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9/23/2008 Houston — Opera Vista will present its second annual outdoor performance at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens at 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 27, 2008. This year’s selection is Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti. The Houston opera company, whose mission is to present modern and contemporary works in innovative, interactive performances, first teamed with Bayou Bend last fall for the Texas premiere of Amy Beach’s Cabildo. Bayou Bend’s elegant Diana Garden and the terraced lawn descending from the mansion will again serve as the backdrop for the performance. In honor of the late composer’s 90th birthday, Opera Vista will present a selection of Bernstein favorites as a prelude to the main act.

The gardens will open at 7:15 p.m. on the night of the performance. The central hall of the house will be open until 7:45 p.m. for touring. For the outdoor performance, guests should bring blankets or lawn chairs to sit on. Wine, beer, and other beverages will be available for purchase; no beverages except water may be brought in. Tickets are $25 for the general public and $20 for members of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, seniors 65-plus, and students.

“Opera Vista gave us an unforgettable evening with last year’s performance,” said Bonnie Campbell, director of Bayou Bend. “We are expecting another successful event, and welcome the opportunity to provide area residents with a unique musical experience in this magical setting.”

Bernstein’s romantic tragedy tells the story of an unhappy couple, Sam and Dinah, who bicker and seemingly reconcile, but never really resolve their problems. A trio of jazz vocalists appears throughout the show to sing tongue-in-cheek about the charms of family life in 1950s suburbia, about Sam’s genius and business skills, and about the joys of married life.

The cast performing at Bayou Bend includes mezzo-soprano Shelley Auer as Dinah and baritone Joseph Rawley as Sam. Singers in the jazz trio are Alison Greene, soprano; John Weinel, tenor; and Michael Walsh, baritone. A small orchestra ensemble will provide accompaniment. Opera Vista’s conductor is Viswa Subbaraman and Chuck Winkler is stage director.

Subbaraman founded Opera Vista in 2007. He is formerly assistant conductor of the Orchestre National de France, a Fulbright Scholar, and Edward C. Lynch Fellowship recipient. Winkler is director of the Opera to Go! program at Houston Grand Opera and a long-standing member of the HGO chorus.

Bayou Bend, the former home of visionary philanthropist and collector Ima Hogg (1882-1975) and now one of the treasure houses of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is a fitting backdrop for the opera as music was one of Miss Hogg’s many passions. She was a concert pianist and a founder of the Houston Symphony, and frequently hosted symphony performances at her home.

Admission and more
Tickets to Trouble in Tahiti at Bayou Bend may be purchased in advance online at www.mfah.org/bayoubend , by calling 713-639-7758, or at the Bayou Bend visitor cottage. KUHF-FM, media sponsor for Opera Vista, will award prizes during the intermission.