Christmas comes to the Sunday Opera this week (12/23 3:00 p.m.) when Michael Kownacky is presenting two contemporary works based on beloved Christmas stories. First, we’ll visit George Bailey in Bedford Falls for Jake Heggie’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.” With a libretto by Gene Sheer, we’ll follow Clara (Talise Trevigne) as she tries to finally earn her wings by helping Geoge (William Burden) see is true worth. This tale of redemption also features Andrea Carroll as Mary, Rod Gilfrey as Mr. Gower and Mr. Potter, Joshua Hopkins as Harry, and Anthony Dean Griffey as Uncle Billy. Patrick Summers leads the Houston Grand Opera Chorus and Orchestra in this recording made in 2017.
Our second work also features the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and a Juvenile Chorus, but this time, it’s conducted by Bradley Moore. The opera is based on a story by Gail Rock that was turned into a television film in 1972 entitled “The House Without a Christmas Tree” where the kindness and caring of a young girl helps her widower father come to grips with the loss of her mother. This opera by Ricky Ian Gordon with a libretto by Royce Vavrek was recorded earlier this year and features Lauren Snouffer as the young Addie Mills and Heidi Stober as the older Adelaide (narrator) as well as Addie’s teacher Miss Thompson and Addie’s mother, Helen. Daniel Belcher is Addie’s father James, Patricia Schuman is her Grandmother, and three of her classmates are sung by Megan Mikailovna Samarin, Maximillian Macias, and Elisabeth Leone. Join Michael after the operas for more music of the season.