Who says opera should be confined to massive concert halls? For the past three years, University of Houston singers have been wowing audiences at one of the city’s most popular nightclubs.
“What’s Opera, Duck?” started as a fun fundraiser but is now an annual for UH’s Moores Opera Center. Each fall and spring, singers take the stage of McGonigel’s Mucky Duck (2425 Norfolk St.) to deliver arias and snippets of musical theater. Audiences keep asking for more, so the next evening of intimate opera is set for 7:30 p.m., Oct. 4. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Mucky Duck box office or through the club’s website: mcgonigels.com.
Performers will include UH graduate and undergraduate students David Ward (who is directing and co-hosting the event), Ashly Neumann, Nicole Woodward, Megan Berti, James Rodriguez, Chris Trapani and Trevor Martin and Dennis Gallagher. UH alum Julia Engel also will perform.
Buck Ross, director of the Moores Opera Center, will share emcee duties with Ward. Brett Mitchell, assistant professor at UH’s Moores School of Music, is serving as musical director.
“This event is an entirely different kind of opera experience,” Ross said. “In this kind of environment, audiences get a better feel for the singers’ personalities. Also, the singers get to let their hair down. It’s a fun event that appeals to longtime opera patrons and casual fans.”
The Moores Opera Center is part of UH's Moores School of Music. It was founded in 1986 by director Ross and provides Houstonians with four productions each season. The center has presented a number of Houston premieres including 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." Professional recordings include the center's productions of Dominick Argento's "Casanova's Homecoming" and a DVD release of Robert Nelson's "A Room With a View." Upcoming operas include Catán’s “Salsipuedes” Oct. 26 – 29 and Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” Jan. 24 – 27. To learn more about the Moores Opera Center, visit http://www.music.uh.edu/opera/.
MSM is one of the premier music schools in America. Offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, it serves approximately 600 students annually. Areas of study include composition, conducting, performance, theory and musicology. Its faculty consists of internationally recognized performers, composers and scholars. Among its ensembles are the Moores School Symphony Orchestra, Moores Jazz Ensemble, Moores Opera Center, Concert Chorale, Concert Women’s Chorus, Spirit of Houston Cougar Marching Band, Wind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble. A majority of the school’s concerts are performed in the 800-seat Moores Opera House. For more details on the Moores School of Music, visit http://www.music.uh.edu/.