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1. We staged Die schöne Müllerin, may I enter it in the competition?

Because this is an Opera Production Competition, we do not allow staged art song cycles.

2. We created this film pastiche, made up of scenes from 5 different operas. May we enter it in the competition?

Please see our guidelines regarding Pastiche Operas. The question comes down to whether you are presenting these scenes as scenes from those operas, or if you are presenting them as part of a new, cohesive story.

Separate scenes? No, but please do enter one in the NOA Robert Hansen Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition!

New storyline created around these scenes? Very possibly!

3. Our production is made up of several scenes from operas by the same composer, does it qualify?

Please see our guidelines regarding Pastiche Operas. The question comes down to whether you are presenting these scenes as scenes from those operas, or if you are presenting them as part of a new, cohesive story.

Separate scenes? No, but please do enter one in the NOA Robert Hansen Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition!

New storyline created around these scenes? Very possibly!

4. Why was my opera placed in a graduate category when most of the singers were undergrads?

When the committee is determining undergrad or graduate level, they will focus on the leading and featured roles. It is likely that while your cast may have 11 characters, and 8 of them were undergraduates, the principal roles were cast with graduate level or above. For some operas, if the title character or another role is such that that character carries the show, or is the most memorable part, the committee may place that production in a higher category.

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

5. Why was my opera disqualified?

It is actually very rare to be disqualified, and if your opera was disqualified you should have received an email telling you why - and if possible, the opportunity to correct the issue. It is generally one of three things:

a. Your opera is cast with professional level singers in the leading roles. Because the focus of the NOA Opera Production Competition is on productions from academic institutions and conservatories, we are looking for student-centered productions. Having multiple professional level singers in the leading roles can lead to disqualification.

b. Your show was produced by a community theater/semi-professional company/professional company/Young Artist Program.

c. Your submission was not in compliance with our anonymity or other guidelines. If this is the case, you should have received an email instructing you of the compliance issue and giving you a timeframe to bring the submission into compliance before being disqualified. If you failed to meet that deadline, or if the issue cannot be rectified post-production, then your production would be disqualified.

6. How do I create an anonymous YouTube account?

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

To be sure your account is truly anonymous

    • Do not make an account name that is the name of an actual living human being, a video production company, or video editor who can in any way be connected to you, your institution, or the city where your school is located.
    • Be certain your account does not also contain other accessible videos that identify the name of your school, anyone connected to your school, or even the city in which your school is located.

7. My account IS anonymous! Why are you badgering me and making me change my account or create a new account?!?!?!

To be sure the competition is judged anonymously, we need to be sure your video link is absolutely anonymous. While you may think it is, there is likely something you overlooked, such as another video on the account of a recital or concert in your recital hall played by a faculty member from your school, or the like. We cannot control others’ behavior and have no way of knowing if a judge will click around the account. So, we do click around to ensure that if a rogue judge looks for more information, they aren’t getting it from the YouTube account you used for your submission video. We are absolute sticklers about this. However, we usually give you the opportunity to correct the error before we disqualify your submission.

8. What roles should I include in my cast list?

You can list up to 8 roles on your application. Start with Leading roles and work your way down to Bit/Comprimario. Please see AGMA's Schedule C for assistance in determining role sizes (e.g. Leading, Supporting, or Bit/Comprimario).

9. Should I list the singers’ names, or their character names?

Character names, please! We need you to keep your application as anonymous as possible, and we need character names (roles) so we can determine if a role is leading/supporting etc. Please do not list your students’ names.

10. Who are the judges for the OPC?

Judges for the NOA Opera Production Competition are opera professionals and educators. The committee endeavors to recruit judges who are actively working in the field as singers, directors, producers, conductors, composers, coaches, or artist managers. NOA board members, members who are past winners in the competition, and Opera Production Competition Committee members are often invited to judge, but NOA membership is not a prerequisite to judge. At the time of publication, the committee works to curate a judging panel that does not include Competition Committee members to maintain the strictest anonymity possible.

At the present time the competition does not publish names of judges, but our panel includes artists who have worked at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, LA Opera, San Diego Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Bregenzer Festspiele, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Oper Stuttgart, Washington National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Israeli Opera, Royal Danish Opera, and Zürich Opera, among others.

11. Why don’t you accept productions from small professional companies, or young artist programs?

Because young artist programs and professional companies do not face the same challenges in casting and producing, the decision was made several years ago to limit the competition to student-centered opera productions from academic institutions. In doing so we hope that we are better serving the majority of our membership, while continuing to make the competition more fair and transparent. At the time of the decision only one or two productions a year were submitted by professional companies or YAPs. With so few (or no) productions of comparable cast and budget, we cannot justify creating new divisions to accommodate a single opera, nor can we justify student-centered productions competing with professional shows.

12. We did a double bill for our fall show. Can we just submit one of the operas?

No. Due to the need for accurate budget information, we currently require double bills (or greater) to be submitted in their entirety. Both (or more) operas must be submitted as one production.

13. I want to tell the judges something….

For obvious reasons there is no communication between judges and contestants. There is a place on the submission application for a Director’s Note. That is the appropriate place to include pertinent information for the judges.

14. I submitted my production for consideration on April 12, when am I going to find out if we won?

The basic competition timeline is:

  • April 1 Submission Period opens
  • June 30 Submission Period closes
  • November 15 Winners Announced

The Submission Period is absolute. We do not accept early or late submissions. Winners are announced no later than November 15. You may receive notice earlier than November 15, but we ask that you hold off making an announcement on social media until we have posted the winners on the NOA website.

15. I missed the deadline because my dog ate my flashdrive and I am waiting on my colleague who is currently teaching a summer program in Italy to get me their copy. Will you accept my late submission?

Alas! While we do sympathize with your predicament, we do not accept late submissions. The June 30 deadline is absolute. We stay up late on June 30 in case anyone has last minute questions or technical difficulties that we might be able to help with, but late entries are not accepted. We also lack the technical and veterinary expertise to save that flashdrive your dog ate. We are very sorry.

16. I am the opera director at a school outside the US. Are we eligible to compete?

Yes! There are currently no barriers to non-US schools submitting to the competition. Like our domestic entrants, the production must have been produced at an academic institution, and the submitting institution or a member of the production team must be an NOA member, current on their dues for the year of the competition.

17. My high school did an opera! Can we submit?

Yes, we will accept High School entries. However, if there are not enough entries from High Schools to warrant creating an entirely new division, those productions will be judged in a collegiate category.