The Classical Imperative: Houston Public Media

"There’s certainly nothing staid and boring about Houston’s cultural scene. No matter which way you turn you’re likely to fall over some sort of avant garde/cutting edge production or another.
Something I find intriguing, however, amongst all this “newness” is the strong presence of the “antique.” By that I mean art from Classical Antiquity that is blended with contemporary performance values.

Several groups around town have done this recently. Last weekend Divergence Vocal Theater, Houston’s newest “opera” company, made its debut with The Ottavia Project, Artistic Director Misha Penton’s telling of the story of Octavia, scorned wife of the Roman Emperor Nero, through a fusion of elements from Monteverdi’s opera L’Incoronazione di Poppea and the tragedy Octavia, often attributed to the 1st century C.E. Roman dramatist Seneca, with dance and music. The resulting spectacle was a satisfying melding of the old and the new very much in line with DVT’s stated vision.

But while these recent productions may harken back to the mists of time, their treatments are thoroughly modern in keeping with Houston’s commitment to the cutting edge.”

By St. John Flynn / KUHF Houston NPR

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