Rice University, Brockman Hall for Opera

Photo Credit: Brandon Martin/Rice University

The Brockman Hall for Opera will house will house the Lucian and Nancy Morrison Theater, a three-tiered, 600-seat, European-style opera theater with an orchestra pit for 75+ musicians. “The opera house is a visual overture to prepare the audience to enter into the magical world conjured by the music, the story and the theatrical setting of the opera,” said Allan Greenberg, architect. “It facilitates a journey into the mind of the composer, in which the human voice gives breath to a living fantasy.”

The Brockman Hall for Opera will be “a transformative addition to the Shepherd School, the opera program, and the greater university,” said Shepherd School Dean Robert Yekovich. “The center will offer premium performance space for opera, chamber orchestra, chamber music and theater; meet the growing need for rehearsal and practice space; and provide a hallmark venue to attract and host high-profile speakers.”

Addtional Information
  • Auditorium, 600-seats, multi-tiered Opera Hall.
  • Sightlines optimized with proprietary VR simulations created by FDA, complimented with acoustic modeling by Threshold Acoustics, throughout design process.
  • Custom upholsters seats and loose chairs provided by Series Seating and KM Fabrics, feature custom end panels with cast mediations and donor plaques.
  • Orchestra pit for up to 75+ musicians. Two state lifts accommodate configurations for smaller pit orchestras and Baroque orchestras (at house level), stage extension, and an additional row of audience seating. Removable railings were designed to be interchangeable to reduced inventory and easy of change over.
  • Variable Acoustic banners and tracked curtains are integrated with architectural elements and custom fabrics, featuring motorized controls and customizable presets.
  • Stage Rigging technology features 30+ motorized linesets with precision position, variable 0-120fpm speed, dedicated house curtain control, and emergency safety infrastructure provided by Texas Scenic Company.
  • Theatrical Lighting system features dimmer-per-circuit distribution with selectable dimming or through-power to accommodate incandescent and LED fixtures, dedicated wired network and controls provided by ETC. Lighting distribution over stage via raceways and cable management pantographs.
  • A custom Orchestra Shell accommodates chamber ensembles and smaller recitals; ‘Diva’ model towers and deployable ceiling reflectors with integral lighting provided by Wenger Corp.
  • A custom forestage reflector integrates with the auditorium ceiling and deploys with variable speed and precision tilt controls by Texas Scenic Company.
  • Rehearsal Room features integrated pipe-grid and acoustic reflectors, dedicated theatrical lighting controls.
  • Stage and Rehearsal Room feature resilient stage floor with Masonite deck custom built to FDA specification.
  • Scene Shop located directly off stage through dedicated loading dock, features integrated dust collection, paint booth, and motorized lifting at scenic painting wall.
  • Client: Rice University
  • Architect: Allan Greenberg Architect
  • Completion Year: 2020
  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Acoustician: Threshold Acoustics
  • Building Size: 84,000 s.f.
  • Capacity: 600 seats


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