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February 13, 2020

Studio Buddies Program

Each season, the HGO Studio provides aspiring young opera professionals with the opportunity to study under a highly-respected professional staff of teachers and perform with stellar singers. The HGO Studio is one of the most respected young artist programs in the country. Current Studio artists Elena Villalon and William Guanbo Su (along with Studio alum Thomas Glass) were Winners of the 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. For more than thirty years, the Studio has served young singers and pianist/coaches, providing a bridge between full-time training and full-fledged operatic careers. The Studio has nurtured singers who have achieved international status in the opera world including Joyce DiDonoto, Jamie Barton, Ryan McKinney and Arturo Chacon-Cruz to name just a few. HGO Studio members commit themselves to an intense, individualized study program while based in Houston from late August through May. During a residency of up to three years, each singer and repetiteur receives customized training from an expert team while gaining invaluable coaching and performance experience.

HGO Guild Studio Buddies is a collaborative program that welcomes artists and makes Houston feel more like home for them. HGO Guild members who volunteer with the Studio Buddies program provide social support for the HGO Studio artists. Before their arrival in Houston, each new HGO Studio artist is paired with one or more Studio Buddy. The Buddy’s role is to provide whatever support and encouragement the artist wants or needs. It is our hope that the artists feel that Houston is a warm and welcoming city, and that there is someone here to help and look after them.

When an HGO Guild member volunteers with Studio Buddies and is paired with a performer in the HGO Studio, the Buddy commits to ‘be there’ during the artist’s entire residency of up to three years. A Buddy remembers their artist on his/her special occasions – birthdays, recitals, main-stage performances – with a phone call, flowers, an occasional e-mail or text, a post-performance visit backstage, a small gift or gift card.

In addition to the time commitment, Studio Buddies pay $100 per Buddy per year to defray the costs of the Buddies program. If you are enthusiastic about the talent being developed in HGO Studio, being a Studio Buddy might be for you. You can “adopt” a budding artist and be their Houston family during his or her tenure with the HGO Studio.

HGO Guild members who wish to volunteer with the Studio Buddies program for the 2020-2021 season are encouraged to sign up at the HGO Guild Volunteer Gathering in June 2020.

Questions? Contact HGO Guild Vice President, Studio Buddies, Marcheta Leighton-Beasley at or 713-542-5913

In addition to the Studio Buddies program, there are several ways to support the young artists of the HGO Studio:
Studio Showcase
Opera Night Live!
HGO Studio recitals at Rienzi and MFAH
Artist In Residence
Young Artists’ Vocal Academy
HGO Rigoletto performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre