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NOA Notes Newsletter
Vol. 40, No. 2
April 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

JoElyn Wakefield-Wright Opera Director Fellowship Program  


May 24, 2017

See summaries and reviews from some of the 2017 Santa Barbara convention sessions in this edition of NOA NOTES

From the President

Reg Pittman

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

Dear NOA Colleagues,

We’re now turning our thoughts toward our 2018 convention in New Orleans.  I hope you’re making plans to attend the convention and participate.  If you’re interested in presenting a session, the proposal guidelines and the session proposal form can be downloaded by clicking HERE.
I want to encourage you to consider a topic. The theme for the New Orleans convention is Opera’s Tradition and Rebirth: New Orleans 1796-2018.  Laissez les bons temps roulez!
Near the end of May, the Board of Director’s will be meeting in New Orleans for the mid-year meeting. The convention will certainly be a big topic of discussion as well as other issues we know to be important in moving our organization forward. Do you an idea or suggestion you would like for the board to consider? If so, please email me:

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

Spring greetings, friends!  We’re about to enter that time of year when convention planning goes into full-steam-ahead mode. 

With that will come important deadlines which you won’t want to miss, namely the May 24 deadline for Session Proposal Forms (get your great ideas on paper as you don’t want to miss the opportunity to present your work in New Orleans); and then the October 15 deadlines for the Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition and the Vocal Competition.

On the research end, we look forward to the October 1 deadline for Poster Session proposals and the Scholarly Paper Competition.  Let me, or the Committee Chairs, know if you have any questions on the deadlines or any of these unique opportunities for you and your students. 

We look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!

From the Vice-President for Conventions

Benjamin Brecher

Associate Professor
University of California Santa Barbara

Dear Colleagues,


Laissez les bon temps roulez!

As we look forward to the 2018 Convention, we move on to historic New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz as well as the home of the first U.S. opera performance, in 1796.  We are fortunate to have Mark Clark, Loraine Sims and Rachel Harris serving as local chairs and are currently working on making the 2018 convention an exciting and vibrant experience.  Hope to see you there!!


From the Vice-President for Regions

Samuel Mungo

Director of Opera Studies and Coordinator of the Voice Area, Texas State University

Happy Spring everyone! It has been a whirlwind semester since our fabulous convention in Santa Barbara in January. This is a busy time of year for us all, with productions, finals, juries, etc. These 18-hour days can be brutal! Just remember- you have friends in NOA who have been there, or are there with you, and we are only a call, text, or email away. The comfort of knowing we are not alone in our toil, that there is a shoulder to cry on or a sounding board for ideas, is just one of the many benefits of this great association. I urge you to take advantage of it!
In your downtime (however brief), be sure to check out the NOA Region Facebook pages. There is one for each Region, administered by your Regional Governor. This is a great place to connect to the others in your Region, post productions you are working on, and see what others are doing. I am also urging everyone to post some of their resources. A list of props, set pieces, costumes etc. can be a godsend if you are looking for a specific thing on a tight budget- borrowing and sharing our resources might only be a short drive, or simple mailing away. I for one have not one, but two, prams, one from the 1930’s and one from the 1960’s. Texhoma Region folks can come grab one whenever they wish!
If you were unable to make it to Santa Barbara in January, we missed you for sure. We had some amazing sessions on gender, game theory, and community outreach, just to name a few. Do be sure to plan now for 2018 in New Orleans. Come get your Cajun on!


From the Finance Committee

Carol Ann Modesitt, treasurer

Chair, Finance Committee
Chair 2016 Annual Campaign

Music Department
Southern Utah University

From the Finance Committee
It’s hard to believe that almost four months of 2017 have passed and TAX DAY (April 18th) has come and gone.  If you made a tax-deductible contribution to the National Opera Association in 2016, kudos to you.  We depend on our members’ generosity to fund so many of the programs that we offer. 

Since tax day may have been on your minds recently, it might be a good time to think about making a 2017 tax-deductible donation to NOA.  When April 15, 2018 comes around you will know that you have helped NOA and have a tax deduction to boot.

We had a snow storm about three weeks ago in Cedar City, and I am so anxious to see spring flowers and green leafy trees.  I hope that 2017 is turning out to be a good year for you, and that spring has arrived in your corner.

Carol Ann Modesitt, Treasurer and Chair of the 2017 Annual Campaign

From the Santa Barbara Convention

                                                                   The 21st Century Way: Redefining the Opera Workshop
        Panelists Carleen Graham and James Marvel
The 2017 NOA convention started out with a bang as this plenary session jumped right into examining today’s university opera workshop model – its present and future.  As an extension of his doctoral research, Justin John Moniz, posed questions to a panel consisting of Carleen Graham, James Marvel, Scott Skiba, and Copeland Woodruff.  In a lively discussion, the panel considered curricular priorities in today’s evolving landscape; the effectiveness of various modes of acting training for singers, and how much time should be devoted to developing physical skills as well as working with spoken texts.  They were asked to describe skills they felt were necessary for singers in today’s market and to offer opinions regarding whether singers can truly have careers in opera alone.  The panel agreed that, in general, physical training (via methods such as Laban, Suzuki, Viewpoints, various kinds of dance and kinesthetic awareness, and basic stage movement classes) is vital in the training of young singers.

There was also general agreement that we need to hold our students to a greater level of preparation and thoroughness as far as their work with operatic texts.  Panel members voiced their support of encouraging young singers not to pigeon-hole themselves, to explore a variety of performance techniques and repertory, to cultivate a vision of their own artistry based on a realistic evaluation of their individual strengths and gifts, as well as to develop entrepreneurial skills.  As the opsera workshop tends to be the backbone of university level opera training, many of the areas of discussion in this session were revisited in other sessions throughout the convention.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ~ Submitted by David Ronis

                                                                                           Opening Ceremonies and Luncheon
   Keynote Speaker, Kostis Protopapas
The official opening of the annual convention began, as usual, informally; with hugs and helloes between colleagues and friends seen only once a year. We were called gently to our seats and welcomed by NOA President Reginald Pittman and Executive Director Robert Hansen. An informal ceremony honoring past Presidents was held. President Pittman recognized each past President and gave each of those present a small plaque thanking them for their service. Then, after an enjoyable meal, local convention host Ben Brecher introduced keynote speaker Kostis Protopapas, Artistic Director of Opera Santa Barbara.  Mr. Protopapas spoke eloquently about the state of our art in the world and especially the United States and challenged his audience to prepare young singers for opera as it is today, but to prepare them as artists rather than merely as competent job-seekers.

Mr. Protopapas spoke eloquently about the state of our art in the world and especially the United States and challenged his audience to prepare young singers for opera as it is today, but to prepare them as artists rather than merely as competent job-seekers. He closed his remarks by delineating that difference clearly, saying that “Art is not transactional, it is transformational.” A sentence I heard echoed throughout the convention.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~ Submitted by Albert Chaney

                                                                                                                                                                         Paul Houghtaling, COSC Chair
                                                                                                                                                                (reserved & shy Master of Ceremonies)

    Collegiate Opera

 Scenes Competition


         Pepperdine University                                 University of CO-Boulder                           Central Washington University
                Don Giovanni                                                Die Fledermaus                                                       Falstaff
                Act 1, scene1                                                    Watch Duet                                                       Act 1, part 2

  Univ. of Nebraska Omaha                                        University of Las Vegas-Nevada                                       Univ. of Nebraska Omaha 
  "Anything You Can Do..."                                               Kiss Me, Kate, Act 1 Duet                                            Street Scene, Act 2, scene 2                      (did we say Paul is shy?)
The 2017 Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition displayed the dedicated work of both our NOA members and their talented students.  In division one there were spirited performances by Samford University and Central Washington University, but earning second place was a passionate performance of the Act II, Scene II duet from Kurt Weill’s Street Scene from University of Nebraska Omaha.  The winner of division one was Pepperdine University with their creative spin on an Act I scene from Don Giovanni.  In the Musical Theater Division, illness prevented us from seeing the works of West Texas A&M University and Virginia Tech, however the University of Nevada, Las Vegas gave a lively performance from Kiss Me, Kate which earned  them second place behind the University of Nebraska’s energetic rendition of “Anything You Can Do I can Do Better”.  Division two provided lovely performances from the University of Missouri and Sam Houston University, but the title in this category was taken by the University of Colorado with “The Watch Duet” from Die Fledermaus with second place going to Central Washington University for their scene from Falstaff.                                              
                                                                                                                                                                                     ~ Submitted by Ashley Stone

JoElyn Wakefield-Wright Opera Director Fellowship

The National Opera Association is proud to announce new funding for its Stage Director Fellowship.  NOA member and Past President JoElyn Wakefield-Wright has endowed the Fellowship with a philanthropic gift. Together with Association funding and previously secured kindness from member Paul Houghtaling, this generosity will allow us to double the Fellowship award to $1000, starting in 2018. This gives us the freedom to fund more than one Fellow In light of this lovely gesture, the Committee, with the blessing of the Board, has decided to name the Fellowship after her. So tell all your students, friends or colleagues who wish to become directors themselves that the JoElyn Wakefield-Wright Opera Director Fellowship is ready for their 2018 application!

This program is a wonderful opportunity for a young aspiring opera director to be able to afford vital training in the craft of directing. In addition to being named Fellow and receiving funding, the chosen Fellow is given the opportunity to present on their experience with the Fellowship at the next convention - even more resumè fodder!
We have streamlined the application process, making it easier and simpler to apply. We have also opened it up to folks who have summer AD positions of any sort, to help defray costs of travel, housing, etc. If the Fellow doesn’t have a gig, the Committee will work with them to help find a suitable program with one of our NOA members. So, if someone has a gig, or is looking for training, the program is open to them all.
We are proud to announce the winner of the Fellowship for 2017:
Julia Mintzer.   Her bio follows below. If you know her, congratulate her - or come to her session in N’awlins!

Julia Mintzer directed the first full staging of Beethoven's Fidelio with historical instruments in the United States, produced by period orchestra Grand Harmonie and Princeton University, and listed as one of Opera News's "Noteworthy and Now."   She joined the Helsinki Festival to direct Sissy is to Bassarid, an original piece for their Music Theater Creation Lab, and this spring she will lead an all-female cast of La Boheme for Metrowest Opera.  In the summer she assistant directs Rigoletto at Ash Lawn Opera (dir. Albert Sherman.).
Ms. Mintzer's interactive theater piece Pizza Parlance, in collaboration with artist Charles Ogilvie, was listed in Nombre Art Magazine's "5 Must-Sees of Venice Biennale" and their performance piece Chacun a son gout was presented at STORE Contemporary in Dresden, Germany.  She staged an original performance piece "Well I want it in writing, the smallest event and the secretest agency” at Cornell University’s Society for Humanities.  She has been sponsored by the European Network of Opera Academies to direct excerpts from Il barbiere di Siviglia in a workshop at the Opera Academy of Verona.  Julia has led seminars on the integration of technique and interpretation at the University of Cologne's Institute for Art and Art Theory, has been a guest speaker at Europa-Universität Flensburg and has taught masterclasses at the Bel Canto Summer Program in Munich. She has directed scenes programs for the University of Dayton Early Music Ensemble, Opera for Humanity, and the Tanglewood Institute, where she was on faculty for the Young Artists Vocal Program for two years.  She is a graduate of The Juilliard School with additional studies at Columbia University.

Respectfully submitted,
Sam Mungo

"In the Spotlight"

Chancellor's Commission on the Status of Women
Spotlight: Julia Aubrey

Congratulations, NOA Past President Julia Aubrey for your work as the Director of the University of Mississippi Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

For the complete story:


NOA Members Win American Prize Awards:

The 2016-17 American Prize in Opera Directing
FIRST PLACE: Jacque Trussel - Purchase Opera - SUNY Purchase for The Crucible
SECOND PLACE: Samuel Mungo - Texas State University for Mollicone: Lady Bird, First Lady of the Land
THIRD PLACE: Justin John Moniz, Florida State University Student Opera Society for Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado

The 2016-17 American Prize in Opera Performance
SECOND PLACE: University of South Dakota Opera, Tracelyn Gesteland for Copland's The Tender Land 
THIRD PLACE: Conservatory Opera of Music, SUNY Purchase, Jacque Trussel for Ward's The Crucible
FINALIST CITATION: "Exceptional Production Values" Bob Jones University Opera, Darren P. Lawson, for Verdi's Aida
FINALIST CITATION: "Ensemble Excellence" FSU Student Opera Society, Justin John Moniz for Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado
FINALIST CITATION: "Exceptional Commitment to New Music" 
Texas State University Opera, Samuel Mungo for Mollicone's Lady Bird, First Lady of the Land
Copyright © 2017 National Opera Association, All rights reserved.

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