Houston Grand Opera

Come to Houston Grand Opera to See Wagner’s Tannhäuser And Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking The Waves!

Triangle Wagner Society (TWS) and The Richard Wagner Society of the Upper Midwest (RWSUM) are planning a trip to Houston Grand Opera (HGO) in 2025. On Saturday evening, May 3, 2025, 7:00 p.m., HGO will present Francesca Zambello’s production of Wagner’s Tannhäuser. On Sunday afternoon, May 4, 2025, 2:00 p.m., HGO will present Missy Mazzoli’s and Royce Vavrek’s contemporary and award-winning Breaking the Waves. In addition, there will be a special backstage look at both operas on Saturday, May 3 (details to be announced) and an optional brunch on Sunday, May 4.

To offer TWS and RWSUM members the opportunity to purchase discount tickets for one or both performances, we need a minimum of ten participants for each opera. As TWS did for our previous trip to HGO, we’ll give participants a choice of seats, hotel, and travel arrangements. We are also planning a group brunch prior to the Sunday matinee.

If you are interested in joining us, please let us know immediately:


As a valued member of the HGO opera community, we have access to several partner hotels near the Wortham Theater Center area, where the operas will be performed. Enjoy the convenience and comfort of these accommodations. The deadline for special hotel pricing is Monday, September 30, 2024.

Partner Hotels

Lancaster Hotel
701 Texas Avenue, Houston, TX 77002
2 Blocks away from Wortham Theater Center
Amenities include complimentary gourmet breakfast, fine dining, hotel cardio exercise room, and access to 711 Fit (Monday-Friday, 5 a.m. – 8 p.m.)
$249/night (usually $500/night)
Website: thelancaster.com
(713) 228-9500
Click on the link for the special discount for members of Triangle Wagner Society or The Richard Wagner Society of the Upper Midwest

Houston ICON
220 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002
6 blocks from Wortham Theater Center
$269/night (usually $299/night)
Amenities include private meeting rooms, hotel bar, gym, and shuttle access to area locations (such as the Wortham Theater Center).
Website: hotelicon.com
(713) 224-4266
Click on the link for the special discount for members of Triangle Wagner Society or The Richard Wagner Society of the Upper Midwest

Opera Tickets

To book tickets to one or both operas, please call Armando Urdiales, Group Sales Coordinator at HGO, at (713) 980-8676. If there is no answer, leave a voicemail explaining the best times to call back. To make an appointment for the best time to call, please schedule a time using Armando’s calendar link: calendly.com/aurdiales. The deadline for special ticket pricing (20% discount) is Monday, September 30, 2024.   

About the Operas

Wagner’s Tannhäuser receives a highly anticipated new staging from internationally acclaimed director Francesca Zambello. Houston audiences will be the first to experience her strikingly beautiful production. Lust and love, diametrically opposed forces in the opera’s universe, do battle within the title character’s psyche as the story unfolds. The powerhouse cast includes tenor Russell Thomas in his role debut as Tannhäuser, soprano Tamara Wilson as Elisabeth, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke as Venus, baritone Luke Sutliff as Wolfram von Eschenbach, and bass Alexandros Stavrakakis in his company debut as Landgraf Hermann. Erik Nielsen, music director of Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, makes his company debut at the podium.

On January 12, 2025, Francesca Zambello will present a live talk for Triangle Wagner Society about the design and direction process of putting an opera together.  She will share thoughts on how rehearsing Wagner is different from rehearsing works by all other composers. She will offer insights on working with singers, conductors, and designers on Wagner’s works. The program will be recorded so that those who cannot attend in person can listen at their convenience. The link to the recording will be available to members of TWS and RWSUM and to paying guests.

Breaking the Waves
Houston finally gets its chance to see Breaking the Waves, the critically acclaimed contemporary opera from composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek, which made its world premiere in 2016. Adapted from the art film by Lars von Trier, the story transports audiences to 1970s Scotland, where the impressionable young Bess, part of a strict Calvinist community, wins permission to marry an outsider—the offshore oil rigger Jan. After the impatient lovers consummate their union at their own wedding, Bess embarks on a journey of sexual exploration that is tragically interrupted when Jan is paralyzed in an accident, setting off a series of shocking events that culminates in the unthinkable. The award-winning, boundary-pushing opera will be led by two Houston favorites, both of whom launched their high-flying careers after training with HGO’s Butler Studio: soprano Lauren Snouffer as Bess, and bass-baritone Ryan McKinny as Jan. Sara Brodie directs the revival of Tom Morris’s production, with Maestro Patrick Summers conducting.

Brunch on Sunday Before Breaking the Waves

Prior to the performance of Breaking the Waves on Sunday, May 4, 2025, we invite those who are coming to Houston to an optional brunch at the Lancaster Hotel, which is two blocks from the Wortham Theater Center.

About Francesca Zambello

Internationally recognized director of opera and theater Francesca Zambello has served as the Artistic Director of Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center since 2013. She is also the Artistic & General Director of the Glimmerglass Festival, Emerita. She served as the Artistic Advisor to the San Francisco Opera from 2005 to 2011 and as the Artistic Director of the Skylight Theatre from 1987 to 1992.

Zambello’s United States directing debut took place at Houston Grand Opera with a production of Fidelio. She debuted in Europe at Teatro la Fenice in Venice with Beatrice di Tenda and has since staged new productions at major theaters and opera houses in Europe, Asia, Australia, Russia, and the US. She has worked at more than 50 international opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Paris Opera, Bolshoi, Munich State Opera, Covent Garden, and Opera Australia. She has been named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, a Knight with the Order of the Star of Italy, and received the Russian Federation’s Arts Medal, all for her service to culture.

Other honors include three Olivier Awards from the London Society of Theatres and two Evening Standard Awards and two French Grand Prix des Critiques for her work at the Paris Opera. She also received the Medallion Society Award from San Francisco Opera in recognition of her 30 years’ work for the company, including directing the Ring Cycle in 2011 and 2018.


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