National Opera Association Member Newsletter
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NOA Notes Newsletter
Vol. 37, No. 5
November/December 2014

In This Issue

From the President
From the Vice-President of Conventions
From the Vice President for Regions
From the Editor

Stephanie Blythe, the new Face of NOA
The Catbird Seat
2015 Slate of Nominations
Convention Advertising

View the complete Jan. 2015 convention schedule here:

Upcoming Deadlines and Events

11/20: Convention advertising deadline

11/29: Regular convention registration ends for:
Crossroads and Challenges: Compass Points for Creation in Greensboro, North Carolina

12/5: Applications due to sing in convention masterclasses (see below)

David HolleyFrom the President

David Holley, Director of Opera and Professor of Music
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Artistic Director, Greensboro Opera

Greetings from Greensboro!

I walked through the convention hotel last week with the convention schedule in hand, envisioning you and your students here in my hometown in January!  We’re rolling out the red carpet of southern hospitality at the Greensboro Sheraton, and hope you’ll join Samuel Ramey, Warren Jones, Willie Anthony Waters, Stephanie Blythe and others as we celebrate opera here in the south!!

The finalists for the Vocal Competition and Collegiate Opera Scenes are nearly chosen, the Chamber Opera Competition scenes are all staged and rehearsing, and almost all of the chorus scenes for Greensboro Opera’s The Daughter of the Regiment are blocked! 

In addition, there are exciting opportunities for your students to sing on masterclasses with Ms. Blythe, Mr. Jones and Mr. Waters, and in other sessions that require singers.  We invite your students to submit a video (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) with one aria by December 5 in order to be considered for one of these singing opportunities.  Many of your students already have videos prepared for YAP pre-screenings already.  Here’s the procedure:

Best wishes for a great holiday season – see you in January!!

From the Vice-President for Conventions

Ruth Dobson

We are fast approaching the 2015 convention in Greensboro, North Carolina, the “Crossroads of the South.” The convention dates are January 8-11 and our convention theme is, fittingly, Crossroads and Challenges: Compass Points for Creation. If you are scheduled to arrive early for the convention on Wednesday, January 7, please make a reservation when you register for the pre-convention dinner, which will be in downtown Greensboro at the International Civil Rights Museum at Woolworth’s, site of the birth of the “sit-in” movement in 1962.  In addition to the catered dinner IN the museum, there will be a special tour just for NOA members.
The keynote speaker at the opening luncheon on Thursday, January 8, legendary pianist and accompanist Warren Jones, will also be giving a master class on Saturday, January 10. International mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, the 2014 Face of NOA, returns this year to give a master class on Thursday, January 8, and also will serve as one of the adjudicators for the Vocal Competition. Bass-Baritone Samuel Ramey will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award and joins Miss Blythe as an adjudicator for the Vocal Competition. Darren Keith Woods, General Director of Fort Worth Opera, completes the trio of exemplary adjudicators for the Vocal Competition on Saturday, January 10.
Add in our two “Lift Every Voice” Legacy Award winners, Louise Toppin and Olive Moorefield Mach, a master class with Maestro Willie Anthony Waters, a performance of Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment (featuring tenor René Barbera) by Greensboro Opera, and you can see that this is a convention you will not want to miss.
The Chamber Opera finalists have been selected, and are The Dawn Makers, Allen Shearer, composer and Claudia Stevens, librettist; The Clever Artifice of Harriet and Margaret, Leanna Kirchoff, composer and librettist; and The Lady of Shalott, Christopher Weiss, composer and S. O’Duinn Magee, librettist. The presentation of scenes from each opera and the selection of the winning opera will take place on Friday, January 9. The scenes will be performed by the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. The winning opera will be presented in its entirety at the NOA Convention in Indianapolis in 2016.
There will be ten very interesting poster sessions presented by faculty members from universities across the country on Friday morning, January 9. The COSC (Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition) is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, January 8. Students from many fine universities will participate in these scenes, with the winning scenes being announced at the conclusion of the evening. Student participation in the COSC has grown steadily each year since its inception and it is truly one of the highlights of the convention.
A link to the full convention schedule is included, or you can visit the NOA website at and find a link there. The convention schedule will continue to be updated as the finalists for the COSC competition and the Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition are announced, as well as the winners of the 2014 Opera Production Competition.

From the Vice-President for Regions

Paul Houghtaling

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

Greetings, everyone!

I’m getting very excited about our convention in Greensboro.  David Holley, Ruth Dobson and many others have worked hard to line up a truly spectacular array of guest artists, presentations, and events.  There will be something for everyone (I know that’s cliché, but it’s true) – so many things for you – to make you a better teacher, to make you a better singer, to make you a better citizen of our industry.  And so many opportunities for your students! Bring them along, share the energy with them, let them experience NOA.  Get them hooked!  I’m particularly pleased to announce that the Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition had a record number of entrants and the finals will be another great evening of singing.  This year, we launch our brand new Musical Theatre division to accompany our two opera categories. We’re proud to be forward-looking as the worlds of opera and musical theatre move closer and closer together.  This new competition category also represents more opportunities for students to gain experience, showcase their versatility, and be a part of our convention.  So pass the excitement along!  See you in Greensboro in just a couple of months.

All the best,
Paul    646-345-5584

From the Editor

Kathleen Roland-Silverstein

Assistant Professor
Setnor School of Music, Syracuse University
Syracuse, New York

If you're like me, you are up to your eyeballs in winding up the semester, preparing for finals, juries, and performances. You're praying that your strength holds out.  Well, it will, and you will survive. But you will need a definite shot-in-the arm come January, and there's no better way to get rejuvenated than to attend the National Opera Association conference in Greensboro this year.

Take a look at the convention schedule, and you will find that there is a plethora of activities and sessions in which to immerse yourself and re-charge for the return to teaching and performing.

"The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful."  NOA will be on fire this January, folks, and it's all happening in Greensboro!


Stephanie Blythe


Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is considered to be one of the most highly respected and critically acclaimed artists of her generation. Her keynote address at the 2014 NOA conference in NYC greatly inspired attendees, and she has graciously committed to be the Face of NOA for 2014-2016.

Ms. Blythe has sung in many of the renowned opera houses in the US and Europe, including the Metroplitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, San Diego Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and the Opera National de Paris.  Many of her roles include the title roles in Carmen, Samson et Dalila, Orfeo ed Euridice, La Grande Duchesse, Tancredi, Mignon and Guilio Cesare; Principessa and Zita in Il trittico, Fricka in Das Rheingold and Die Walkure, Waltraute in Götterdammerung, Azucena in Il trovatore, Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera, Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress, Jezibaba in Rusalka, Jocasta in Oedipus Rex, Mere Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites, Mistress Quickly in Falstaff, and Ino/Juno in Semele.  She recently played the role of Gertrude Stein in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Twenty-Seven at the Opera Theater of Saint Louis.  Ms. Blythe has also appeared with many of the world’s finest orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Orchestra of New York, Minnesota Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Ensemble Orchestra de Paris, the Concertgerbouw and Les Violons du Roy.
A champion of American song, Ms. Blythe has premiered song cycles composed for her by Alan Louis Smith and the late James Legg.  Her acclaimed show with pianist Craig Terry, We’ll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith was seen on PBS and continues to be a success in live venues around the country.  She is the Artistic Director of the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar, a program for emerging singers and collaborative pianists that focuses solely on American art song by living composers, held every May on the campus of her alma mater, SUNY Potsdam.  She is also a faculty member at the Tanglewood Music Center.
Some of her many upcoming engagements this year include a return to the Metropolitan Opera in The Rake’s Progress, to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for Il trovatore, and to Carnegie Hall for a recital in Stern Auditorium.  She is thrilled to be involved with NOA, and looks forward to attending the 2015 conference where she will conduct a master class and serve on the judges panel for the vocal competition.

The Catbird Seat

Elizabeth Vrenios

"People are wrong when they say opera is not what it used to be. It is what it used to be. That is what’s wrong with it."
Noel Coward
I am glad to say that this comment of Noel Coward’s no longer rings true!  Thanks to innovative thinking, a need to change our set-in ways, and creative teaching in the educational ranks, we are seeing changes that are allowing the future generations of opera lovers and creators to experience a new vitality and growth of this discipline that we love.  

October 24th to November 2nd was National Opera Week. Imagine that, an entire week devoted to opera!  That is right up there with Poison Prevention Week, Captive Nations week and National School Luncheons week, (none of which I had never heard of.) Some of you may have read the Statement to the Field written by Marc Scorca for Opera America, our sister organization, in response to this entire week devoted to our passion, opera.  It was a very encouraging report on the health of opera and opera companies.  While there are some companies (Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Sacramento for example) who have suspended performances, there are also encouraging reports about the life and health of many companies, which is good news for us all.

What particularly interested me was the report of the number and diversity of new works announced over recent months, which demonstrates opera’s vitality as a contemporary cultural expression.  Premieres and performances of new and exciting works are happening across the U.S., in Palm Beach, Santa Fe, Minnesota, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth.  What this signifies to me is that new works and opera education are alive and flourishing.  Your work in your own institution and our work in NOA is taking hold. 

Our competition featuring new chamber operas is flourishing.  However, it is only as good as we, the supporting members, can be.  Be sure to attend the chamber opera competition at the convention.  We are presenting three finalists: The Clever Artifice of Harriet and Margaret, The Dawn Makers and In a Mirror Darkly: The Lady of Shalott.

These operas are created for our use and through our encouragement, and are a major means of NOA’s promotion of contemporary opera on the national level. 

As Marc Scorca says, the success of opera and opera companies depends on the participation of an appreciative audience.  That means us, and our students.  I look forward to seeing you all at the convention and especially at the chamber opera competition. 
Sincerely and with gratitude,
Slate from Nominating Committee
On May 30, 2014, the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors approved the slate for the new 2015 board members presented by the nominating committee. Per the By-Laws, these names shall be published in the NOA Newsletter preceding the annual convention.  A vote will be taken during the annual business meeting during the convention with a majority vote of those present constituting an election. The slate is as follows:
Hugh Murphy - Re-election for a second term.
Richard Poppino - Re-election for a second term.
David Ronis - First term, two-year position.
Ben Brecher - First term, two-year position.
Leigh Holman - First term; two-year position.
Albert Chaney - First term; two-year position.
Respectfully submitted,
Julia Aubrey, Chair of the Nominating Committee 
Convention Advertising  
Your university, music business, summer festival, or corporation can bring attention to your program or products by placing an ad in the convention program, or by sponsoring an event at the 2015 convention.
Corporate sponsorship benefits could include:
  • Your company name in the program as sponsoring refreshments, luncheon, reception, banquet, or other depending on your contribution level.
  • Visible placards to highlight your support of the convention.  
  • Free advertisement in the attractive and highly visible convention program.  
  • Free convention registration for one company representative.
  • Free table space at the convention.
To Place An Ad in the Convention Program: Go to the website at  See "Program Advertising and Exhibitors" on the right, and follow the detailed instructions. It’s not too late! The deadline has been extended to November 20.
To Become a Corporate Sponsor:  Contact Julia Aubrey (

Julia Aubrey
Director of Opera Theatre,
Associate Professor of Voice,
Assistant Chair, Dept. of Music
University of Mississippi
P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677-1848
(662) 915-1280
Past President, National Opera Association
Copyright © 2014 National Opera Association, All rights reserved.

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