For many people, the age of 30 is a turning point. It’s a time of maturity, experience and looking forward to a prosperous future. This year, the University of Houston’s Moores Opera Center, part of the new College of the Arts, hits the big 3-0. It’s definitely grown up over the years but retains the same youthful, adventurous energy that’s made it a gem in the city’s arts scene.
This year, the center is celebrating three decades of delivering classics and contemporary works Houstonians. For its 2016 – 17 season, it will serve up comedy, tragedy, social commentary, romance … and of course, beautiful music.
Highlights include the regional premiere of John Musto’s “The Inspector” (Jan. 26 – 29), musical adaptations of literary classics by Shakespeare and Arthur Miller, and one of the most popular comic operas of all time.
Center director Buck Ross has grown the Moores Opera Center into one of the country’s foremost opera programs. In recent years, the center has earned awards from the National Opera Association and acclaim from media and music fans alike.
All operas are performed in UH's Moores Opera House (Entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard). Tickets are $20, $12 for students and seniors. A season pass covering four operas is available for $60. For additional details, call the Moores box office at 713-743-3313 or visit its website.
The Moores Opera Center’s 2016 – 17 season will include:
- Oct. 21 – 24 – “The Crucible” by Robert Ward: Witch-hunting fever has infected the town of Salem, turning neighbor against neighbor with devastating results. A searing indictment of mob psychology, Arthur Miller’s classic drama was written as a response to the McCarthy anti-Communist witch-hunts of the 1950’s. His play inspired this Pulitzer Prize winning opera by American Robert Ward. (Sung in English with English surtitles) 7:30 p.m., Oct. 21, 22, 24; 2 p.m., Oct. 23.
- Jan. 27 – 30 – “The Secret Marriage (Il matrimonio segreto)” by Domenico Cimarosa: So, you’ve secretly married your father’s assistant, your father is a fool, your sister is a harpy, your maiden aunt is lusting after your new husband and a wealthy English count has entered into an arranged marriage with your sister but decides he’d rather marry you. What could possibly go wrong? (Sung in Italian with English surtitles) 7:30 p.m., Jan. 27, 30; 2 p.m., Jan. 29.
- Jan. 26 – 29 – “The Inspector” by John Musto (Houston premiere): An inspector from Mussolini’s Rome is paying an incognito visit to a small Italian village, sending everyone into a frenzy of comic obsequiousness and greed. Musto’s very funny adaptation of Gogol’s satirical play, “The Government Inspector,” premiered recently at Wolf Trap to rapturous reviews. (Sung in English with English surtitles) All performances are at 7:30 p.m.
- April 7 – 10 – “Romeo and Juliet” by Charles Gounod: With lyrical music that inspires swooning, this story of doomed love is even more romantic than Shakespeare’s original play. Gounod’s opera proves that French is still the language of love. (Sung in French with English surtitles) 7:30 p.m., April 7, 8, 10; 2 p.m., April 9
As part of UH’s Moores School of Music and the College of the Arts, the Moores Opera Center provides student singers with opportunities to perform in full-length productions. Likewise, it offers Houstonians a first look at new works. Among the regional premieres presented by the Moores Opera Center are David Carlson’s “Anna Karenina,” Thomas Pasatieri’s “Frau Margot,” Daron Hagen’s “Amelia,” 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.”
For more details on the Moores Opera Center, visit http://www.music.uh.edu/opera/.