Austin Opera is excited about the next installment of the Sarah & Ernest Butler Performance Series in partnership with Houston Grand Opera! This is a free online performance.

After the triumphant sold-out concert at Houston’s Wortham Center last year—Giving Voice: Lawrence Brownlee and Friends Sing Opera, Gospel, and Standards—internationally renowned tenor Lawrence Brownlee returns with his co-host, celebrated soprano Nicole Heaston. The pair will be joined by an all-Black group of opera stars for a new digital installment of this wonderful celebration of diverse voices. The program will be followed by a Post Show Event online with the artists (details to follow)!

Lawrence Brownlee is a leading figure in opera, both as a singer on the world’s top stages and as a voice for activism and diversity in the industry. Captivating audiences and critics around the globe, he has been hailed as “an international star in the bel canto operatic repertory” (The New York Times), “one of the world’s leading bel canto stars” (The Guardian), and “one of the most in-demand opera singers in the world today” (NPR). Amidst the challenges of COVID-19, Brownlee has emerged as a pivotal voice in classical music’s shift toward digital programming and the resurgence of conversations around racial justice.

Praised by the Houston Chronicle for her “warm supple soprano” and by the New York Times for her “radiant” and “handsomely resonant voice,” soprano Nicole Heaston has appeared with opera companies throughout the world, beginning as a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio. She recently performed in two Blue Starlite Drive-In and Sarah & Ernest Butler Performance Series releases, Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera and The Impresario.

In addition to Brownlee and Heaston, the evening will feature baritone Donnie Ray Albert—whom Austin audiences will recognize from our recent production of Aida, as well as his voice faculty position at The University of Texas—tenor Frederick Ballentine, mezzo-soprano Zoie Reams, soprano Karen Slack, and four current Houston Grand Opera Studio artists: baritone Blake Denson, bass Cory McGee, soprano Raven McMillon, and bass-baritone Nicholas Newton. Kevin J. Miller, assistant conductor with HGO, accompanies them on piano.

Find out more about Giving Voice on this Houston Grand Opera webpage

WATCH THE PRE-SHOW LECTURE: Join HGO’s dramaturg Jeremy Johnson, who gives a virtual version of his informative pre-opera lecture for you to enjoy! View online for free on this YouTube page.