Art Collections at Moores School of Music - University of Houston
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Art Collections at Moores School of Music

About the Moores Opera House (including work of Frank Stella, Stephen de Staebler, and Issac Maxwell)

Inaugurated in 1997, the Moores Opera House is a gift from John and Rebecca Moores and is the largest performance space in the 142,000-square-foot Moores School of Music building on the University of Houston campus. The house is accessed through the Jane Blaffer Owen Plaza, itself dominated by American Stephen De Staebler's sculpture, "Winged Victory" (1996).

Stephen de Staebler,
"Winged Victory" (1996)

American abstract painter Frank Stella, one of the most adventurous and versatile artists of his generation, has made the house's grand entrance hall and lobby a masterpiece with his brilliant colors, sweeping arabesques, and geometric shapes covering the entire length of the vaulted ceiling and back wall (see the Stella Project, below).

The lobby and theater also feature wall sconces and a chandelier commissioned from Isaac Maxwell, an artist specializing in fixtures that are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. Light emanating from perforations in the worked metals create intricate patterns and reflections in the theater.

The 800-seat theater itself is somewhat reminiscent of an eighteenth-century opera house, with two tiers of boxes outlining a horseshoe-shaped configuration of crimson seats. The Mathes Group, designers of the entire Moores School of Music building, worked with internationally known consultants Christopher Jaffe in acoustics and Richard Kilbrow in theater design to bring audiences and performers into optimum proximity.

The 50-foot-wide stage proscenium defines a space in which the school mounts productions by the Edyth Bates Old Moores Opera Center as well as concerts by the school's Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Orchestra, numerous choral ensembles, and faculty artists, all in concerts supported by state-of-the-art lighting and recording systems.