The Houston Grand Opera has put on what sounds like -- well, I haven't heard it, so I guess it's more accurate to say it reads like -- an interesting new opera called "The Refuge," by composer Christopher Theofandis. It has seven tableaus that recount the immigrant experiences of Africans, Vietnamese, Mexican, Pakistani, Indian, Russian and other immigrants, as told to Houston writer Leah Lax, the librettist. It's billed as an attempt to reach beyond the usual opera audience and to establish a connection to recent immigrants in a city where one in four residents is "not from here." How cities change in a dynamic society!
A lot of these good-hearted efforts turn out not have really great music, and I don't know if this one does or not. And plenty of "classical" music outreach efforts fail. But it's encouraging to see music presenters try. It will be interesting to see if this one endures beyond a first few performances.