rice university, opera theatre
houston, texas

Project Team

Architect
Allan Greenberg Architect

Theatre Consultant
Fisher Dachs Associates

Shepherd School of Music's new 600-seat opera theatre will be one of the very few of its type and size in the country dedicated to opera and not conceived as a multi-purpose venue. A European tour at the beginning of design identified two favored precedents, one Italianate and one French. These were acoustically modelled and immersively simulated in our demonstration studio – both visually and aurally – as benchmarks against which concepts for the new theatre could then be compared. The design that emerged from this intensive yet conversational process envelopes the listener aurally in a room with clear ties to both the French and Italian operatic traditions, and the process of simulation and deep conversation proved a powerful common experience.