Mobile nav

Opera Production Competition

2017-2018 Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017-2018 competition!

NOA Opera Production Competition

Lady Bird
2015-16 Div V, 3rd Place
Lady Bird, Texas State

The goal of the NOA Opera Production Competition is to further the organization’s mission by encouraging and rewarding creative, high quality opera productions at academic institutions, music conservatories, summer opera training programs, and opera outreach programs.

2017-18 Cycle - (Deadline passed)

Changes from previous cycles

In keeping with NOA’s mission of promoting excellence in opera education and pedagogy, the Opera Production Competition Committee, with the support of NOA’s Board of Directors, has decided to discontinue the Professional Division from the competition beginning in the 2017-2018 competition cycle. While we have enjoyed offering this opportunity to the professional organizations which have participated in the past, we believe that focusing all of our resources and attention on student productions will best serve our membership and our mission going forward. We thank you for your understanding and support of the Opera Production Competition. See below for additional changes to the application process and a newly-refined breakdown of categories and divisions.


  • Currently eligible productions are those presented between June 1, 2017, and June 15, 2018.
  • The submitting institution or a member of the production team must be an NOA member, current on their dues for 2018. Dues for continuing and new members must be paid online (in the members' area).
  • Submission deadline is 11:59 PM PST, June 30, 2018.
  • Multiple submissions are permitted, although each producing institution will be limited to a total of two (2) wins each competition cycle, and only one win in a single division. In the event of a school garnering multiple wins, the highest placing production(s) will be awarded.

Submission Process

New in 2018! – The application process is completed online!

What you will need:

  • A working YouTube link to your production video. Please see the Video Guidelines to make sure your video is in compliance with the competition rules.
  • A hi-res production photo
  • Title, composer, librettist, and duration of the opera.
  • A cast list of up to 8 named characters, with the principal characters listed first, along with the age and/or level (class rank/professional/faculty) of the singers playing those roles, using the following point system:
Cast Point System
Freshman / Sophomore (10 pts)
Junior Senior (20 pts)
Masters (30 pts)
DMA / Artist Diploma (40 pts)
Faculty / Professional (50 pts)
For example:
Adina: Masters = 30
Gianetta: Senior Undergrad = 20
Nemorino: Professional Singer/Faculty = 50
Belcore: Junior Undergrad = 20
Dulcamara: Doctoral/Artist’s Diploma/Performer’s Certificate = 40
Then add up the total points and divide by the number of roles for the average. Using the example above:
Total points = 160      Divided by 5 roles = 32 points average
  • Complete budget information of the costumes, sets, and lighting, including original cost of items pulled from stock (estimate if unknown to you). Do not include shipping costs for rentals. For lighting you will need to determine the level of your theatrical lighting as opposed to cost. Although the costs of costume/scenic/lighting designers should not be included in the budget, you will be asked to factor in their presence on the production on the application.
  • Orchestra size
  • Director’s Note, if you desire. This will be your opportunity to explain your concept and approach, any changes you may have made to the libretto, setting, etc. (350 word limit)
  • Synopsis of productions that are new, rare, or in a language other than Italian, German, French, or English. (350 word limit)
  • Pay the application fee ($25 per entry) through the NOA secure online payment area. You will need to log in, click on the Opera Production Competition Entry, add it to your cart, and proceed to checkout.

2013-14 Div IV, 3rd Place
Dialogues of the Carmelites, Queens College

Be certain that, apart from the area of the application that specifically asks for this info, your director’s note, synopsis, video title, video description, etc., DO NOT contain information that will reveal the name of your institution, director, conductor, or other identifying information. (Please see Video Guidelines.) Incomplete and/or inaccurate applications, non-working video links, or entries for which submitted videos or explanatory statements reveal the performance venue or the name of any participating NOA member will be disqualified. Entry fees for disqualified applications will not be refunded.

By submitting a production for competition, you also allow NOA to use submitted video and production photos for publicity purposes.

Video Guidelines

  • Video submissions must be of a complete, live, single performance or dress rehearsal with audience. Submissions that are edited from multiple performances will be disqualified.
  • The performance should be recorded with stationary cameras, although multiple cameras are permitted. Zoom and pan are acceptable and encouraged.
    • If the opera is produced in a non-traditional space that would preclude stationary cameras, this stipulation can be waived.
  • Independent microphone systems are permitted.
  • Videos should be edited to exclude bows and any other
  • If you have the technology to superimpose surtitles, they are welcome.
  • Please ensure that the sound levels on your video submission are audible.
  • The video must be submitted as a YouTube link. Please do not send videos to NOA.
    • The video title should be simply the name of the opera and the date
    • There should be no other identifying information within the name or description of the video, the account used to upload the video, or the video itself, that will reveal the name of the institution or producing organization, conductor, or director.
    • The video should be “unlisted”, rather than “public” or “private”, and should not require a password to view.

Magic Flute
2013-14 Div IV, 1st Place
The Magic Flute, Michigan State

Competition Divisions

The Opera Production Competition is divided into multiple divisions so that competitors are fairly judged against similarly cast and budgeted productions. The committee will determine division assignments after all applications have been submitted. Entries will first be divided according to mean age of cast members into undergraduate and graduate levels. Each of these levels will then be further divided into divisions based on mean application points, not to exceed 4 divisions per level.

Divisions for the 2017-2018 competition cycle:

  • Undergraduate Level – for productions cast predominantly with undergraduate singers, or in which undergraduates sing the majority of the principal roles.
    • Piano only division, plus up to 3 additional divisions.
  • Graduate Level – for productions cast predominantly with graduate singers, or in which graduate students sing the majority of the principal roles.
    • Piano only, plus up to 3 additional divisions.


Entries will be judged in the following categories:

  1. Musicianship (accuracy and musical integrity)  
  2. Quality of singing (as appropriate to the style)  
  3. Diction (clarity and accuracy)  
  4. Dramatic credibility and characterization  
  5. Production concept, staging and execution  
  6. Quality of the production (relative to the budget)

Each Division will be assigned a judging panel, which will judge every entry in that Division. Judges will be provided with copies of the director’s note (if submitted). Again, to preserve anonymity and avoid disqualification, these materials should contain no identifying information. The judges reserve the right to limit the number of awards in a category if, in their professional opinion, there are insufficient entries deserving of recognition.

Winners will be notified by November 15, 2018, and a complete list of winning entries, along with production photos, will be posted on the NOA website. Awards will be presented at the Annual Convention. NOA may also use submitted video and production photographs for publicity purposes.  

Finta Semplice
2013-14 Div V, 1st Place
La Finta Semplice, U of Alabama-Birmingham


Questions regarding the competition may be addressed to:
Suzanne Ramo, competition co-chair, at
Scott Skiba, competition co-chair, at
Robert Hansen, Executive Director, at, or phone 806-651-2857