Each year, the University of Houston’s Moores Opera Center takes on the task of trying to top previous performance seasons. Audiences have discovered the award-winning opera company is certainly up to the challenge.
For its 2015 – 2016 opera season, the center will deliver familiar favorites and offer a regional premiere of an acclaimed new work.
Operas to be performed include “Manon” by Jules Massenet, “La Rondine” by Giacomo Puccini, “Così Fan Tutte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the first university production of “Anna Karenina” by David Carlson.
Led by director Buck Ross, the Moores Opera Center earns acclaim from both critics and opera enthusiasts alike. It also has received several awards from the National Opera Association.
All operas are performed in UH's Moores Opera House (Entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard). Tickets are $20 and $12 for students and seniors. A season pass covering four operas is available for $60. For additional details, call the Moores box office at 713-743-3313 or visit its website.
The Moores Opera Center’s 2015 – 2016 season will include the following works:
- Oct. 23 – 26: “Manon” by Jules Massenet - As the saying goes, “Good girls go to Heaven and bad girls go everywhere.” During her brief lifetime, Manon breaks a lot of hearts – including her own. Massenet’s work is an endlessly melodic, lavish and splendid evocation of the 18th century in all its French decadence and glamor. (Sung in French with English surtitles) 7:30 p.m., Oct. 23, 24, 26; 2 p.m., Oct. 25
- Jan. 28 – 21: “La Rondine” by Giacomo Puccini - When Magda finally finds true love and leaves her fashionable city life for romance on the French Riviera, she discovers that she can’t escape her past. Puccini wanted to evoke the romance, waltzes and popularity of Viennese operetta with a plot reminiscent of both “La traviata” and “Die Fledermaus.” Luckily, he couldn’t escape the fact that he was still Puccini. (Sung in Italian with English surtitles) 7:30 p.m., Jan. 28, 30, Jan. 31
- Jan. 29 – Feb. 1: “Così Fan Tutte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Try to pass the final exam in Don Alfonso’s School for Lovers in this giddy, comic whirlwind that puts love to the ultimate test. Are the lovers mismatched? Can love survive deceit and disguises in the shadow of a smoking volcano? Is there really anything better than Mozart? (Sung in Italian with English surtitles) 7:30 p.m., Jan. 29, Feb. 1; 2 p.m., Jan. 31
- April 8 – 11: “Anna Karenina” by David Carlson - In 19th century imperial Russia, a woman trapped in a loveless marriage falls for a dashing officer with tragic results. American David Carlson has written a sweeping score that seethes with passion and captures the Russian soul of Tolstoy’s famous novel. The composer will visit the Moores Opera Center for the first university performance of his opera following successful professional runs at Florida Grand Opera and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. (Sung in English with English surtitles) 7:30 p.m., April 8, 9, 11; 2 p.m., April 10
As part of UH’s Moores School of Music, the center provides student singers with plum opportunities to perform in full-length productions. Likewise, it offers Houstonians a first look at brand new works. Among the regional premieres presented by the Moores Opera Center are Thomas Pasatieri’s “Frau Margot,” Daron Hagen’s “Amelia,” Daniel Catán’s “Il Postino,” Robert Aldridge's “Elmer Gantry,” Ricky Ian Gordon’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” Sergei Prokofiev's “The Love for Three Oranges,” Carl Maria von Weber's “Der Freischütz,” Samuel Barber's “Vanessa,” Jules Massenet's “Chérubin,” Gioachino Rossini's “Il viaggio a Reims,” and Kurt Weill's “The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.”
For the past four years, the Moores Opera Center received honors from the National Opera Association (NOA). Recent awards include second place in Division V for “Cold Sassy Tree” and third place for its performances of “The Barber of Seville” and “The Italian Straw Hat.” Its 2013 production of “Moscow, Cheryomushki” took first place Division V in the association’s national competition. Its 2013 production of “Rigoletto” earned second place in Division IV. In 2012, the center received NOA awards for operas “Amelia” (first place – Division IV); “Der Rosenkavalier (second place – Division V). In 2011, “Il Postino” also earned NOA honors (first place – Division IV).
For more details on the Moores Opera Center, visit http://www.music.uh.edu/opera/.