Paula Homer, 69, Professor Emerita who served as the director of opera in the College of Music from 1992 to 2016, died June 21 in Southlake.
She was in charge of developing the UNT Opera program, which involved hiring more faculty members and creating UNT’s Lyric Theater, where she and her husband were married in 2009 — on a set for a production of The Marriage of Figaro. In 2012, she was selected as the first Margot and Bill Winspear Chair in Opera Studies. While at UNT, she worked with more than 1,000 students and directed more than 50 full productions, including three that received first-place awards from the National Opera Association.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from St. Mary’s College at Notre Dame and a master’s in choral conducting from Indiana University. Before joining UNT, she was the director of opera at Angelo State University. She also founded a traveling company that brought opera productions to small communities, and another that brought musical theater into schools. From 1993 to 2000, she co-directed the Des Moines Opera Apprentice Artists Program, where she mentored young professional singers.
In 2016, when UNT Opera presented selections from her favorite operas in her honor, music director Stephen Dubberly said her commitment to her students was “complete and single-minded.”
“She often avoided the spotlight and never sought to enhance her own reputation,” he said. “Instead, she poured her life into the lives of her students.”
Memorials may be made to The Paula Homer Opera Scholarship Endowment online, or mail checks made payable to the UNT Foundation (memo line: Paula Homer Opera Scholarship), to University of North Texas, Division of University Advancement, 1155 Union Circle #311250, Denton, Texas 76203-5017. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.