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A Little Night Music in Houston


(left)Flicka and Thomas Allen: Send in the Clowns scene (Right)Megan Kane, Flicka, Evelyn Lear & James Alba plan A weekend in the country
photos by Houston Chronicle

A Weekend in the City was well spent in Houston over the last weekend in January. There were a record number of Flicka performances in a short period of time. We managed to see all three performances and delighted in each one. This production was a treat for the senses - including your sense of humor! The performers were, of course, top of the line as you can see from the captions above. You cannot find a better combination than Flicka and Thomas Allen. They performed like two halves of a whole. Evelyn Lear's exquisite voice and timing absolutely glistened like the jeweled costumes she wore. Speaking of costumes, the production was visually fascinating. I found myself studying the costumes intensely from my seat in the third row (a good spot for detailed looking ;-). We learned the material for each costume was handpainted. They appeared iridescent - with an almost opal-like glowing quality. The staging was unusual with "virtual" rooms which came across perfectly to the audience. I watched one performance from the topmost balcony and found this perspective to be quite acceptable as well. However, I am glad it did it the first night and then moved down to "close enough to touch" seats for the rest of the weekend. I will be attending the Valentines Day weekend performances and will be somewhat further back and I suspect these will be the ideal seats from the sound and sight point of view. However, no matter where you sit, the Houston Grand Opera seems to have a superior opera house! It is large, but provides excellent sight lines and sound even in the nosebleed sections. The staff are courteous and well informed. The lounge, shop and refreshment areas are top notch, we all agreed. In the summer, some of the performances are shown outside projected on one wall of the opera house for all to enjoy free of charge! Opera for the masses!! HURRAY for the HGO! Would that more operas would take this approach!

Houston will broadcast the performance on Radio later this year. I will try to find out an exact date and perhaps we will be able to give advance notice and some kind Houstonians will offer to tape for those unable to attend. To all who might be considering a Weekend in the City with the HGO I highly recommend it!

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