Houston Grand Opera has extended its contract with its music director, Patrick Summers, an additional five years to 2014, the company announced yesterday.
Summers became HGO's music director in 1998 and was named one of "The 25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera" by Opera News in August of this year. He has conducted more than 25 operas at HGO, including the world premieres of Tod Machover's Resurrection, Carlisle Floyd's Cold Sassy Tree, Jake Heggie's The End of the Affair and Rachel Portman's The Little Prince. He also led the world premiere of Heggie's Dead Man Walking at San Francisco Opera.
This season at HGO, he conducts Dmitri Hvorostovsky's first Simon Boccanegra and the company's first performances of Janácek's The Cunning Little Vixen. He has also led major role debuts for Renée Fleming (Violetta in Verdi's La traviata), Susan Graham (Hanna Glawari in Lehár's The Merry Widow), Marcello Giordani (Manrico in Verdi's Il trovatore) and Patricia Racette (Elisabetta in Verdi's Don Carlo).
Summers's recent Metropolitan Opera credits include Handel's Rodelinda, Verdi's La traviata on tour to Japan, and segments of the Met's farewell gala for Joseph Volpe.
Houston Grand Opera general director Anthony Freud commented, "Since becoming our music director in 1998, Patrick has contributed immeasurably to the company's success and worldwide reputation, in the many outstanding performances he has conducted, and in his development of the orchestra and chorus. Patrick is one of the finest music directors in the world. He is a great musician, an inspiring conductor and a master builder of both orchestra and chorus.
Summers remarked, "It is with great joy and gratitude that I sustain my commitment to the Houston Grand Opera. I look forward to the further growth of my artistic relationship with my colleagues in the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Chorus, and leading them through our first performances together of operas by Benjamin Britten, Richard Strauss, Richard Wagner, among others, in the coming years."