Uniting communities through the power and beauty of the opera

Jul 13, 2012

It’s a story that could only have happened in Houston, a city synonymous with cattle, the Space Age and, of course, oil. In 1955, the city’s economy was booming and group of civic leaders, led by Maestro Walter Herbert, set out to make it a center for opera, too. They founded Houston Grand Opera (HGO), a company that, like the city it serves, has taken risks from the very start and challenged the very definition of opera. Since then, HGO has established itself on the world stage as a center for artistic excellence and innovation.

“Simply put, opera is the fusion of words and music to tell a story,” said Greg Robertson, Chief Advancement Officer for the Houston Grand Opera. “We believe that HGO is more than just an opera company, we are a vital cultural resource to our city. At HGO, we use our capabilities to bring opera to the city’s diverse communities and help them tell their stories.”

Created in 2007, HGO allows people of all ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds to observe, participate in, and create art. These activities led to the production of Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon) in 2010; the world’s first mariachi opera.”

“Bank of America was instrumental in the creation and premiere of “Cruzar,” said Perryn Leech, Managing Director of HGO. “It’s the story of a family divided by borders and cultures, but regardless of our ethnic heritage, its themes are universal. That the piece opened the 2011 season at the famed Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris to great critical and public acclaim illustrates that beautifully and is a magnificent endorsement of the opera.”

“Houston Grand Opera’s activities promote Bank of America’s priority of strengthening communities by involving as many Houstonians as possible, not just in creating, observing and participating in art, but by creating new works such as Cruzar la Cara de la Luna that brings the community together,” said Katie Flaherty, Merrill Lynch Private Bank and Investment Group Resident Director and Houston Grand Opera Board Member. “As one of a few financial institutions supporting the Huston Grand Opera, we’re able to see the continuous positive impact the company makes in the community.”

With HGO’s emphasis on the power of opera to bring communities together, the company has reached more than 850,000 residents of Houston and worked with over 120 organizations to tell the stories of the city’s communities. It has commissioned 10 works of art, originated innovative community projects and created relevant education programs.

Join the conversation: Learn how we’re working to help strengthen communities on the Bank of America Facebook page.


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