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Opera Scenes Competition: Judging Procedures

Judging at both the preliminary and final rounds will be based on the following ranking and balloting model.


Panels of three qualified opera professionals will be selected to review the submissions in the preliminary round for each division. Judges will rank and select their top four (4) scenes which they believe qualify to advance to the finals in each division. Comments on the submitted scenes in the preliminary round will be returned to the entrants along with notification of advancement status. The committee chairman will tabulate the results for each division and if there is majority agreement on the top four, those will be invited to become the finalists in that category. If there is no agreement on some of the finalists, the chairman communicates with the judges which entrants received the most votes. For example, it may be noted that there is agreement that entrants 1 and 2 have been chosen to advance by majority vote, but entrants 3, 4, 5, and 6 received equal votes. The judges will then choose their two top entrants from that group to complete the four finalists. No scoring or tabulation of numbers is involved in the process, just a ranking of the top qualifiers to advance to the final round.

The judges may select up to two alternates who may be advanced to the finals with sufficient notification in the event one of the top four qualifiers is unable to attend the convention and participate in the finals.


A. Winner – First Place

1. Judges ballot for a single Winner without consultation.
2. Judges coordinator/committee chairman tabulates the ballots. If there is a majority for one (1) entrant (three or more out of five possible first place votes), that entrant is declared the Winner and the procedure continues with item B below. If there is no majority Winner (four different first place votes), the coordinator informs the judges of those entrants who have received first place votes on the ballots and the judges again ballot without consultation.
3. Coordinator tabulates second set of ballots. If there is now a majority for one (1) entrant (and according to very experienced MTNA judges, there usually is on the second ballot for winner – someone will change their vote), that entrant is the winner. If, within the five-judge panel, there is still no majority Winner after the second ballot, each judge will have 45 seconds to voice his/her opinions on the four finalists, after which another ballot is taken. No further discussion is allowed.

B. Second Place – The same simple balloting procedure is used. If there is not a consensus on second place, the re-balloting occurs as above.

Ballots will be held on file by the COSC committee, and comments will be returned to the finalists.