If you want a chance to see opera and musical theater stars in the making, then check out Moores Opera Center at the University of Houston, which starts its spring season traditionally and otherwise with The Marriage of Figaro and Moscow, Cheryomushki. The first is a romantic successor to The Barber of Seville written by Mozart and sung in Italian with subtitles. The second is a much lesser known work (though done to some acclaim last year in Chicago): a comedy about three Russian couples seeking an apartment, which debuted in 1959 and will be sung in English because as director Buck Ross puts it: ''There's just really a lot of dialogue in it, and you don't want to hear a lot of dialogue done in Russian by English speakers, and also because it's more of a show that way.'' Two completely different casts carry out the works, he says. Ross, who founded the Opera Center in 1986, says they tailor their productions to the voices they have available while keeping in mind that ''our audience is a very adventurous audience; they're delighted we're not doing the same old thing all the time.'' And it's been 12 years since they've done Figaro.
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See The Marriage of Figaro at 7:30 p.m. January 24, 26 and 27 and Moscow, Cheryomushki at 7:30 p.m. January 25 and 28; 2 p.m. January 27. University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun. For information, call 713-743-3313 or go to www.music.uh.edu/events. $12 to $20.
Jan. 24-28, 2013