The Moores Opera Center was founded by director Buck Ross in 1986. From humble beginnings as the University Opera Theatre, it began with a production of Virgil Thomson’s The Mother of Us All produced in Dudley Recital Hall with costumes, a few props, and a piano. The following year brought a complete season of three fully produced operas in various performing spaces around campus. Through the generosity of patron Edythe Bates Old, an endowment was set up that now provides approximately 35% of our funding. With the opening of the spectacular Moores Opera House in 1997, the name was changed to the Edythe Bates Old Moores Opera Center and we started doing four major productions a year. That season included our first production of John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, which put us on the national opera radar. Since then notable contemporary productions have included Dominick Argento’s Miss Havisham’s Fire and Casanova’s Homecoming (released on the Newport Classic label), Conrad Susa’s The Dangerous Liaisons, Christopher Theofandis’ The Thirteen Clocks, Robert Nelson’s The School for Scandal and A Room with a View (released on DVD by Newport Classic) and Jonathan Dove’s Flight. Other seasons have included William Bolcom’s A Wedding and Dinner at Eight and a new second production of The Ghosts of Versailles. We were the first university to produce Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath, Robert Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry, and Daron Hagen’s Amelia, John Musto’s The Inspector, David Carlson’s Anna Karenina, and Thomas Pasatieri’s Frau Margot. Composer Daniel Catán was so impressed by our production of his opera Florencia en el Amazonas that he asked us to do the second U.S. production of his new opera Il Postino right after its premiere in Los Angeles with Placido Domingo. We then continued with a project to produce all of Mr. Catán’s operas.
In addition to the expected standard operatic repertory, other memorable Houston premieres included Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges, Weber’s Der Freischütz, Barber’s Vanessa, Massenet’s Chérubin, Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims, Weill’s The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Mozart’s Lucio Silla, Shostakovich’s Moscow, Cheryomushki, Mechem’s Tartuffe, and Rota’s The Italian Straw Hat.
Our productions have consistently won awards with the National Opera Association since we started entering in 2011.
Our graduates have gone on to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Minnesota Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Virginia Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Austin Opera, Opera Colorado, Des Moines Metro Opera, and many other American houses, as well as European houses such as La Scala, Teatro San Carlo, the Vienna State Opera, and the Bavarian State Opera.
Production Photo Gallery