National Opera Association Member Newsletter
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NOA Notes Newsletter
Vol. 41, No. 8
November 2018

In This Issue

From the President
From the President-Elect
From the Vice-President for Conferences
From the Vice-President for Regions
From the Finance Committee
NOA Student Activities Initiative
2017-2018 Opera Production Competition Winners
2019 Board Slate of Nominees


Registration Now Open!!
2019 Salt Lake City


From the President

Paul Houghtaling

Associate Professor of Voice
Director of Opera Theatre Director
The Druid City Opera Workshop
University of Alabama School of Music

Hello, all.  Greeting from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 

I am getting really excited about our gathering in Salt Lake City in January as our national conference is shaping up to be another incredible event.

This year, there will be a particular focus on women in our industry with sessions presented and designed for female composers, conductors, and directors.  It’s about time, right!

We’ll offer a thoughtful session on diversity, through which NOA will continue and expand upon the dialogue and awareness that has been carried forward by the Legacy Project, one of NOA’s most important initiatives.  And - there will be a session on “Staging Intimacy in the Me Too Movement” and so many other impactful  and provocative sessions and events.  A few sessions are  geared just for students - you asked, we listened!

We look forward to having Maestro Stephen Lord with us to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, and to soprano Harolyn Blackwell  joining us to receive the Lift Every Voice Award.  Conference regulars - the Vocal Competition, the Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition, and the Chamber Opera finals - will highlight the week.  Please plan to join us.  I promise you’ll be enriched, entertained, and enlightened.

I’m grateful for the hard work of dedicated NOA Officers, board members, and committee chairs which will pay off in a truly memorable conference in Salt Lake City.   See you all there. 



From the President-Elect

Benjamin Brecher

Professor of Music
The University of California Santa Barbara

Dear NOA Membership,

It's hard to believe its almost been a year since New Orleans!  The Board and our great local host team have an exciting conference, Pioneering the Future of Opera planned for January 2-5, 2019 at the Four-Diamond hotel Little America in Salt Lake City.

Masterclasses by Harolyn Blackwell and Stephen Lord highlight a jam-packed weekend of scholarship, competition, and performance.  Please make sure you plan to attend what I know will be a invigorating conference filled with discovery, growth, and friendship. 

Special thanks to our President Paul Houghtaling, Vice-President of Conferences Lisa Dawson, and our local host Carol Ann Modesitt, for their leadership and hard work.

I look forward to seeing you in SLC!!


From the Vice-President for Conferences
Lisa Dawson

Professor of Voice. Indiana Wesleyan University

I am really looking forward to beginning 2019 in Salt Lake City with you!  I hope you have already completed your registration, booked your room, arranged for transportation and picked out your attire for the banquet!  Ok, maybe you haven’t packed your suitcase yet, but it’s still not too late make plans for NOA SLC!
The schedule has been recently updated and you can find it here: 

We will have beautiful views of the snow-covered mountains outside our fabulous hotel.  The days will be filled with over 30 sessions, master classes and performances.  We will share meals, ideas and make new memories.  We will be encouraged, inspired, enriched and challenged. 
Carol Ann Modesitt, local convention chair, will be rolling out the red carpet for all of us!  Let’s begin the New Year together!
Anxious to see you there!


From the Vice-President for Regions

Dawn Neely

Assistant Professor of Voice and Director of Opera Workshop
West Georgia University

We've now had three wonderful Regional One-Day Conferences: The Eastern Region's event was headed up by Gordon Ostrowski on October 6th and held at the National Opera Center. After receiving surveys from all of our conference participants and getting reports from our Regional Governors who held these great events, we will be discussing guidelines and plans for future regional events. 

Don't forget about the Regional Governor's Luncheon during the NOA Conference in Salt Lake City! On Friday, January 4, all members are invited to lunch with their respective Regional Governors at The Grand America Hotel, Garden Cafe. This casual lunch is buffet style in a lovely atmosphere right across the street from the Little America Hotel.  I hope that you will make plans to join us!
I will continue to work with all of our Governors to help plan smaller regional events and recruit members, particularly in our regions with low membership. Please do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts and suggestions on recruitment and regional events!

You can find or contact your Regional or State Governor as well as links to each region's Facebook page on our Regions web page any time.


From the Finance Committee

Carol Ann Modesitt, treasurer

Chair, Finance Committee and 2018 Annual Campaign
Cal-Western regional Governor

Music Department
Southern Utah University

From the Annual Campaign Finance Committee:

The holidays are just around the corner.  Thanksgiving is next week. 

One of the things for which I am thankful is the National Opera Association.  I have met so many wonderful colleagues from all over the United States since I have been a member of this organization.  I have had the opportunity to introduce many new operas to my students and my community that had I not been a member of this organization would have not been possible.  I have made many friends and gained insights that I believe help me to be a better teacher and director.

If you have donated money to the 2018 Annual Campaign, please accept our thanks.  If you haven’t donated yet, please think about something for which you are grateful to have gleaned from being a member of NOA.  Then think about making a tax deductible donation to our organization.  Membership dues alone cannot fulfill all of the wonderful things we are doing.

Salt Lake City is just a month and a half away.  I am excited to see you at our 2019 conference.  Until then, let me wish you the very best of the upcoming holiday season.

Carol Ann

NOA Student Activities Initiative

You Asked! We Listened!  

Students have always been essential to NOA, and based on feedback from students attending the 2017 and 2018 NOA Conventions, President Paul Houghtaling and the NOA board have launched a new Student Involvement Initiative.

The Salt Lake City Convention will be jam-packed with events that focus specifically on topics for students.  We will have conference session on YAPS, working with a conductor, and of course the Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition.

Students will sing in sessions, and new this year are Student Poster Sessions, which are a great opportunity to share student research and creative activity with the NOA membership.  We will also have a dedicated meeting for students where they will meet members of the board, network with each other, and tell us what sessions they would like to see at future conventions.

Join us in Salt Lake City for these events and many more that will help prepare students for their future!  Questions?  Contact Mitra Sadeghpour (, chair of the Student Involvement committee.

Student meeting in January, 2018 in New Orleans.

2017-2018 Opera Production Competition Winners

The winners of the 2017‐2018 Opera Production Competition have been announced. Due to the vast range of resources available to producing organizations, the entrants are grouped into 8 categories, and a total of 26 awards have been given by the judges.  Results, and a photo gallery of winning productions, can also be viewed at:

Division I     

1st place (tie) – The Pirates of Penzance, University of Missouri - St. Louis, Stella Markou, Director & Music Director

1st place (tie) – Hansel and Gretel, Western Connecticut State University, Margaret Astrup, Fernando Jimenez, Josh Bob Rose, Matthew Dettmer

2nd place – Strawberry Fields, Central Washington University, Tor Blaisdell, Director, Mia Spencer, Music Director and Pianist, Nikolas Caoile, Conductor and Pianist

3rd place – Little Red Riding Hood, Central Washington University, Gayla Blaisdell, Director, Adrienne Shields, Music Director

Division II

1st place – The Tender Land, The Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, Director: Alison Moritz, Music Director: Kirk Severtson

2nd place – The Mikado, Friends University, Matthew Schloneger, Music Director; Rolaine Hetherington, Stage Director; Kurt Priebe, Technical Director; Debbie Roberts, Costume

3rd place – The Telephone, Trouble in Tahiti, Tale for a Deaf Ear, Opera d'arte, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, Amy S. Johnson, Director and Co-Producer, Gabriella Sam, Assistant Director, Kenneth Shaw Co-Producer, Brett Scott, Musical Director, Daniel Mallampalli, Assistant Conductor

Division III  

1st Place – Die Zauberflöte, Northern Arizona University, Eric Gibson; Daniel O'Bryant; Michele Collins

2nd Place – Serse, Texas A&M University Commerce, Jennifer Glidden, Director, Randall Hooper, Conductor, Laura Maxwell, Pianist

3rd Place – Julius Caesar, The University of Montana Opera Theater and UM Symphony Orchestra, Anne Basinski, Director; David Cody, Music Director; Luis Millán, Conductor; Heather Adams, Choreographer

Division IV  

1st Place – Le comte Ory, Lawrence University, Copeland Woodruff, Stage Director; Andrew Mast, Conductor; Andrew Crooks, Vocal Coach & Music Director

2nd Place – Il Matrimonio Segreto, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, Scott Skiba, Producer, Noa Naamat, Stage Director, Tiffany Chang, Conductor, Jeff Herman, Scenic Design, Steve Shack, Lighting Design

3rd Place – The Turn of the Screw, Texas State University, Dr. Joshua Miller, stage director, Kristin Roach, conductor/coach, Stephanie Busing, projection designer, Scott Vandenberg, lighting designer

Division V   

1st Place – La Voix humaine, University of Missouri, Kansas City- Conservatory of Music and Dance, Fenlon Lamb (Director), Jefferson Ridenour (Scenic Designer), Hector Quintero (Lighting Designer), Kris Kirkwood (Projections Designer)

2nd Place – Letters to Quebec from Providence in the Rain, University of Alabama, Paul Houghtaling, Director; Caleb Harris, Conductor and Music Director, Scott Santoro, pianist

3rd Place –  A Midsummer Night's Dream, Texas Christian University, David Gately, Director, Stephen Carey, Conductor

Division VI  

1st Place – The Falling and the Rising, Texas Christian University, David Gately, Director, Tyson Deaton, Conductor, Staff Sergeant Ben Hilgert, Executive Producer, Darren K. Woods, Executive Producer

2nd Place – The Turn of the Screw, University of Wisconsin-Madison, David Ronis, Director; Kyle Knox, Conductor

3rd Place – The Mikado, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, Justin John Moniz, Stage Director, Val Underwood, Artistic Director, Jennifer Tung, Music Director

Division VII  

1st Place – Dog Days, LSU Opera/Lousiana State University, Dugg McDonough, Stage Director; Michael Borowitz, Music Director

2nd Place – The Vaudevillian, Oklahoma City University, David Herendeen, Jan McDaniel, Zach Polasek, Alex Phelan

3rd Place – H.M.S. Pinafore, Arizona State University, Brian DeMaris, artistic director and conductor; Dale Dreyfoos, stage director

Division VIII  

1st Place (tie) – The School for Scandal, Moores Opera Center, University of Houston, Buck Ross, stage director; Raymond Harvey, music director

1st Place (tie) – Cendrillon, University of Miami, Frost School of Music, Directed by Jeffrey Marc Buchman, Music Director/Conductor Alan Johnson, Set Design by Stephan Moravski, Costume Design by Nuria Carrasco Dominguez, Lighting Design by Stevie O’Brian Agnew, Hair and Make-up Design by Emily Malin

2nd Place – The Cunning Little Vixen, LSU Opera/Louisiana State University, Dugg McDonough, Stage Director, Michael Borowitz, Music Director, Jennifer White, Choreographer

3rd Place – Impressions de Pelléas, University of North Carolina School of the Arts AJ Fletcher Opera Institute, Stage Director, Nicholas Muni; Conductor, Christopher Allen

2019 Board Slate of Nominees

Final Slate for Board of Directors Nominees

Nominating Committee 
Linda Lister, Chair
Ruth Dobson
Rebecca Grimes
Reginald Pittman
Philip Seward


Michael Ching
Michael Ching is an opera composer, conductor, songwriter, and former arts administrator. For eighteen years he was Artistic Director of Opera Memphis. Michael studied composition with Robert Ward at Duke University and Carlisle Floyd at the Houston Opera Studio. His most popular opera, SPEED DATING TONIGHT! has received over sixty productions since its 2013 premiere, many from NOA members. His other frequently produced opera is BUOSO'S GHOST, a sequel to Puccini's GIANNI SCHICCHI. Michael is the Music Director of Amarillo Opera and the Composer-in-Residence at the Savannah Voice Festival which has premiered his most recent works, ANNA HUNTER (2017) and ALICE RYLEY (2015). Michael is currently working on new projects for the Cedar Rapids Opera Theater and the Palm Springs Opera Guild. Michael is opera consultant for E.C. Schirmer.  
Caroline Schiller
Dedicated to the training of young singers, she is Professor of Voice and Director of Opera at Memorial University of Newfoundland; One of the founding faculty members of the MUN Song Academy, a week-long summer intensive program in song repertoire for high school age singers; Past District Governor and President of the Canadian Atlantic Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing; Frequent recitalist, adjudicator and clinician internationally.Caroline Schiller is founder and director of Opera RoadShow/Opéra en tournée, an opera outreach and touring program that began in 2003 and offers paid performing experience to university-age singers.  The Vinland Traveler (2006) and Le nez de la sorcière (2011) traveled approximately 10,000 kms and performed for more than 20,000 children. 
Dan Shore
is an opera composer and playwright whose many works for the stage include The Beautiful Bridegroom (first prize, National Opera Association’s Chamber Opera Competition), An Embarrassing Position (first prize, National Opera Association’s Chamber Opera Competition, and a Big Easy Entertainment Award), Travel (first prize, Astoria Performing Arts Center Playwriting Contest), Anne HutchinsonThe Chorus GirlLady Orchid and Freedom Ride. Recent concert works include commissions from Calliope’s Call, Musaica, Duo Cantabrigia, the Rivers School Conservatory, and the Freisinger Chamber Orchestra. An alumnus of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and a Fulbright scholar, Dan holds a B.M. and M.M. from the New England Conservatory and a Ph.D. from the City University of New York. Former faculty at Xavier University of Louisiana, Baruch College, and Emerson College, he currently teaches at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. 

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