National Opera Association Member Newsletter
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NOA Notes Newsletter
Vol. 39, No. 4
October 2016


From the President
From the President-Elect
From the Vice-President of Conventions

QUICK LINKS for Upcoming Deadlines and Events

Convention Registration

October 16
Bailey/Argento Vocal Competition

October 17
Scholarly Paper Competition

Dissertation Competition

Call for Posters

October 18
Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition

From the President

Reg Pittman

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

Dear NOA Colleagues,

Surfing lessons?  Are you kidding me?  When was the last time you attended an opera convention, or any convention for that matter, that included the opportunity to get “surfing lessons?”  Have you taken a look at the convention schedule for our 2017 Santa Barbara annual convention?  It is shaping up to be very exciting!! 

Our host Ben Brecher has planned a few special side adventures we can experience while in Santa Barbara: Tour of the historic Old Mission of Santa Barbara or a visit to the Goleta Monarch Butterfly Grove or even Surfing Lessons at Surf Country. I hope you’ve made your plans to join us in sunny Santa Barbara at the beautiful Fess Parker Doubletree Resort Hotel across the highway from the Pacific Ocean!  Click HERE to register.
I encourage you to renew your membership. If you will be joining us in Santa Barbara you can renew your membership at the same time you register.

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’m getting more and more excited about Santa Barbara, and I hope you are too.  Reg, Carleen and Ben are working hard, along with the Convention Committee and several local members, to create a terrific experience for our members, student, first-timers (otherwise known as new members) and members of our industry. 

I want to invite you all to consider the Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition and the Vocal Competition, both wonderful opportunities for your students to perform live should they advance to the finals. SEE THE DEADLINES in the TEXT BLOCK ABOVE These competitions aren’t about winning or losing, but rather about the journey – literally and figuratively. The lifelong journey of working on our craft, of working together with fellow artists and teachers, to create our beautiful art, be it an opera or musical theatre scene or an aria package, then taking it on the road to an eager audience in Santa Barbara.

The scenes competition is especially near and dear to my heart as Julia Aubrey entrusted me with it several years ago and my very fine committee (Linda Lister, Dawn Neely, Ravid Ronis, Rachel Harris, Susan Gonzalez, Susan Williams, David Tayloe, and Kimm Julian) and I have lovingly nurtured it and watched it grow. I encourage you all to review the newly updated convention schedule and join us in Santa Barbara.  Renew your membership and your excitement about NOA and let us show you what we can do for you and your students!   

From the Vice-President for Conventions

Carleen Graham

VP for Conventions
Director, Houston Grand Opera’s HGOco Program


Dear Colleagues,

Have you registered for the 2017 Convention? I admit, I just did (missing the early-bird deadline, sigh) and am looking forward to an exciting conference focused on the theme, Fostering Change: Performance and Pedagogy in Opera’s New Millennium. 

Reflective of the theme, we have a diverse line up of plenary and breakout sessions covering topics ranging from redefining the opera workshop in the 21st century, teaching the various styles of contemporary American opera, challenging gender norms in opera, promoting social justice through student engagement, cognitive neuroscience applied to practice strategies, exploring new ideas for opera scenes programs, gaming strategies for the opera workshop, exploring contemporary issues on race and religion in opera, and training transgender singers, among many others.

In addition, the annual Bailey/Argento Vocal and Opera Scenes Competitions, as well as the finals of the biennial Argento Chamber Opera Competition, will feature the best and brightest from around the country. Legendary mezzo soprano, Marilyn Horne, 2017 Legacy Award Honoree Laverne Monte, and John Churchwell, Head of Music Staff at San Francisco Opera will judge the Vocal Competition.  Kostas Protopapis, Artistic Director of Opera Santa Barbara will be the keynote speaker at the opening luncheon. 

Local convention chair, Benjamin Brecher and I are excited to add a special event to this year’s schedule. We call it the Santa Barbara Experience. You can choose from one of three excursions: a trip to the Historic Santa Barbara Mission, a walk through the Monarch Butterfly Refuge or, for the really adventurous, learn how to surf! 

To top it off, we will stay at the historic Fess Parker Hotel  If you are not familiar with it, check it out. I hope you won’t be too distracted by the beach which is RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET. If you have the means to do so, consider extending your stay on either end. It’s that beautiful. The convention rate is $168/night + tax & fees, which is a great deal for this area.

Finally, to everyone who submitted session proposals this year, thank you for taking the time to do so. We had to make some very difficult decisions. I also thank you for your patience and understanding in dealing with network issues on my end during the original proposal deadline. 

Looking forward to seeing all of you in January!


"Food For Thought"

From Melanie Helton, Co-Chair Opera Production Competition:

The NOA Opera Video Production competition received 42 entries divided into six divisions. 37 different entities are represented from across the country. The material is out to the judges now, and results are expected on or around November 1.

In addition, Professor Helton is stepping up to lead a Prop and Costume Initiative:

"NOA is starting a forum to facilitate prop and costume exchange between universities. Many of us know the dilemma of needing something like an invisible dog leash - well, I actually have one!  If you are need of a prop or costume, you will be able to reach out via this forum.  No rental fees would be charged, just shipping and an acknowledgment that if you break it, you buy it.

Feel free to contact me at with any questions you might have. Let’s make this a great convenience for all.  I’ll be interested to see people’s thoughts about this!"

Look for more information in the November issue of NOA NOTES!

"Everyone's A Critic"

Tony Radford, the Review Editor of the NOA Opera Journal, would like to invite the membership to submit 800-1000 word reviews of professional operas they have seen for possible publication on the NOA opera reviews blog.

Please include a production picture with your article. Take a look at reviews already published. Submit reviews and questions to Tony at

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