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Opera & Musical Theater

The Passenger: HGO’s North American Premiere

This past weekend Mieczyslaw Weinberg's The Passenger opened at Houston Grand Opera.  Written in 1968, it was suppressed by the Soviet authorities and didn't receive its first full-staging until 2010.  Now The Passenger is making its U.S. debut.  HGO Music Director Patrick Summers, and stage director David Pountney, talk about this overlooked, highly emotional work.


On the deck of a luxury liner en route to a new post in Brazil with her husband, a German diplomat, Liese is unnerved by the sight of another passenger who eerily resembles Martha, one of the inmates Liese tormented when she was an SS overseer at Auschwitz.  The action of the drama takes us from the stylish gentility of the ship’s deck to the squalor of a death camp where cruelty, despair, and unspeakable courage are evident in equal measure.

Watch HGO Music Director Patrick Summers and stage director David Pountney (who staged both the production at Bregenz in Austria in 2010 and the English National Opera run in 2011) talk about this remarkable opera for HoustonPBS/Ch. 8’s weekly arts program ArtsInSight.

Summers’ and Pountney’s experiences rediscovering and mounting The Passenger in Houston were also featured on KUHF’s daily public affairs show Houston Matters.


The Passenger ends its run at HGO Sunday, February 2nd.  For full information visit HGO online.