Future opera singers are easily identified at birth due to their multi-octave crying and graceful bows as they emerge from the womb. Check out how far these toddling tenors have come with this GrouponLive deal to see Opera Under the Stars, presenting Opera Vista’s production of Houdini the Great at Bayou Bend. For $35, you get two tickets for unassigned lawn seating on Saturday, September 22, at 8 p.m. (up to a $70 value). Gates open at 7:15 p.m. Guests should arrive early for the best seats and plan to bring blankets or lawn chairs. In the event of inclement weather, the show will be rescheduled for Sunday, September 23.
Every autumn, the Bayou Bend branch of Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts sets up a stage in a lush, formal garden to regale audiences with a rotating selection of songs and music under the stars. This year, Opera Vista trills and tremolos through Andy Pape’s and Erik Clausen’s Houdini the Great, a musical biography of the legendary escape artist. The story weaves through various aspects of the Hungarian-born illusionist’s life, from his childhood immigration to the United States to fame, fortune, and the secrets kept by his beautiful wife, Kowalski. Staged in the serene Diana Garden of the mansion at Bayou Bend, the opera draws spectators to tour the central hall of the 1920s house until 7:45 p.m., as well as to gaze at shrubs and hedges sculpted to resemble outdoor parlors. Guests may purchase refreshments at the event and should refrain from bringing outside edibles, children younger than 13, and CliffsNotes.
Though Bayou Bend sometimes features a discounted price online, this Groupon still offers the best deal available.
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, the former estate of philanthropist and art collector Miss Ima Hogg, was completed in 1928 according to classical designs by renowned Houstonian architect John F. Staub. The elegant mansion houses the Early American decorative arts and paintings collection of Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, a congregation of nearly 2,600 furnishings, paintings, and ceramics that populates 28 period rooms in the carefully renovated house. The objects date back as far as 1620, letting the viewer observe the evolution of American taste from the Colonial to Victorian eras. Bayou Bend’s eye-widening assemblage of still lifes, armchairs, and silver was labeled a “treasure-trove” of Americana by Frommer’s, as well as a “must-see” for antiques collectors and gardeners.
The mansion at Bayou Bend is flanked by 14 acres of formal gardens and natural woodlands. Hogg designed the formal gardens as outdoor rooms for hobnobbing and decorated them with statues of a goddess and two muses, inspiring the northern blooms to write sonnets about honeybees. Today, organic gardening methods maintain the flourishing magnolias and crape myrtles.