Promoting Houston Grand Opera’s Company-Commissioned Original Opera

Houston Grand Opera (HGO) presented the world-premiere of its 75th company-commissioned original opera, Intelligence, on October 20, 2023, at the Wortham Theater Center. Intelligence explored the riveting and little-known true story of two women spies in Richmond, Virginia during the Civil War, and made history when it became the first world-premiere work to launch a new season for the company.

Elmore was charged with developing and executing a media relations strategy to announce the new season and generate press coverage for Intelligence, created by renowned American composer Jake Heggie and Urban Bush Women, a famous New York dance studio. A work without any name recognition, Intelligence provided an exciting opportunity to generate excitement amongst the Texas-wide arts and culture community as well as new, unlikely audiences whose interest in the subject matter, or in contemporary dance and music, might attract them to the opera for the first time. The effect of this widespread publicity would be to elevate the reputation of HGO statewide and bring awareness to Intelligence.

Ultimately, our intended impact on these audiences was to motivate them to purchase tickets to Intelligence, or otherwise support HGO through underwriting.

We began our media relations campaign in March by announcing HGO’s 2023-2024 season. Between July and October, we engaged press by granting exclusive access to initial workshops and rehearsals; strategically using subject matter experts for interviews; inviting media to HGO-hosted Intelligence community programs across Houston; and providing reviewer press tickets.

Elmore accomplished all outlined objectives. We provided media unprecedented access to the opera, and secured favorable local and regional press coverage.

The results earned Intelligence 59 placements, an audience reach of 9.8+ million, and a publicity value of $283,639.

Additionally, attributed in some part to the buzz Elmore generated around Intelligence, fundraising exceeded $3 million, more than any other HGO production in its history.

The success of our campaign meant existing and new audiences in Houston and throughout Texas were introduced to this commissioned, contemporary production.


3 months

4 months


Campaign Planning
Media Relations


59 media placements
9.8+ million audience reach
$283,639 publicity value
2024 IABC Bronze Quill Award of Excellence & Best of Division Winner
2024 PRSA Silver Excalibur Award Winner

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