Houston, TX 77002
Wortham Center is home to Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera. Since its opening in 1987, funded entirely by the private sector during the height of the 1980s oil bust, Wortham has entertained audiences totaling more than five million people.
It has also served as the backdrop for hundreds of social galas, civic meetings, corporate and group events, and even weddings, further underscoring its role as a community center as well as a performing arts venue. The Wortham Center features two theaters, grand lobbies, and extensive space for performers and support personnel.
Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera Schedules
BALLET - Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (Mar. 6 to Mar. 16, 2014)
Houston Ballet honors artistic director Stanton Welch's 10th anniversary season with a mixed repertory program spotlighting his remarkable choreographic breadth - as well as the depth of talent of the dancers. Centerpiece of the evening is the world premiere of Welch's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. Set on Houston Ballet to Benjamin Britten's iconic work of the same title, this huge, collaborative piece features the entire company and the talented musicians of the Houston Ballet Orchestra. Also on the program is Welch's Maninyas and the Houston premiere of one of his earliest works, Of Blessed Memory, a tribute to his mother, Australian dancer Marilyn Jones, O.B.E. MAR 6, 8, 14, 15 at 7:30 p.m. and MAR 9, 16 at 2:00 p.m.
OPERA - A Little Night Music (Mar. 7 to 23, 2014)
Old flames are rekindled and new affairs ignite in this farce about famous actress Desiree Armfeldt and her weekend guests: an ex-lover, Fredrik, his much-younger bride, and his son-a divinity student. When Desiree's current paramour arrives unannounced, the stage is set for grownup comedy. MAR 7, 13, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22 at 8:00 p.m. and MAR 9, 23 at 2:30 p.m.
OPERA - A Coffin in Egypt (Mar. 14 to 22, 2014)
An intimate afternoon conversation triggers a searing examination of the past in this tour-de-force written for superstar Frederica von Stade. The story is rich with regional imagery by Horton Foote, the legendary Texas playwright and author. MAR 14, 19 at 8:00 p.m. and MAR 16 at 2:30 p.m. and MAR 22 at 2:00 p.m.
OPERA - Das Rheingold (Apr. 11 to 26, 2014)
Deep beneath the surface of the Rhine, Alberich, a wily and treacherous dwarf, lusts after the Rhinemaidens' treasure: a cache of gold.Whoever owns the gold and forges it into a ring will have power over the world. Unable to catch one of the beautiful maidens, Alberich steals the gold. APR 11, 17, 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. and APR 13 at 2:00 p.m.
OPERA - Carmen (Apr. 25 to May 10, 2014)
The femme fatale is ubiquitous in literature, from the biblical Delilah to Shakespeare's Cleopatra to the smoky, dangerous beauties of the film noir era. But none embody this character like the Gypsy Carmen, a sexual bird of prey whose charms lead Don José into a fatalistic chain of events, uncontrollable passion, jealousy, and bloodshed. APR 25, 30 and MAY 2, 10 at 7:30 p.m. and APR 27 and MAY 4 at 2:00 p.m.
BALLET - Modern Masters (May 22 to Jun. 1, 2014)
Explosive energy. High attitude. Cool sexuality. This mixed rep has it all - and then some. The Four Temperaments was a milestone for George Balanchine, introducing the spare classicism he would employ throughout his career. His choreographic influence is evident in the works that follow. William Forsythe's In the middle somewhat elevated is in-your-face dance. Jiri Kylián's Petite Mort is filled with eroticism and his delightfully comic Sechs Tanze (Six Dances) provides levity. From three of the most influential dance makers of the last hundred years comes a truly masterful program. MAY 22, 24, 30, 31 at 7:30 p.m. and MAY 25 and JUN 1 at 2:00 p.m.
BALLET - Swan Lake (Jun. 5 to 15, 2014)
With the goal of making classical ballet relevant for a new generation of audiences, artistic director Stanton Welch has put his 21st century signature on this 19th century love story. Set to the hauntingly beautiful Tchaikovsky score, Swan Lake tells the classic tale of Odette - a beautiful maiden transformed into a swan by an evil knight - and the prince who swears his enduring love for her. It's good and evil in black and white, danced on rich and spectacular sets by the late, great New Zealand designer Kristian Fredrikson. JUN 5, 6, 7, 13, 14 at 7:30 p.m. and JUN 8, 15 at 2:00 p.m. and JUN 7 at 1:30 p.m.
BALLET - A Midsummer Night's Dream (Sep. 4 to 14, 2014)
“The course of true love never did run smooth,” says Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare used that chaos brilliantly to create his most delightful comedy. Houston Ballet is the first American company to welcome this production – staged by acclaimed Hamburg Ballet Artistic Director John Neumeier – into its repertoire. With its love-struck Athenians, meddlesome fairies and bumbling troupe of amateur actors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a cacophony of magic and merriment. This colorful production will delight children and adults alike. SEP 4, 6, 12, 13 at 7:30 p.m. and SEP 7, 13, 14 at 2:00 p.m.
BALLET - From Houston to the World (Sep. 18 to 28, 2014)
As unique as each is, technical prowess is essential to the three works in this mixed-repertory program, all originally choreographed for the Houston Ballet dancers. Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo brings wit and humor to the extreme virtuosity that he demands in ONE/end/ONE. Inspired by flocks of birds flying in breathtaking unison, Edwaard Liang’s Murmuration is a deeply spiritual work for nine men and eight female dancers. Closing the program is Stanton Welch’s vivid interpretation of the third act of Paquita, a challenging, Spanish-flavored ballet first performed in 1846. SEP 18, 20, 26, 27 at 7:30 p.m. and SEP 21, 28 at 2:00 p.m.
OPERA - Otello (Oct. 24 to Nov. 7, 2014)
The ancient Greeks called it hamartia - a tragic character flaw that can destroy even the mightiest among us. This idea is at the core of Shakespeare's magnificent play and so inspired Verdi. Cruelly manipulated by his ensign Iago, Otello becomes convinced of his wife's infidelity. Although she is innocent, Otello is driven to jealous rage with fatal consequences. Otello is a virtuosic fusion of great literature and sublime music. The result is riveting entertainment. OCT 24 at 7:00 p.m. and OCT 26 at 2:00 p.m. and NOV 1, 4, 7 at 7:30 p.m.
OPERA - Cosi fan tutte (Oct. 31 to Nov. 15, 2014)
Così fan tutte, the third and final collaboration between Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte, is a study in contrasts: a story of a friendly wager gone hilariously awry paired with music of luminous beauty. Having bet their friend Don Alfonso that their fiancées will resist any temptation, two young men are astounded by their lovers' lack of devotion when courted by two 'Albanian' soldiers. Of course, all is forgiven at the end of the comedy. But this farce is underscored by the genius of Mozart's superb music and keen understanding of human nature. OCT 31 and NOV 8, 13, 15 at 7:30 p.m. and NOV 2 at 2:00 p.m.
BALLET - The Nutcracker (Nov. 28 to Dec. 28, 2014)
Journey with Clara as she dances on the arm of the Nutcracker Prince to the stunning Land of Snow and the delectable Kingdom of Sweets. There are so many reasons to delight in The Nutcracker: the giant Christmas tree, the dancing dolls, Mother Ginger and her adorable clowns, the lavish sets and the iconic Tchaikovsky score. Ben Stevenson's production of The Nutcracker has entertained children and their grown-ups for more than 25 years. NOV 28, 29, 30, and DEC 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28 at 7:30 p.m. and NOV 29, 30 and DEC 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28 at 2:00 p.m.
OPERA - A Christmas Carol (Dec. 5 to 21, 2014)
When Charles Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol appeared in 1843, it delighted Victorian London and still inspires imaginations today. Iain Bell, a promising young British composer, has written a captivating score to a libretto by Simon Callow, the renowned film and stage actor. Remembered for roles in films like A Room with a View and Four Weddings and a Funeral, Callow has also played Ebenezer Scrooge and Dickens himself on the screen. Together, they have penned a spellbinding, intensely theatrical experience for HGO's intimate Cullen Theater. The opera is a true tour de force - a one man show - with Houston favorite Anthony Dean Griffey as the narrator of this beloved fable. We will, without doubt, leave the theater with a deeper understanding of the holiday each time we say, "Merry Christmas." DEC 5, 9, 11, 16, 17, 19, 20 at 8:00 p.m. and DEC 7, 14, 21 at 2:30 p.m.
OPERA - Madame Butterfly (Jan. 23 to Feb. 8, 2015)
When Puccini heard the story of a young Japanese girl who sacrifices everything for a faithless U.S. Navy lieutenant, he knew he had found a winning idea for a new opera and immediately began work on Madame Butterfly. It would become one of the most beloved operas of all time. Puccini's score, infused with atmospheric Eastern motifs, is mesmerizing. From the passionate Act I love duet, to Butterfly's steadfast declaration of her love, "Un bel di," to the tender, anticipatory beauty of the "Humming Chorus," this is opera for the ages. JAN 23, 28, 31 and FEB 6 at 7:30 p.m. and JAN 25 and FEB 8 at 2:00 p.m.
OPERA - The Magic Flute (Jan. 30 to Feb. 14, 2015)
Mozart's genius is supremely evident in his last opera, The Magic Flute. The fairytale is matched with some of the most stunningly beautiful music ever written. From the coloratura pyrotechnics of the Queen of the Night to Pamina's anguished lament, to the comic love duet of Papageno and Papagena, the music illustrates what set Mozart apart from his many rivals: a unique and profound understanding of humanity. Visually, this Flute finds a perfect balance between grandeur and comedy. Replete with elaborately detailed period costumes, Egyptian influences, and dancing bears, it is a feast for the eyes and the ear. JAN 30 and FEB 4, 7, 14 at 7:30 p.m. and FEB 1 at 2:00 p.m.
BALLET - Romeo and Juliet (Feb. 26 to Mar. 7, 2015)
It's been 28 years since Houston Ballet staged a new production of Romeo and Juliet but Stanton Welch's interpretation of this most famed love story is worth the wait. Set to Prokofiev's breathtaking score, Welch's classic production weaves the poignant tale of the star-crossed pair exquisitely. With lavish sets and costumes by acclaimed Italian designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno, the production pays tribute to Renaissance Italy. The theme is classic and the choreography fresh. The Bard himself would surely approve. FEB 26, 28 and MAR 6, 7 at 7:30 p.m. and FEB 28 at 1:30 p.m. and MAR 1, 8 at 2:00 p.m.
BALLET - Modern Masters (Mar. 12 to 22, 2015)
From the rapid precision of George Balanchine’s Ballo Della Regina to the poignant story telling of Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato’s Jardi Tancat to the pure bravado and demanding technicality of Harald Lander’s Etudes, this is dance at its best. Houston Ballet’s Spring Repertory program serves up three of the world’s most respected choreographers and three distinct flavors of dance. There’s something for every palate – sweet, savory and spicy – and a production for every taste. It all adds up to one very satisfying menu by three masters of modern ballet. MAR 12, 14, 20, 21 at 7:30 p.m. and MAR 15, 22 at 2:00 p.m.
OPERA - Die Walküre (Apr. 18 to May 3, 2015)
In Die Walküre, the story of the Ring moves from the gods' home, Valhalla, to earth: Having brought Freia's freedom with the ring in Das Rheingold, Wotan sets about regaining the golden band and its unique power. Wotan must sacrifice his son Siegmund, renounce a daughter, Sieglinde, and abandon his favorite child, Brünnhilde, the leader of the Valkyries. Like all the Ring operas, Die Walküre stands on its own as great spectacle, masterful storytelling, and electrifying music. APR 18, 22, 25, 30 at 6:00 p.m. and MAY 3 at 2:00 p.m.
OPERA - Sweeney Todd (Apr. 24 to May 9, 2015)
Countless serial novels gripped Londoners during the Victorian era - the more gruesome, the better. One of them, The String of Pearls, spawned the character of Sweeney Todd. His happiness destroyed by a corrupt judge, Sweeney Todd - the Demon Barber of Fleet Street - is obsessed with revenge. With his partner in crime, amoral pie shop owner Mrs. Lovett, he quenches his thirst for justice with a murderous rampage that leaves few of the characters breathing. Stephen Sondheim's dark, magnificent score turns this sordid and bloody tale into riveting entertainment. Sweeney Todd is a masterpiece of the American musical theater - it will keep you on the edge of your seat. APR 24, 29 and MAY 2, 8, 9 at 7:30 p.m. and APR 26 at 2:00 p.m.
BALLET - Morris, Welch & Kylián (May 21 to 31, 2015)
Houston Ballet’s Summer Repertory program features three of the most dynamic and musical choreographers working today: world premieres by Stanton Welch and Mark Morris and an iconic ballet by Jirí Kylián. Welch explores the twelve signs of the zodiac in a new piece set to a commissioned score by distinguished Australian composer Ross Edwards. Building on his popularity with local audiences, preeminent American choreographer Mark Morris returns to create his first commissioned work for Houston Ballet. Jirí Kylián’s Svadebka is his interpretation of an important composition in ballet history, Stravinsky’s Les Noces. MAY 21, 23, 29, 30 at 7:30 p.m. and MAY 24, 31 at 2:00 p.m.
BALLET - From Houston to the World (Jun. 11 to 21, 2015)
With her independent spirit and tempestuous nature, Katherina is anything but the obedient bride of Petruchio's dreams. Their marriage is a battle of the sexes, a lively clash of wills and personalities. In his Taming of the Shrew, John Cranko has created a fun and dazzling display of moods, virtuoso dancing and vivid characterization. More than any other ballet, The Taming of the Shrew pays tribute to the brilliance and wit for which Shakespeare is known. JUN 11, 13, 19, 20 at 7:30 p.m. and JUN 14, 20, 21 at 2:00 p.m.