UH Singers Taking Voices to Smaller Stage for 'What's Opera, Duck?'

Moores Opera Center Presenting Annual Fundraiser at Houston’s Mucky Duck Sept. 24

The singers at the University of Houston Moores Opera Center are accustomed to projecting their voices in large performance halls. Each fall, however, they bring their voices to a much smaller stage for an intimate evening of opera arias.

The Moores Opera Center’s annual fundraiser “What’s Opera, Duck?” transplants the university’s rich collection of voices into the popular nightclub The Mucky Duck (2425 Norfolk St.). The event returns to the Duck at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 24. Tickets are $20 if purchased in advance and $22 at the door.

“What’s Opera, Duck?” began as a fun fundraiser in 2010. Since then, it’s grown into an anticipated opera event in Houston.

Singers from the University’s award-winning opera program will deliver arias and musical theater works. Both enthusiasts and casual patrons of opera will be entertained, said Buck Ross, director of the Moores Opera Center.

“This is an excellent opportunity to experience these singers in an up close and personal environment,” Ross said. “No costumes. No orchestra. No sets. Just big, beautiful voices accompanied by a pianist. It’s a perfect introduction to the talents we’re grooming at the Moores Opera Center.”

Singers scheduled to perform include Heath Martin, Kyla Knox, Nicole Woodward, Julie Thornton and Katrina Van Maanen.

“What’s Opera, Duck?” is a perfect warm up for the Moores Opera Center’s season kick off in October. On Oct. 25, the center begins a four-show run of Nino Rota’s “The Straw Hat” (a Houston premiere).

The Moores Opera Center is part of UH’s Moores School of Music. Each year, it produces four operas. In addition to “The Italian Straw Hat,” the center will present Gian-Carlo Menotti’s “The Consul” (Jan. 23 – 26),  Giochino Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” (Jan. 24 – 27) and Carlisle Floyd’s “Cold Sassy Tree” (April 4 – 7).

The center has delivered several city and regional premieres including 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.” In 2012, the center earned awards from the National Opera Association (NOA) for productions of “Amelia” and “Der Rosenkavalier.” In 2011, it also received NOA honors for “Il Postino.” 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.” For more details on the Moores Opera Center, visit http://www.music.uh.edu/opera/