From flood shelter to opera house: Brown Convention Center to become temporary home for Houston Grand Opera

Mon Sep 25, 2017 at 4:46 pm
By Steven Brown

Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center took in hundreds of people whose homes were clobbered by Hurricane Harvey, and it will soon now become a temporary home for Houston Grand Opera.

HGO announced Monday that it will turn one of the downtown center’s exhibit halls into a space for “unconventional opera.” Dubbed the HGO Resilience Theatre, the venue will have about 1,700 seats in a combination of floor and stadium seating. Every spot will be within 100 feet of the stage.

“We will use the space to defy normal operatic convention to present what I call ‘unconventional opera,’” HGO managing director Perryn Leech said in a statement. “This will be a jewel of a performance space, with tremendous versatility. … I think our audiences will be amazed at the kind of direct and immersive theatrical experience we can create for them.”

HGO learned last week that its home, the Wortham Theater Center, will be closed until at least May for repairs of hurricane damage.

The company will inaugurate the Resilience Theater Oct. 20 with Verdi’s La Traviata. Handel’s Julius Caesar will overlap with Traviata beginning Oct. 27, and the company will return Nov. 30 with the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s The House Without a Christmas Tree.

“Our artists and creative teams are excited to take advantage of the extraordinary possibilities at the George R. Brown,” HGO artistic director Patrick Summers said in a statement. “We are fortunate to have the freedom in this new venue to customize the space to fit our unique needs and to maintain the artistic integrity of the productions. The quality that audiences have come to expect from HGO will not change. We are thrilled to be able to provide inspiration and healing through great opera in the heart of downtown Houston.”

People who already have tickets to the their productions need take no action, HGO said. The company’s box office will contact them beginning Oct. 6 about their seat locations in the new setup. Those with questions can call HGO’s customer-care department at 713-228-6737. HGO will post updates to its plans for the rest of the season online at

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