Houston Grand Opera INTELLIGENCE

Houston Grand Opera INTELLIGENCE
Image courtesy of Houston Grand Opera website


October 20 - November 3, 2023


Houston Grand Opera
10 Preston Street
Houston, TX 77002



For more information and tickets visit the Houston Grand Opera website.


Jamie Barton - Elizabeth Van Lew

Janai Brugger - Mary Jane Bowser

J‘Nai Bridges - Lucinda

Caitlin Lynch - Callie Van Lew

Nicholas Newton -Henry

Michael Mayes -Travis Briggs

Joshua Blue -Wilson

Courtney J. Cook - Urban Bush Women Company Dancer

Loren Davidson - Urban Bush Women Company Dancer

Kentoria Earle - Urban Bush Women Company Dancer

Roobi Gaskins - Urban Bush Women Company Dancer

Symara Johnson - Urban Bush Women Company Dancer

Bianca Leticia Medina - Urban Bush Women Company Dancer

Love Muwwakkil - Urban Bush Women Company Dancer

Mikaila Ware - Urban Bush Women Company Dancer


Jake Heggie, Composer

Gene Scheer, Librettist

Kwamé Ryan, Conductor

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar,Director/Choreographer

Mimi Lien,Set Designer

Carlos Soto, Costume Designer

Clair Hummel, Costume Realizer and Designer of Dancer Costumes

John Torres, Lighting Designer

Wendall K. Harrington, Projection Designer

Rasean Davonté Johnson, Projection Designer

Vincent Thomas, Associate Choreographer

Jim Johnson, Dialect Coach

Houston Grand Opera Orchestra

A spokesperson describes the event as follows:

"...The Civil War is raging, and the country is burning. Men are slaughtering each other on the battlefield, but it is two women who possess the deadliest weapon of all: intelligence, made more powerful by its invisibility. Who would guess that Elizabeth Van Lew, from a prominent Confederate family, is running a secret pro-Union spy ring? That Mary Jane Bowser, born into slavery in the Van Lew household, not only has been taught to read and write, but is also possessed of a photographic memory? The HGO-commissioned world-premiere opera Intelligence, inspired by the little-known true story of these two unlikely spies, unfolds as Elizabeth sends Mary Jane to live in the Confederate White House. As Mary Jane uncovers the secrets of the Confederacy to share with Union military commanders, she also uncovers the secrets of her own history and identity. Shared through a fusion of music, words, and  dance, this new American epic is the creation of a powerhouse trio: composer Jake Heggie, librettist Gene Scheer, and director/choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, founder of Urban Bush Women. The production features eight dancers from UBW and a sensational cast led by mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton as Elizabeth, with soprano Janai Brugger making her anticipated company debut as the brilliant Mary Jane. Acclaimed conductor Kwamé Ryan takes the podium for his HGO debut. .."

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