Here’s $22 million. Go make an opera

Here’s $22 million. Go make an opera


norman lebrecht

February 06, 2023

Houston Grand Opera are still practically speechless after a pair of regular patrons, Sarah and Ernest Butler, presented them with a goft of 22 million dollars.

That’s big, even in Texas.

The couple had been subscribers for 35 years. She is an ex-teacher, a retired otolaryngologist.

How do you make $22m? And how do you spend it?

A few more details here.


  • Jobim75 says:

    Well, when the bankrupted states in Europe will no longer be able to finance operas, hopefully there still will be wealthy music lovers who will…

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Good for them. They have their priorities right.

  • Henry williams says:

    That money should help cancer research.
    More important than opera.

  • Robin says:

    The history of music is a history of patronage.

  • UTMusician says:

    This is in addition to a $40mm gift to the School of Music at the University of Texas, which is now named in their honor. Texas is a lucky state to have generous patrons like the Butlers…just take a look at our concert halls, art museums, and arts education programs.

  • Mick the Knife says:

    I love patrons like this! Thank you!

  • Larry W says:

    While great news, the HGO orchestra was given a 1% raise.

  • John R. says:

    Wow, very generous gift. Unfortunately funding is not the problem faced by this company…it’s bad artistic leadership. Unfortunately I don’t think Patrick Summers is going anywhere since he truly encompasses the Peter Principal. Seeing the decline of this once great company has been sad.