Opera & Musical Theater

The House Without A Christmas Tree: New Holiday Opera Premieres At HGO

Composer Ricky Ian Gordon and librettist Royce Vavrek talk about their new Houston Grand Opera production: The House Without a Christmas Tree.

Production photo of The House Without a Christmas Tree
Production photo of The House Without a Christmas Tree

After the success of last year’s It’s a Wonderful Life, Houston Grand Opera presents another new holiday opera, The House Without a Christmas Tree, with music by Ricky Ian Gordon and libretto by Royce Vavrek.

“This opera is the quintessence of Christmas… we wanted this to be an explosion of holiday spirit,” says Gordon.

The story follows a young girl, Addie Mills, who desperately wants to be able to put up a Christmas tree in her house… but her father won’t allow it, due to the unpleasant memories it conjures about her mother’s death after childbirth. “It’s really a meeting of the minds of this twelve-year-old girl and her father, and sort of her coming of age and acknowledging the loss,” says Vavrek. “It’s a real innocence to experience story,” Gordon adds.

Hear my conversation with the composer and librettist above as we talk about their method of collaboration, how Vavrek used his personal experiences to aid his writing, and how Gordon approached writing the music.

The House Without a Christmas Tree premieres Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. at the Resilience Theater in the George R. Brown Convention Center. Additional shows run now through Dec. 17.