National Opera Association Member Newsletter
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NOA Notes Newsletter
Vol. 40, No. 4
October 2017

In This Issue

From the President
From the President-Elect
From the Vice-President of Conventions
From the Vice President for Regions
From the Finance Committee
"In the Spotlight" - 2018 Keynote Speaker, Greer Grimsley


From the President

Reg Pittman

Professor of Music Chair, Voice Division
School of Music, Theatre, and Dance
Kansas State University

Dear NOA Colleagues, 

Excitement is building for our convention in New Orleans.  The opening ceremonies will be a terrific beginning to the convention with internationally acclaimed bass-baritone Greer Grimsley serving as keynote speaker.  The convention committee has organized and scheduled a wonderful line up of sessions that coincide with the theme of the convention:

Opera Tradition and Rebirth: New Orleans 1796-2018.
Laissez les bons temps Roulez.

The good times will roll with all these highlights scheduled for the convention:
Annual Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition
Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Winner Performance: After Life by Tom Cipullo
Sacred in Opera Lifetime Achievement Award
NOA Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition
Banquet and Awards Presentation

I had the opportunity to attend all five operas presented by the Santa Fe Opera this past August.  The most interesting opera production was The Revolution of Steve Jobs by Mason Bates.  The music is a mixture of orchestra, acoustic guitar, and unique integration of electronic sounds.  Edward Parks sang the role of Steve Jobs with Sasha Cooke (Laurene Powell Jobs), Garrett Sorenson (Steve Wozniak), Wei Wu (Kobun Chino Otogawa) and Kelly Markgrad (Paul Jobs), Mariya Kaganskaya (Teacher), Jessica E. Jones (Chrisann Brennan), and Asher Corbin (Young Steve Jobs) completing the cast.
The cast of Die Fledermaus included Dimitri Pittas (Alfred), Jane Archibald (Adele), Devon Guthrie (Rosalinda), and Kurt Streit (Eisenstein).  
Donizetti’s masterpiece Lucia di Lammermoor was lead by Zachary Nelson (Enrico), Christian Van Horn (Raimondo), Brenda Rae (Lucia), and Mario Chang (Edgardo).
Based on the poem The Tale of the Golden Cockerel by Alexander Pushkin, Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel, A Santa Fe premiere, presented Venera Gimadieva (The Queen of Shemakha), Tim Mix (Tsar Dodon), Barry Banks (Astrologer), Meredith Arwady (Amelfa), and Kevin Burdette (General Polkan).  
Another Santa Fe Opera premiere was Handel’s Alcina. The cast included Elza van den Heever (Alcina), Paula Murrihy (Ruggiero), Anna Christy (Morana), Alek Schrader (Oronte), Daniela Mack (Bradamante), Christian Van Horn (Melisso) and Jacquelyn Stucker (Oberto).
Reg Pittman

From the President-Elect

Paul Houghtaling

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

Hello everyone!  I am excited to share with you that the first-ever NOA Southeastern Regional Conference was held on Saturday, September 16 at Clayton State University and was an overwhelming success.

Nearly 50 presenters and attendees from all across the country enjoyed a lively day of sessions and classes, culminating in an hour-long recital of opera excerpts to close the day.  Jerome Shannon, General Director of Pensacola Opera, offered an inspiring Keynote address.  I was proud to be a part of it and proud of Dawn Neely, Regional Governor of the Southeastern Region, for organizing the one-day event. Bravo!  There is tremendous social media buzz about the day, and I hope it inspired other regions or states to produce events like this to keep the mission of NOA alive through the year!  This was truly exciting, and I do hope it serves as a model for future such regional conferences! 

On another subject, now is the time when our students begin to think about auditions for summer programs of all types.  I urge our membership to check out the programs where your fellow NOA members teach or direct and, especially those run by NOA members, and recommend them to your students.  There are lots of them, and all are excellent, beneficial opportunities.  Watch for more sharing of information and announcements as the summer program season progresses through the fall and spring.

Finally, I hope you’ll all make your plans to join us in New Orleans in January. It promises to be among our best conventions ever and we’re expecting record-breaking attendance.  See you there! 

From the Vice-President for Conventions

Benjamin Brecher

Professor of Music
University of California Santa Barbara

Dear Colleagues,

I’m sure this finds most of you deep into the fall semester, or for some of us on the quarter system, just getting things going. 
The 2018 NOA National Convention, Opera’s Tradition and Rebirth: New Orleans 1796-2018, will be upon us in no time!  It’s always a chance to reinvigorate ourselves, and to celebrate friendships and lifelong collegiate relationships.  Don’t wait until the last minute to register or make travel plans.
Hopefully many of you will be able to join us for a very special welcome dinner at Emeril’s restaurant in NOLA on Wednesday, January 3, 2018. They’ll be serving Louisiana favorites, so make your travel arrangements accordingly so you can kick the convention off with a “BAM!!”
International operatic superstar Greer Grimsley will be our keynote speaker on Thursday, followed by 23 diverse plenary and breakout sessions over the next few days, on topics ranging from historical operatic production to using cutting edge projected imagery.  Of course other highlights will include our three competitions, where top-notch judges are lined up to help guide young competitors.  We will wrap up the convention with celebrations of the achievements of Virginia Zeani and John Moriarty, both giants in the field of opera.
The convention will take place at the Loews New Orleans Hotel, conveniently located in the heart of New Orleans.  Our local committee of Mark Clark, Loraine Sims, and Rachel Harris are working hard to make sure the 2018 Convention in New Orleans will be a very special one.
Laissez les bons temps roulez!
Benjamin Brecher
Professor of Voice, University of California Santa Barbara

From the Vice-President for Regions

Samuel Mungo

Managing Director, Peabody Opera Theatre

The Southeastern Region held its first Regional Conference September 16th at Clayton State University in metro Atlanta.  Congratulations to hosts Dawn Neely, Kristin Kenning, Justin Moniz, Kurt Zeller and Paul Houghtaling on this on this exciting conference!

Thank you to Dawn Neely for providing some snapshots of the memories:

          Jerome Shannon                    Roll Tide!!   University of Alabama students, alumni and Paul Houghtaling
General Director, Pensacola Opera
           Keynote Speaker

I invite everyone to visit the National Opera Association Facebook page, and your regional one as well (search under NOA (region). Feel free to post what you wish - upcoming productions, regional news (job news in your area, for example).  It doesn't have to be much, but it is a great way to get the word out.  If you have a prop list, you can share it and we can all benefit from saving a few dollars on buying vs. sharing props!

In case you need anything from your Regional Governor, I have included the list below. You can find their email addresses (as well as those for all Officers and Board Members) by CLICKING HERE.  Bookmark it!!

Region States Governor
Cal Western AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT Carol Ann Modesitt
Central IA, IL, MO Mitra Sadeghpour
Eastern DE, NJ, NY, PA, WV, E. ON Gordon Ostrowski
Great Lakes IN, MI, OH, W. ON Melanie Helton
Mid-Atlantic MD, NC, SC, VA, DC Kenneth Wood
Mid-South KY, TN Jeffrey Williams
New England CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT, QC, Maritimes Caroline Schiller
North Central MN, ND, SD, WI, MB, SK Copeland Woodruff
Northwestern AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, AB, BC Chris Pfund
Southeastern AL, FL, GA, PR, VI Dawn Neely
Southern AR, LA, MS Mark Clark
Texoma NM, OK, TX Barbara Hill-Moore
West Central CO, KS, NE, WY Alisa Belflower


From the Finance Committee

Carol Ann Modesitt, treasurer

Chair, Finance Committee
Chair 2016 Annual Campaign

Music Department
Southern Utah University

From the Finance Committee
At our mid-year board meeting in New Orleans, the board unanimously voted that 100% of the board would contribute to our Annual Campaign. We have an inspiring and energetic board whose vision is to keep opera thriving.  Most of our board has made contributions in honor or in memory of a mentor who led them to the field of opera.  Is there someone you would like to honor that inspired you?  If so, it isn’t too late to make a contribution to the 2017 Annual Campaign.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every member of NOA made a contribution to the Annual Campaign?

There are so many aspects of opera that our organization fosters such as the scenes competition, the video production competition, vocal competitions, stage director internship program, and the chamber opera competition just to name a few.   If every member contributed to the Annual Campaign, our organization could accomplish even more.  Please remember that your contribution is tax deductible as well.

I hope to see you at the NOA Conference in New Orleans in January!

Carol Ann Modesitt
Treasurer and Chair of the 2017 Annual Campaign

Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition



Application DEADLINE

October 15, 2017


Finals will be held at the
2018 Annual Convention in
New Orleans in January 2018.



for more details.


Dawn Neely, Co-Chair
COSC Committee

The Sacred in Opera Initiative Newsletter: 
Call for Submissions



Non-traditional forms of publishing such as the Sacred in Opera Initiative Newsletter (a Web and Blog based publication), can enable the broadest possible readership of your research outputs and become an important way to maximize the dissemination and impact of your findings.  In order to better serve our community members, the SIO committee continues working diligently to refine its formalized peer review process for the vetting of article submissions and materials to our newsletter.  We welcome you to visit our updated submission criteria found in the SIO pages of the NOA website.  We are always interested in supporting the good work you are doing in the field of Sacred in Opera. Let us hear from you. 
The current list of the SIO Committee and Editorial Board includes:
Jess Munoz, Chair
Ruth Dobson
Kurt-Alexander Zeller
Susan McBerry
Michelle Louer
Tammy Huntington

Dr. Isai Jess Muñoz
University of Delaware
SIO Chair and Senior Editor

"In the Spotlight"

Our 2018 Convention Keynote Speaker: Greer Grimsley

Greer Grimsley is internationally recognized as an outstanding singing actor and one of the most prominent Wagnerian singers of our day. Continuing his reign as a leading interpreter of the god Wotan, he sang the eminent role for The Metropolitan Opera’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in Robert Lepage’s landmark production, directly followed by Stephen Wadsworth’s production for Seattle Opera, his 3rd complete Cycle for the company in the last decade. His interpretation of Wotan has also brought him to multiple esteemed international opera houses; some highlights of this include his portrayal of the role in the entirety of Der Ring des Nibelungen with Deutsche Oper Berlin; Teatro Comunale di Bologna, under Gatti’s baton; Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, New National Theatre Tokyo, and the Nikikai Opera Foundation in Tokyo. 

His treatments of some of Wagner’s other greatest characters earned him critical acclaim both domestically and internationally.  Including the title role of Der fliegende Holländer with Seattle Opera and Ravinia Festival, under the baton of Maestro James Conlon in his final performance with the company; Telramund in Lohengrin with The Metropolitan Opera, Royal Danish Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Seattle Opera; Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde with Prague National Theatre, Royal Danish Opera, the Ópera de Bellas Artes in Mexico, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Seattle Opera; and Amfortas in Parsifal with The Metropolitan Opera.

This season, Mr. Grimsley reprises his signature role of Wotan in Der Ring des Nibelungen with San Francisco Opera, sings the title role of Macbeth with Opera San Antonio, Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde with Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance and is featured in the end of the season concert for San Diego Opera, Orest in Elektra in Houston Grand Opera, Scarpia in Tosca with Michigan Opera Theatre, and sings excerpts from Die Walküre with Pacific Symphony.  Future engagements through 2020 include multiple returns to The Metropolitan Opera as well as the Dallas Opera and Teatro Real in Madrid.

Mr. Grimsley has performed one of his other signature roles, that of Jokanaan in Salomewith The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Vancouver Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Scottish National Opera, the New National Theatre in Tokyo, Ópera de Bellas Artes in Mexico, Den Jyske Opera in Denmark, and in his Dallas Opera début with Deborah Voigt in the title role. The San Francisco Chronicle exclaimed: “Bass-baritone Greer Grimsley was a thunderous and dramatically compelling Jokanaan. Grimsley invested the part with rhetorical strength and an air of moral solidity - the perfect antithesis to Salome's eroticized jitters.” 

Notable US engagements over the last several seasons include the role of Scarpia in Tosca with San Diego Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, L’Opera de Montreal, Portland Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Colorado, and in a return to Seattle Opera; the role of Jack Rance in La fanciullla del West with Minnesota Opera and Seattle Opera; the role of Don Pizarro in Fidelio with The Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, and Portland Opera; the title role of Macbeth with Minnesota Opera, Vancouver Opera, and Opera Lyra Ottawa; Wotan in Das Rheingold with Minnesota Opera; Captain Balstrode in Peter Grimes and Escamillo in Carmen with The Metropolitan Opera; the world première of Ashoka’s Dream as Canyka with Sante Fe Opera; the role of Mephistopheles in Faust with San Diego Opera, New Orleans Opera, and Arizona Opera; the role of Amonsaro in Aïda with Portland Opera; the role of Claggart in Billy Budd with Pittsburgh Opera and in his Los Angeles Opera début; and his much anticipated role début as the title role in Sweeney Todd with Vancouver Opera, which he recently reprised with New Orleans Opera and Glimmerglass Opera.

Mr. Grimsley has enjoyed quite a fruitful career in highly esteemed opera houses around the world. Some highlights of his previous international engagements include Scarpia in Tosca in Germany with Deutsche Oper Berlin and Oper der Stadt Köln, in Oslo with Den Norske Opera, with the Stadttheatre Basel in Switzerland, and in Japan at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center; Don Pizarro in Fidelio with The Scottish Opera and Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Portugal; the title role of Don Giovanni with the Stadttheatre Basel in Switzerland; New Israeli Opera as the Villians in Les Contes d’Hoffmann; Royal Danish Opera as Mandryka in Arabella; Ópera de Caracas in Venezuela as Amonsaro in Aïdathe role of Richard Lionheart in Der Templer und die Jüdin with Wexford Festival; and the role of Mephistopheles in Faust in Oviedo, Spain.  Mr. Grimsley first came to international attention as Escamillo in the Peter Brook production of La tragédie de Carmen, which he has sung in in over 15 productions around the world, including his Italian debuts at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto and the Teatro Comunale di Bologna.

An active concert artist, some favorite concert engagements include Verdi’s Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony at Carnegie Hall; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Seattle Symphony and San Antonio Symphony; the High Priest in Samson et Dalila with Washington Concert Opera and Atlanta Symphony; Scarpia in Tosca with Deborah Voight and the Minnesota Orchestra; and Don Pizarro in Fidelio with the Saint Louis Symphony and in his New York Philharmonic début with conductor Kurt Masur at the inaugural season of the Lincoln Center Festival.


This past July, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music took a leap of faith and combined our Conductors' Bootcamp and Opera Studio summer programs into a dynamic new program designed to develop career skills for conductors and singers alike. The three week program attracted two dozen singers and fourteen conductors/pianists from five countries and fifteen states. These musicians now have a burgeoning network with each other that will serve for years to come

Participant feedback was quite enthusiastic. Singers now understand how to communicate with a conductor and how conductors has truly enable them to do their best and vice versa for the conductors.  I learned a great deal myself watch Maestro Gibson teaching specific techniques for communicating with singers.  Who does this anymore?

Singers and conductors trained alongside each other, not only in language class (French or Italian) but in coaching and repertoire study,  building a depth of understanding often not acquired until well into your professional career. In the three-week program, participants mounted two opera productions, Gianni Schicchi and Les mamelles de Tirésias, and one program of staged Mozart scenes and arias — all with orchestra.

Singers' training began with a two day stagecraft intensive. Two colleagues joined me for sessions focusing on movement, traditional lyric stagecraft and the Michael Chekhov Technique.

Next year, my Co-Artistic Director, Mark Gibson and I continue to raise the bar.  We will present Don Pasquale, featuring Metropolitan Opera baritone Vernon Hartman in a faculty mentoring position in the title role.  In addition we will present two French comedic one acts and an evening of Mozart scenes, all with orchestra.  Bootcamp faculty includes internationally renowned professionals from CCM and  as well as visiting faculty members: Mark GibsonAmy Johnson,  William McGraw Marie-France Lefebvre, David Adams, Vernon Hartman, Steven Mosteller, Ken Weiss, and Louis Pelletier.

Detailed information will be available in January at:

Amy Johnson, Assistant Professor
University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
Member, NOA Board of Trustees

From the NOA Strategic Plan Committee and Board:


NOA's NEW Vision Statement:


NOA members are the Foundation Builders for the future of opera.
Copyright © 2017 National Opera Association, All rights reserved.

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