JoElyn Wakefield-Wright Stage Director Fellowship

JoElyn Wakefield-Wright Stage Director Fellowship

2018-2019: Application deadline April 15, 2018

Julia Mintzer
Julia Mintzer, 2017 Stage Director Fellow,
at work at Charlottesville Opera

The National Opera Association's JoElyn Wakefield-Wright Stage Director Fellowship provides funding to aspiring Opera Stage Directors as they begin their careers. This Fellowship is open to Music or Theater graduate students, or early career post-academics, with an interest in Opera Stage Direction. The Fellowship winner will receive the following:

  • A Fellowship stipend towards application, tuition, travel, and/or housing to any opera stage director program between April 2018 and March 2019 (multiple awards of up to $1000 are possible)
  • If the applicant has not been offered a contract at a program, NOA will provide expedited application to one of the many such programs that are run by NOA members.
  • The winner may be offered the opportunity to present in a session at a subsequent NOA National Conference, detailing their experiences.


The person selected will have experience in stage direction and keen interest in opera and working with singers. The Fellow will be at or near the beginning of his/her professional career as a stage director. Those working as Assistant Director or in Production are welcome to apply, however special consideration will be given to those applicants in a mentored program.

Application Materials:

  • Current resumé or CV
  • One letter of recommendation
  • Brief statement of the applicant's professional goals

Please send all application materials to:

Application deadline: April 15, 2018

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Samuel Mungo, Stage Director Fellowship Committee Chair, at

Julia Mintzer was awarded the 2017 Fellowship to support her work at Charlottesville Opera.

Julia Mintzer
Julia Mintzer, 2017 Stage Director Fellow,
at work at Charlottesville Opera

Winner of the National Opera Association’s 2017 Stage Director Fellowship, Julia Mintzer continues her exciting career in 2018 by directing On Behalf of a Madman, produced by Grand Harmonie Period Orchestra at the Sommerville Armory in Boston.  The work is  a political comedy told as an opera pastiche, with music by Mozart, Hadyn, Rossini, and Donizetti and an original book.  Ms. Mintzer curated the musical selections and has written the updated libretto.  More information on this project can be found here:  Ms. Montzere directed the first full staging of Beethoven's Fidelio with historical instruments in the United States with period orchestra Grand Harmonie at Princeton University, listed among Opera News' Noteworthy and Now.  Her production of La Cenerentola for Bel Cantanti Opera was acclaimed as “wildly funny…This production is just the sort of thing that keeps opera alive and relevant.” (  This spring she leads an all-female cast of La Bohème with Metrowest Opera.  Her interactive theater piece Pizza Parlance, in collaboration with artist Charles Ogilvie, was listed in Nombre Art Magazine's "5 Must-Sees of Venice Biennale” and their performance piece Chacun a son gout was presented at STORE Contemporary (Dresden, Germany.)   Julia directed and developed the world premiere of Sissy is to Bassarid at the Helsinki Festival and the performance piece "Well I want it in writing, the smallest event and the secretest agency” at Cornell University’s Society for Humanities.  This summer she will assistant direct Rigoletto at Charlottesville Opera.  Other credits include Dido and Aeneas and The Old Maid and the Thief for Hubbard Hall Opera, Schutz's Weihnachtshistorie with The Weckmann Project and Musica Nuova, Alcina for Satori Opera, Il Tabarro for Garden State Opera, and L'elisir d'amore for Bel Cantanti Opera.  Julia has led seminars on the integration of technique and interpretation at the University of Cologne's Institute for Art and Art Theory and the Bel Canto Summer Program in Munich and has been a guest speaker at Europa-Universität Flensburg.  She has directed scenes programs for the University of Dayton Early Music Ensemble, Opera for Humanity, and the Tanglewood Institute.  Julia is a graduate of The Juilliard School and the Boston University Opera Institute, with additional studies at Columbia University.  As a mezzo-soprano, she has performed principal roles with  Die Semperoper Dresden, Washington National Opera, the Glimmerglass Opera, Florentine Opera, and Dayton Opera, and has been a concert soloist with Boston Baroque, Washington National Cathedral, and the Toledo Symphony.  She is currently a company member at the Landestheater Schleswig-Holstein, where her roles include Carmen, Santuzza, and Elisabetta in Maria Stuarda. For more information, see

Jen Stephenson
Jen Stephenson, 2015 Stage Director Intern,
scene at Druid City

This past summer, the National Opera Association's Stage Directing Internship program afforded me the opportunity to study and work at the Druid City Opera Workshop in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Through this program, founded and directed by Paul Houghtaling, I was able to work with various knowledgeable and talented leaders of our industry who offered me supportive and enthusiastic instruction as I directed several opera scenes performed by emerging professional artists.

I could not have been more thrilled with the program, learning a wide variety of important skills and tools that will be essential to me as I continue to forge ahead in my career. Each of the faculty was engaging and truly passionate about their craft, and all expressed their availability to me to ask questions and advice of them during the program and beyond.

I am grateful for the wonderful experience that I had at the Druid City Opera Workshop, and thankful to the National Opera Association's Stage Directing Internship Program for allowing me the opportunity to work with such a fantastic and dedicated group of professionals!

Jen Stephenson


Joshua Miller
Joshua Miller, 2014 Stage Director Intern

Joshua Miller is currently a doctoral student in the Butler Opera Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Miller studies directing with Dr. Robert DeSimone and is enrolled in the Arts Management Portfolio Program through the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. His current lecture recital thesis is “The Lyric Acting Application of W. Timothy Gallwey’s book The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance.” Miller has served as an assistant director for La traviata (Wolf Trap Opera Company), Les Misérables (ZACH Theatre), Le Nozze di Figaro & Turandot (Austin Lyric Opera). His most recent directing credits include Sweeney Todd (Butler Opera Center), The Rape of Lucretia (Spotlight on Opera), Cesti’s Orontea (UT Early Music Ensemble), Little Women (Spotlight on Opera) and The Magic Flute (Concord University). He also directed “The Pagliacci Project,” a touring outreach opera for Austin Lyric Opera. During the summer of 2014 Miller will assistant direct Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel as a member of The Glimmerglass Festival Young Artists Program.

Joshua worked with the opera program at Texas State University in San Marcus, Texas, and Dr. Samuel Mungo, director of opera studies, served as his mentor.

Emily Martin
Emily Martin, 2013 Stage Director Intern,
at work with Paul Houghtaling

I wanted to thank you so much for the opportunity you gave me with Paul Houghtaling and the Druid City Opera Workshop through the NOA Directing Internship.  It was an incredible experience and I was very thankful to have been a part of Paul’s wonderful program.  The talented singers were very prepared so staging and working with them was rewarding and exciting.  Paul was a great mentor – always available and willing to talk but at the same time letting me explore and express my ideas in my staging.  The collaboration between all of the faculty could not have been more supportive.  I feel as if I have made wonderful connections with these colleagues and I look forward to working with them all again in the future.

Thank you again for this opportunity.  It was truly wonderful.

Emily Martin-Moberley