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LSL About 


Founded in 2006, Lone Star Lyric is an independent, non-profit opera and lyric theater presenting organization committed to showcasing Texas-based artists, premiering new chamber works by living American composers and exploring the untapped repertory of lyric composers of the past.

Lone Star Lyric (LSL) has carved a distinctive niche in Houston's rich artistic community, providing an opportunity for theater-going audiences both in Houston and beyond to satisfy their appetites for diverse opera and lyric theater experiences. LSL offers innovative, fully staged, high quality productions that immerse audiences into the show and that are presented in intimate venues as well as curating creative aging outreach/tour concert programming for audiences in retirement communities. LSL performances feature Houston's finest emerging and established opera and theater performers, singers, musicians and theater professionals.


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California native Kelli Estes is known for singing the high-flying and eccentric leading ladies of the opera, oratorio and musical theater stages. She is an original cast member of Philadelphia's Center City Opera Theater, Opera Company of Brooklyn, Opera in the Heights, Allentown Concert Opera, Lone Star Lyric and has frequently performed with the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, Main Street Theater and Shreveport Opera. Estes proudly holds memberships in the prestigious Actor’s Equity Association, Houston Tuesday Musical Club, Houston Philosophical Society. A Bachelor of Arts from California State University Fresno and Master of Music from the Moores School of Music have helped her carve out a wide-ranging career in the creative lyric arts that continues to evolve.


A 12-year stint in New York helped Estes expand her lyric skills to include writing and directing.  Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Houston’s Lone Star Lyric (year-round cabaret concert series and summer opera festival,,) Estes maintains her guiding principal, “what do I want to sing and how many will it take to carry me off stage?”  In only 17 years, LSL has featured more than 400 of Houston’s finest singers producing 35 operas, operettas and musicals mining the gems of the chamber-sized lyric theater repertoire.  Not satisfied with just a summer festival, she created and produces LSL’s wildly popular, Lyric Cabaret, a year-round jazz cabaret series featuring music from the Great American Songbook.  The art of cabaret is so popular that in 2020, Estes launched the newest addition to the LSL canon, a 6-week long cabaret and performance workshop for all ages called, Lyric Lab.


As an educator, Estes is on faculty teaching, Opera Workshop, Private Voice and Music Appreciation at Lone Star College CyFair and Wharton County Junior College, soloist at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, regularly tours with Eric Genuis “Concerts For Hope,” private voice lessons at several high schools in the Houston area, a frequent clinician for master classes, workshops and guest judge for universities across the country as well as the Greater Houston NATS competition, Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) Tommy Tune Awards, Houston Grand Opera’s High School Voice Studio and the 60th Annual National Opera Association Convention. 


Estes feels very fortunate to spend her life in the performing arts.  A career that includes singing opera, operetta, musical theater and jazz cabaret all over the world, teaching and directing.  Live theater can inspire us to open our minds, set aside our troubles and spark our creativity to become the people we hope to be.  There is an indescribable energy exchange between an actor/singer and the audience.  It is that energy, an intangible commodity, which influences us the rest of our lives.  “Whether making it or teaching it, I love sharing the gift of music!”

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