28 August 2017

Houston Grand Opera’s Theatrical Facilities Significantly Damaged by Hurricane Harvey

HOUSTON GRAND OPERA's home theaters — the Brown and Cullen theaters in the Wortham Theater Center — have experienced significant flood damage in the wake of the massive hurricane that inundated the city earlier this week, and the company’s theatrical facilities will likely require repairs and cleanup in the weeks ahead, HGO announced today. 

In a statement issued by HGO managing director Perryn Leech and artistic and music director Patrick Summers, the company detailed the damage inflicted on the company's infrastructure: 

“The Wortham had water penetration into the front of house areas at a low level due to high water; that water has now receded and left residual dirt. In the back of house, water surged over the storm defense and some water went onto the Brown Theater stage. This was at a low level but has resulted in damage to the surface of the stage. The Cullen Theater stage has little water damage and the dressing room corridor had water, but also at a low level. The basement of the building is completely full of flood water. We want to thank Houston First, Theater District Inc. engineers, and Andy Frank Security for their great work in protecting the building from even worse damage. The Theater District garage is completely flooded and will undoubtedly be closed for some time for repairs and cleanup.”

The company’s staff is currently out of its administrative offices through labor day, though HGO intends to release another update on its facilitates on Thursday afternoon. HGO's website is currently down owing to power outages across Houston. 

The statement noted that, in advance of the storm, HGO staff had moved instruments and costumes — including those for its season-opening productions of La Traviata and Julius Caesar — to higher floors in the Wortham Center. The company’s season is scheduled to Open on October 20 with a performance of La Traviata featuring soprano Albina Shagimuratova and tenor Dimitri Pittas. 

“Houston Grand Opera will recover and deliver a fantastic season to our patrons, giving them the art they need to heal from this calamity,” the statement noted. “And the only future water we want coming across our stage is that of the Rhine!” 

According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Harvey has set a record for total rainfall from a single tropical cyclone in the continental United States, and has so far been attributed to thirteen storm-related deaths in Texas. Initial reports suggest that the economic damage to the region’s infrastructure — large portions of which are given to oil and gas production — may be less than half of the $108 billion associated with Hurricane Katrina. 

A statement issued today by the National Endowment for the Arts noted that the agency is coordinating support for affected arts organizations with the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Division of the Arts in the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development. “As the current situation stabilizes, the National Endowment for the Arts is prepared to direct additional funds to these state arts agencies for re-granting to affected organizations, as we have done in the past,” Jane Chu, the NEA’s chairman, said. spacer

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