Scholarly Paper Competition

C.A. Norling
C.A. Norling
2016 Winner

2016 Winner

The winner of the 2016 Scholarly Paper Competition has been announced:  C.A. Norling (MMUS Teaching Assistant, University of Iowa): "Puccini’s Grotesque West: Exoticism and Appropriation in La fanciulla del west".  The winning paper was presented in January 2017 at the convention in Santa Barbara.

Annual Scholarly Paper Competition

The competition cycle is now open for 2017.

Scholarly investigation is indispensable to the field of opera, especially as a basis for production and performance.

The National Opera Association is pleased to announce its Thirty-Third Scholarly Papers Competition, 2017, for outstanding scholarly papers on operatic subjects.


The competition is open to any interested author. Membership in NOA is not required.

No registration fee is required. Deadline for submission: October 1, 2017 Extended: October 15, 2017.

Author notification: October 1, 2017 Extended: November 6, 2017.

Previous winners of this competition may not re-apply, but are strongly encouraged to submit articles for consideration to The Opera Journal, an NOA publication.


The scholarly paper should explore an operatic subject, present significant research and conclusions, and include an extensive bibliography citing primary, secondary and, if applicable, tertiary sources. Authors should follow these guidelines:

  • The paper must be no more than 3000 words in length.
  • The paper's title, the name of its author, address, telephone, and email information should be provided on the application form in a separate attachment. The author's name should not appear on the paper.
  • Only one submission per person is admissible and must be accompanied by a statement confirming that the paper is not under copyright by any party other than the author and that it has not been previously published.
  • Papers previously presented orally are eligible as long as they have not or will not be published in any proceedings.
  • Papers will be judged particularly for significant advances in research and conclusions that shed new light on an operatic topic dealing with music drama, the libretto, the history of the genre, etc.
  • Topics may be as broad as the field of opera itself, which includes historical and theoretical analysis of the music and libretto (along lines of current and past critical theory and translation thereof), singing, acting, costuming, stagecraft, theater, etc.
  • The jury will consider the clarity and quality of the writing, judge the acceptability of the paper for publication in The Opera Journal, and will also rate papers on their overall suitability to be read in an abridged version of no more than twenty minutes length at the convention's Scholarly Papers Session.


The winner will be invited to read her/his paper during the Scholarly Papers Session at the annual convention in January, 2018, in New Orleans. The Leland Fox Scholarly Paper Stipend of $500 will be awarded to the reader of a winning paper at the annual convention.

The winning paper will be published in The Opera Journal.

Copies of papers not selected, accompanied by the committee's critiques, will be forwarded to the editor of the journal for possible consideration for publication.

Submission Procedure

There is no application fee for the competition.

Papers must be submitted electronically in Word or a PDF file.  Send a completed application form (available as a Word document or PDF form) along with the paper, and any inquiries about the competition to:

, NOA Research Committee Chairperson

Recent Scholarly Papers

Scholarly Papers 2016

Puccini’s Grotesque West: Exoticism and Appropriation in La fanciulla del west
C.A. Norling

Scholarly Papers 2015

Fifty Years Later: Reflections on Douglas Moore’s Carry Nation (1966), the University of Kansas’s Centennial Contribution to the American “Year of Opera”
Monica Hershberger

Scholarly Papers 2014

Cultural Translatio and Arne Artaxerxes
Richard Torre

Scholarly Papers 2013

Love and Redemption: The Unfulfilled Passion, the Dissatisfied Dream, and the Chilvaric Duty in Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde
Meghann Anneliese Dailey

Scholarly Papers 2012

Spanish Operatic Identity vis-a-vis Bizet's Carmen
Luis Gustavo Castro-Ramirez

Scholarly Papers 2011

Recitative for the Peuple
Julia I. Doe, Yale University

Operatic Achievements on the European Scale: 19th Century Mexico
Anna Ochs, University of Chicago

Scholarly Papers 2010

Medée et son pouvoir: Music and Dramatic Structure in Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Medée
Alison DeSimone, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Enacting the Nation on Stage: Style, Subjects and Themes in American Opera Librettos of the 1910s
Aaron Ziegel, Urbana, Illinois

Scholarly Papers 2009

The Evolution of American Opera: Robert Ward’s The Crucible
Dr. Robert Kolt, Indiana University – South Bend

The Face That Launched A Hundred Arieas: Helen of Troy and the Reversal of a Reputation in Seventeenth-century Venetian Opera
Reba Wissner, Brandeis University

Scholarly Papers 2008

Wagner, Appia, and “Authorial Intention”
Dr. David Ronis, Queens College

Between Scenes: Transitions and Wagnerian Form
Dr. David Smyth, Louisiana State University