Opera - University of Houston
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Moores Opera Center is recognized as one of the leading opera training programs in the country. Founded by Buck Ross in 1985, the Moores Opera Center has earned a national reputation for preparing singers for professional careers, with alumni performing on stages across the globe. The Center is now under the leadership of Kathleen Belcher, who is in her 20th year on the directing staff of the Metropolitan Opera, and Keith Chambers, who is the founder of New Amsterdam Opera in New York.

Students learn their craft through a robust curriculum that is designed to prepare artists for the realities of a professional career, combined with the opportunity to perform in multiple fully staged productions with orchestra each year in the state-of-the art Moores Opera House.

Opera today not only embraces diverse musical and theatrical approaches to storytelling – it a lens through which we can look at the world. At the Moores Opera Center, we honor and respect the past, we dedicate ourselves to developing your technique and skills, and we work together to create a future for opera that is as vibrant and eclectic as the world we live in. If you want to be part of that future, we invite you to join us at the Moores Opera Center.


    Professor of Practice 
    Artistic Director of the Moores Opera Center 
    Email: kbelcher@uh.edu
    MSM 184

    Visiting Professor 
    Music Director of the Moores Opera Center   
    Email: kchambers@uh.edu
    MSM 172


Opera is changing. You can be part of that change. When you join us at the Moores Opera Center, you will enjoy:

  • Studying with our internationally acclaimed faculty

  • Honing your craft through a constantly evolving curriculum designed to serve the needs of the 21st century singer

  • Performance opportunities in diverse repertoire, including operas from the baroque period to present day, works by women and BIPOC artists historically underrepresented on the opera stage, and musical theater works suited to the classically trained voice

  • The opportunity to workshop new operas with some of the most exciting composers and librettists the country

  • Working with a variety of guest artists every year who specialize in different repertoire and areas of operatic performance

  • Performing in the Moores Opera House, one of the finest purpose-built opera theaters in the country

  • The opportunity to work with students in the schools of Theater, Dance and the Visual Arts on interdisciplinary collaborations and productions

  • Building relationships that will serve as the foundation for a professional career

  • Affordable tuition, with robust scholarship opportunities available

  • Living and studying in Houston, one of the most vibrant, diverse and exciting cities in the world, internationally recognized as a performing and visual arts mecca with hundreds of institutions across the region dedicated to artistic expression

  • The support of an open and responsive artistic family that is dedicated to your success



With fewer than 100 voice majors, including approximately 25 graduate students, we can ensure that you will get more stage time and experience than at other programs. Our imaginative productions regularly win National Opera Association awards in the most competitive division in the United States. Auditions are heard in April and August of each year and are open to all students. Undergraduates are considered alongside graduate students in casting.

Current Season



At Moores, you will study with expert faculty, comprised of nationally and internationally recognized singers, directors, conductors and coaches – all of whom are dedicated to your success and who have a network of connections to leverage on your behalf once you have graduated.  The learning environment at Moores is positive, collaborative, and supportive.  Students are encouraged to attend studio classes with different teachers and to take advantage of opportunities to work with guest artists during opera production residencies and master classes.


Student Director and Conductor


Since the University of Houston is a public university, tuition is lower than in private schools; and merit-based scholarships are available. You’ll study in an award-winning opera program without incurring all of the debt you take on by attending a private university. For nonresident students, scholarships and graduate assistant positions may make a student eligible to receive a tuition waiver resulting in Texas resident tuition rate. A variety of teaching assistantships are available for qualified graduate students. 



We are located in the fourth-largest city in the U.S., offering access to one of the most diverse and exciting arts scenes in the country. With internationally renowned companies like Houston Grand Opera and local opera organizations like Opera in the Heights, opportunities abound to learn from and participate in the voice and opera scene. Houston also has a first-class symphony orchestra, inventive chamber music, two professional early music groups, musical theatre, drama, dance and world-renowned art museums.



Moores Opera Center alumni are continually among those who are selected for apprentice programs, win competitions and are cast in roles with leading opera houses around the world. The training you receive and the connections you make in our program will put you on a path to success.

If you are interested in learning more, connect with our Moores Student Ambassadors to sit in on an opera rehearsal, music history or theory class and possibly audit a voice studio class!


Auditions for Moores Opera Center productions are open to all UH students and occur in April and August. In the April audition, current students audition for the Fall show, though incoming graduate students are also considered for roles in the opening production based on their entrance auditions. The remainder of the season is cast after an additional audition during the first week of classes in August. For more information about auditions and how to sign up, contact the Director of the Moores Opera Center.

Select Opera Courses

  • Acting

    Acting is acting. There is no separate kind of acting “for opera”, but the singing actor does face unique challenges that actors performing in plays and even musicals do not face. At Moores, we focus on developing the skills that allow you to convincingly transform into a wide variety of characters on stage. We begin with the development of physical awareness, focus and the release of tension. This is followed by the exploration and application of various acting techniques that allow each singer to develop their ability to integrate text and music in a compelling theatrical performance.
  • Opera Role Performance

    Performing on stage is at the heart of the Moores curriculum. Opera Role Performance provides singers with the opportunity to apply their vocal and theatrical skills to the performance of complete roles and/or chorus through fully staged productions, concert stagings, and workshops of new operas in development. Singers study their assigned operas’ historical and societal background; dramaturgical structure; and historical performance practice. They then analyze their roles and use that analysis to build a fully rounded character portrayal on stage. Singers work with professional directors, conductors, language coaches and stage management through a comprehensive rehearsal process leading up to performance. This course is open to both undergraduates and graduate students and fulfills the large ensemble requirement at the graduate level.

  • Directing for Opera

    Basics of producing and directing an opera, including script/score analysis, research, pre-production planning, casting, set, costume and lighting design, scheduling, surtitles, blocking and rehearsal techniques.
  • Opera Literature

    Survey of opera literature from its Baroque-era beginnings through the present day.



“The Moores Opera Center not only taught me the fundamentals of being an opera singer, but I also received time on stage to apply and refine those skills. I sang eleven roles that were fully staged and orchestrated in a world-class opera house. I received excellent vocal training and the tools to understand how to move on stage, connect with an audience and continually strive for excellence in my craft. I stepped out of the program ready to take on a leading role in a substantial hall and I was challenged in a way that prepared me for the pressures of a career onstage. I am so grateful for the education I received at the Moores Opera Center.“ - Jessica E. Jones, ‘09, MM ‘11