Rodeo Houston preview and workshops of “Turn and Burn” with HGO

Several upcoming performances have been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19; see list of all upcoming events for current information.

The December ’19 workshop cast & creative team of Turn and Burn at
Houston Grand Opera! L-R: Leslie Swackhamer, stage director; Stephanie Sanchez as Jamie; Geoff Loff, music director; Cory McGee as Virgil; Liz Gautsche as Maggie Ann; Nell; Geordie Alexander as Rick; Megan Cohen, librettist; and Sarah Tucker as Shayla.

This past December, librettist Megan Cohen and I headed back to Houston for the first music workshop of Turn and Burn, our chamber opera commissioned by Houston Grand Opera through HGOco’s “Song of Houston” initiative. Four days of work with our performers and directors culminated in a presentation of the complete 75-minute score, drafted for a reduced orchestration of piano, electric and acoustic guitar, and drum set.

Since then I’ve been revising and orchestrating in anticipation of our second music workshop May 18-22, which will include the full score for rock-classical octet! We’re thrilled with how the piece is taking shape and excited to be taking these final steps in its development towards the premiere production in February 2021.

In the meantime… on Wednesday, March 11 at 7:30pm, rodeo fans will preview the opera in a performance by Miss Leslie and Her Juke Jointers at Rodeo Houston’s “Stars Over Texas Stage”! This reprisal of HGO’s Rodeo Songs cycle will include the World Premiere of “Next Rodeo”—my country song with lyrics by Megan, sung from the perspective of a barrel racer on the road, adapted from the opera. This will be the first performance of my music by a honky-tonk band! Learn more about the event.