Tuesday, March 13, 2012
UNT Opera Studies receives $1.5 million donation
Another Winspear donation.
The UNT Opera Studies program received a $1.5 million donation from the estate of the late Bill Winspear, the university announced Monday.
The fund established the Margot and Bill Winspear Chair in Opera Studies. Director of Opera Paula Homer was announced as the program’s first chair. The donation will help fund other areas, including opera production costs, financial support for voice students in the program, and various opera-related expenses.
“This generous gift and the endowed chair in opera provide the stability needed for training aspiring opera singers,” Homer said in a press release. “Our students can look forward to exciting opportunities to perform in full productions, and our patrons can thrill at the top-quality singing and acting provided by the best recruits in the nation.”
Homer started working at UNT in 1992 and has since directed more than 50 operas, three of which won awards for production from the National Opera Association, according to the UNT College of Music website.
“She’s been here for years, and I believe she was here before the music director came in,” performance master’s student Charlie Kim said. “She really built this thing [Opera Studies] from the ground up.”
Winspear, who died in 2007, and his wife, Margot, gave UNT a $2 million donation in 1998 to complete the Lyric Theater in the Murchison Performing Arts Center. The performance hall in Murchison is named in their honor. The Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in Dallas is also named after the couple, who donated more than $40 million to the hall in 2002.
“We know how much opera meant to Bill Winspear, and his generous estate gift to UNT could serve no better purpose than helping to assure the future of opera in the College of Music,” said James C. Scott, dean of the UNT College of Music.
Music senior Jason Howeth said he hopes the donation will help the program gain recognition.
“I think it definitely opens the door to more people realizing that while we do have the No. 1 jazz program in the country, we also have an amazing opera program as well,” Howeth said.
UNT Opera completed a series of performances of Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor earlier this month. The program will host Opera without Elephants: The Operas of Jake Heggie on Saturday, April 21 at 8 p.m. in the Lyric Theater.
Pegasus News Content partner - North Texas Daily
Intern Nicholas Cain contributed to this story.
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