Mobile nav

Opera Production 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 and music conservatories.

2019-20 Cycle


  • Currently eligible productions are those presented between June 1, 2019, and June 15, 2020.
  • The submitting institution or a member of the production team must be an NOA member, current on their dues for 2020. Dues for continuing or new members must be paid online (verify your membership status here).
  • Submission deadline is 11:59 PM PST, June 30, 2020.
  • Multiple submissions are permitted, although each producing institution will be limited to a total of two awards each competition cycle, and only one award in a single division. In the event of a school garnering multiple awards, the highest placing production(s) will be awarded.

Submission Process

Online Application   Pay Fee Now...

What you will need to apply:

  • A working, anonymized link to your production video on the streaming site of your choice (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.). Please see the Video Guidelines to make sure your video is in compliance with the competition rules. Videos that are not in compliance, i.e. that reveal the production team through a water mark, name of account, etc., will be automatically disqualified with no refund of competition fees.
  • A hi-res production photo
  • Title, composer, librettist, and duration of the opera.  Double-bills should be submitted as a single production / competition entry.  Please enter the information in the fields as best as you can.
  • A cast list of up to eight named characters, along with the age and level of training (class rank/professional/faculty) of the singers playing those roles. (We are asking for both age and level of training for consideration in the case of casts with a mix of ages/levels of training.)  Please see AGMA's Schedule C for assistance in determining role sizes (e.g. Leading, Supporting, or Bit/Comprimario).
    For example:

    Adina (leading): age 24, Master’s student
    Gianetta (supporting): age 18, Sophomore
    Nemorino (leading): age 40, Professional Singer/Faculty
    Belcore (leading): age 21, Junior
    Dulcamara (leading): age 32, Doctoral/Artist’s Diploma/Performer’s Certificate

  • Complete budget, broken down by: Scenic/Projection, Costume, and Lighting
    • Include any rental costs, but do not include shipping costs for rentals.
    • If pulling from stock or borrowing, include original cost of items, or an estimate.
    • Do not include designer costs. Although the costs of 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. (200 word limit) DO NOT simply paste the Director’s Note from the program, as any mention of your school name will render your application non-compliant and subject to disqualification.
  • Synopsis of productions that are new, rare, or in a language other than Italian, German, French, or English. It is not necessary to include a synopsis for works in the common repertory, such as Le nozze di Figaro, Die Fledermaus, etc. (200 word limit)
  • Pay the application fee ($25 per entry) through the NOA secure online payment area. Be aware this payment item will only be available to you if your NOA membership is current, so please check that you have paid your dues for the year well in advance of the submission deadline.

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 identifiers.
  • 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 link from a streaming platform such as YouTube or Vimeo. Note that links to non-streaming services such as Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, Dropbox, etc., are not acceptable.
    • 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.
  • If this is your first time submitting, and are confused about how to create an anonymous YouTube account, committee member Marc Reynolds has created this video to help guide you through the process: View tutorial video

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 undergraduate and graduate levels. In the case of casts of mixed age/training, the committee will determine into which level the production will be placed. Each of these levels will then be further divided into divisions based on production size and budget.

Divisions for the 2019-2020 competition cycle:

  • Undergraduate Level – for productions whose principal cast members are predominantly undergraduate in age or training level.
    • Up to 4 divisions
  • Graduate Level – for productions whose principal cast members are predominantly graduate or adult singers in age or training level.
    • Up to 4 divisions

Final determination of which division a production is placed is at the sole discretion of the NOA Opera Production Competition Committee.


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, 2020, 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 Chair, at
Kirk Severtson, Executive Director, at or by calling 734.615.3784.