young person and your parents to experience world-class opera with some of the most famous singers on Earth right here in Houston. (This will) set that new standard for what educational programming can be not just in Houston but around the country," Dastoor said.

HGO's mainstage season includes two never-before-seen productions, Il trovatore and Tannhäuser, the Houston debut of Missy Mazzoli's boundary-pushing Breaking the Waves, the family-friendly classic Cinderella, Broadway masterpiece West Side Story, and the iconic opera, La bohème. For more information, visit Houston Grand Opera's website.

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