Faculty & Staff

Opera Faculty

  • Buck Ross, Director and Producer, has staged productions for the Houston Grand Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, the Houston Symphony, San Antonio Opera, Kentucky Opera, El Paso Opera, Utah Opera. For many years he was Director of Dramatic Studies for the Houston Opera Studio and co-director of the apprentice program of the Des Moines Metro Opera. Librettist for opera adaptation of E.M. Forster's A Room With a View with music by Robert Nelson. Author of English singing versions of several operas including Don Pasquale, La Finta Giardiniera, and Orpheus in the Underworld. He holds degrees in music and theatre from Bucknell University, and an MFA in stage direction from the University of Minnesota where he was an assistant to H. Wesley Balk.
  • Raymond Harvey, Music Director.
  • Alan E. Hicks, Associate Producer and Stage Director, has spent the past two decades in professional opera and theatre. He has directed productions for organizations throughout the United States and in Europe including Minnesota Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Tulsa Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Miami Music Festival, Green Mountain Opera Festival, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Franco-American Vocal Academy in Salzburg, Shenandoah Conservatory, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Iowa. Alan has also served on the directing and production staffs of Central City Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Michigan Opera Theatre, New York City Opera, Seattle Opera, and Tulsa Opera. In 2013, he was appointed Director of the Emerging Artist Program at Green Mountain Opera Festival, a position he held until the company's closing in 2015. A former singer, Alan spent the early years of his career singing contracts with Virginia Opera, Minnesota Opera, Lake George Opera Festival, and Chautauqua Opera. Alan holds degrees in Education, Vocal Performance, and Opera Directing from Mississippi State University, Rice University, and The University of Texas at Austin (respectively).
  • Kevin J. Miller, Vocal Coach.

Voice Faculty

  • Cynthia Clayton, soprano, is an audience favorite in opera houses throughout the United States and abroad for her critically acclaimed performances of roles including Puccini heroines Tosca, Manon Lescaut, Mimi, Musetta, Liù, and Madama Butterfly; Mozart heroines Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, Pamina, Countess Almaviva, and Fiordiligi; Verdi heroines Desdemona, Leonora, and Violetta; as well as Nedda (Pagliacci), Micaela (Carmen), Marguerite (Faust), Janáček’s Jenůfa, Floyd's Susannah, and Catán’s Florencia. She has bowed in leading roles at New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, Utah Opera, Cleveland Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Opéra en Plein Air (Belgium), Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Grand Rapids, and Central City Opera, among many others. She has been a member of the faculty at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston since 2005, and has earned the rank of Associate Professor. Her upcoming credits include the release of an album of the music of composer Daniel Catán on the Albany label later this year, and a debut as Alice Ford (Falstaff) with Opera Colorado this spring.
  • Joseph Evans, tenor. Among his appearances as a leading tenor are those for La Scala, Ireland's Wexford Festival, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera de Nantes, Orleans, and Nancy, La Fenice, Theatre de Geneve, New York City Opera, eight seasons, Houston Grand Opera and the companies of San Diego, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Boston and Cleveland; performances with New York Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic, orchestras of Cleveland, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and others; recordings, Sony Classics, CBS Masterworks, Cybellia and Gasparo labels.
  • Timothy Jones, bass-baritone. Acclaimed throughout the United States, Canada, South America and Europe, Timothy Jones is rapidly emerging as one of the leading bass-baritones of his generation. His eagerly anticipated performances combine intelligent musicianship, commanding vocal technique and a unique ability to connect with audiences. He is a champion of opera, the concert stage, chamber music, solo recitals and the premieres of contemporary works.
  • Lynda Keith McKnight, soprano, made her stage debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 1991 in the world premiere of John Corgliano's The Ghosts of Versailles, and has sung professionally with opera companies throughout the US and abroad. A winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 1988, Ms. McKnight has been featured in Opera News magazine. Operatic performances include bows with the Toledo Opera, the Shreveport Opera, Opera Orchestra of New York, the Wolf Trap Opera, and Sugarland Opera. In addition to standard repertoire such as Violetta, Musetta, Marguerite, and Hannah Glawari, she has become sought after as an interpreter of new and undiscovered music, with repertoire ranging from Zemlinsky's The Chalk Circle to Daron Hagen's Amelia. Ms. McKnight holds both a MM in Voice and an Artist Diploma in Opera from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, as well as a BM in vocal performance from Baylor University.
  • Jeb Mueller, Director of University Men's Chorus, Concert Women's Chorus, helps prepare opera choruses, and teaches choral music education courses. In addition to his teaching duties, he is an active clinician, adjudicator, and conference presenter. Mueller taught high school choral music in the Houston area for six years. His choirs consistently earned superior ratings at contests and were twice chosen the Overall Best Choir at state and national choral festivals. Dr. Mueller holds degrees from The University of Miami, The University of Texas, and Texas Tech University.
  • Melanie Sonnenberg, mezzo-soprano. International appearances include leading roles with Teatro San Carlo, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Graz Oper, Salzburg Festspielhaus, Tokyo Yoyogi Arena, New York City Opera, Dallas Opera, Seattle Opera, Washington National Opera, Edmonton Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Edmonton Opera, Opera Ontario, New Orleans Opera, San Diego Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Indianapolis Opera, among others, and soloist with Opera Orchestra of New York, Grazer Philharmonic, Little Orchestra Society of New York, San Antonio Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra, and Princeton Festival Orchestra. Featured in broadcast performances via "Live from Lincoln Center" and "Great Performances", the ORF-Austrian Radio and Television, and NPR. Commercial recordings with Albany, Reference, and House of Opera. She is the Director and Co-Founder of Le Chiavi: The Institute of Bel Canto Studies, a national adjudicator for Classical Singer, National Association of Teachers of Singing, and the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions and has led master classes and lecture demonstrations in Europe and the United States.
  • Hector Vasquez, baritone. Leading roles, Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, Cleveland, Orlando, and Houston Grand Opera in addition to his appearances as baritone soloist with Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Houston Philharmonic/Symphony Orchestras, among others. Featured artist at Music Festivals of Berlin, Ojai, Aspen, Carmel, Santa Fe Chamber, and the Hollywood Bowl Summer Season. Voice instructor at University of Southern California and California State University, Los Angeles; clinician, Opera America. National and international adjudicator, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Recordings on Kultur Video, Sony Classical and Albany records. Broadcasts appearances include Live from the MET, Live from Lincoln Center and NPR radio.
  • Betsy Cook Weber, Director of Choral Studies. Director of internationally-recognized Moores School Concert Chorale; Director of Houston Symphony Chorus; successful music teacher in the public schools at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels, during which time choirs there won numerous competitions and awards; active at local and national levels as a conductor, presenter, and clinician; curates the Betsy Cook Weber Choral Series for Alliance Music Publications; degrees from North Texas State University, Westminster Choir College (Princeton, NJ), and University of Houston.

Moores Opera Center

  • Kristin Johnson, Manager, Moores Opera House.
  • Jason Burton, Assistant Manager, Moores Opera House.