2017 COSC Competition
Applications are now open for the 2017 Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition. Finals will be held at the Annual Convention in Santa Barbara, CA, in January 2017. Deadline to apply is October 15, 2016.
Scene from UNC Greensboro's
Most Happy Fella, 2014 COSC Div II
- Competition is for college and university programs only.
- All participants who advance to the finals must be current students at the time of the competition.
- Directors must be members of NOA and pay the convention fee.
(Directors bringing five or more students will receive a discount).
- Each student participant will pay the student registration convention fee.
- There is a $25.00 fee per application to enter the competition. This fee may be sent in the form of a check made out to NOA to the Chair of the COSC or paid on-line through the NOA website. If payment is done online, a receipt of proof of online payment must be included as an attachment to the submission email, along with the application and the video entry.
- The scene entry shall have been performed between October 15, 2015 and October 15, 2016.
- The scene submitted for the Preliminary Round does not have to be the same scene presented in the Final Round at the convention, but it must meet the same criteria as outlined in the Guidelines below and be in the same Division. (The Preliminary Round is in place in order for an institution to advance to the finals. Schools may submit a scene in the Preliminary Round from the previous academic year which may involve singers who have since graduated or are no longer enrolled. If advanced, that school may choose to, or may need to, bring a different scene to the finals utilizing students in the same age bracket as all participants in the finals must be current students at the submitting institution.)
- A college or university may enter more than one scene AND singers may appear in more than one scene submitted in the preliminaries. However, only one scene from a given school will be offered a chance to advance to the finals in each division. If a school submits entries in more than one division and advances to the finals, no singer may appear in more than one division of the competition finals, regardless of the average age of the students in the scene.
- If a student at a college or university also holds faculty status of any kind at that institution, that student is ineligible and may not appear in a submitted scene.
Opera Division I: All performers are between the ages of 18 and 22 (primarily undergraduates)
Opera Division II: All performers are age 23 and older (primarily graduate students)
Musical Theatre: All performers are between the ages of 18 and 22 (primarily undergraduates). See Musical Theatre repertoire guidelines below.
(In the case of an opera scene cast with mixed ages, the Committee will determine the assigned division by considering the average age of the cast, as well as the size of the role(s) being sung by older performers.)
Operatic literature of all styles and periods is eligible for submission into both opera categories. Standard operetta literature, such as material by Gilbert & Sullivan, Friml, Lehár, Johann Strauss, and others, will be included in the appropriate opera division. Repertoire in the Musical Theatre division is restricted to singing in the traditional or “legit” style. Scenes which include heavy belting or pop-rock techniques will not be eligible. Repertoire which includes appropriate and healthy use of chest voice, however, is acceptable. As in the operatic divisions, the quality of singing and vocal technique will be strongly considered.
Definition of a Scene
A scene is defined as a portion of a larger, published work. Short operas, musicals, or complete works under 10 minutes in length are not eligible for the scenes competition. Composers are encouraged to submit new operas to the Chamber Opera Competition. All submitted scenes must be from a show which has already received a full production by a professional opera or musical theatre company or a university/college program.
Length of Scene
Suggested length of scenes submitted in both the Preliminary and Final Rounds is 6–8 minutes. Preliminary judges will stop reviewing submissions at the 8 minute mark. The timekeeper at the finals will stop any scene which surpasses 8 minutes, but no penalty will accrue. There is no minimum time requirement.
Scene from Hansel and Gretel
2014 COSC Div. I
Set pieces are limited to rehearsal blocks and convention hotel tables and chairs located in the meeting room in which the competition will take place. No other set pieces are to be utilized in the scene. Costumes and hand-held props are at the discretion of the director.
The committee will request the largest stage available at the hotel that is not less than a 24 feet x 16 feet platform.
Judging Criteria and Procedures
The scene will be judged on musical style and accuracy, diction, vocal quality, basic stagecraft, individual characterization and ensemble interaction, and creative use of set, props, and costumes based on the competition limitations.
Scenes that are not in the standard repertoire (new works) shall provide three copies of the music for judging purposes.
For a detailed description of the judging procedures at both the preliminary and final rounds, click here.
Application is by email which should contain a completed application (available as a Word document) as an attachment and a link to a YouTube video or another video format. The video must be anonymous with no identifying names or photos associated with it. Please do not submit a scene which requires a password. The video may be public or on a private channel as long as it meets all standards of anonymity and is directly accessible to the judge via the submitted link. The email should be received no later than 5:00 pm CST October 18, 2016 at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The uploaded video should be labeled only with the name of the opera and scene to preserve anonymity for the preliminary judging round. There should be no other identifying features in the link or on the video itself in order to prevent disqualification.
Please feel free to contact Paul Houghtaling with any questions or if you need assistance with uploading your video to a YouTube link.
If submitting the $25 application fee by check, please send to:
Dr. Paul Houghtaling
Chair, 2017 Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition
University of Alabama School of Music
PO Box 870366
810 Second Avenue
Tuscaloosa, AL 354587-0366
Scene from Fille du Regiment
University of TX Brownsville
2014 COSC Div. I
- A maximum of twelve finalists, four (4) in each division, will advance and compete in a live performance at the National Convention in Santa Barbara, CA, on Thursday, January 5, 2017.
- Upon being moved to the finals, an official letter of invitation to the Convention shall be extended by email to the director by November 15, 2016.
- Finalists will notify the COSC Chair of their acceptance and submit the Finalist Information Form no later than 5:00 p.m., November 22, 2016.
- Winners will be recognized directly after the competition. First and second place will be awarded in each of the three divisions. First place winners will receive an engraved plaque with second place winners receiving a certificate. All finalists will receive a participation certificate.
- Video of the winning scenes may be posted on the NOA website following the January convention pending availability and a signed release by the institution granting permission to NOA to post the video. Institutions may also need to obtain permission to post the video for material not in the public domain in accordance with all relevant intellectual property statutes.
Questions regarding the competition may be addressed to:
Paul Houghtaling, competition chair, at , or to
Robert Hansen, Executive Director, at or by calling 806-651-2857.