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2020 Cleveland Conference

2020 Cleveland Conference

Register now for NOA's 65th Annual National Conference, "Opera Rocks!" held at The Hilton Cleveland: January 8-11, 2020.

Conference Schedule

Have a look at the conference schedule to see all of the events offered at this conference:

Conference Schedule


Convention registration is now open. Full information and instructions are located here. Member rates are:

  • Early-bird: $450 through 9/14/19
  • Regular: $465 through 12/1/19
  • Late: $490 after 12/1/19

Register Now!

Conference Hotel

The conference will be held at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown, 100 Lakeside Avenue East, Cleveland. We have negotiated an excellent rate of $149 plus tax, single or double occupancy. Triple rate is $174 and Quad rate is $199. You may reserve online or by calling 1-216-413-5000. Mention National Opera Association's Group Code: NOA

Reserve Room

Session Proposals

Many exciting and high-quality session proposals were submitted for consideration this year, and the conference committee will soon notify those whose proposals were accepted for presentation.

2020 Cleveland Conference Highlights

Libby Larsen and the Dominick Argento Connection
Libby LarsenDominick Argento

We are very excited to announce that renowned America composer Libby Larsen will join us as a headliner. Ms. Larsen will present a plenary session entitled "Libby Larsen and the Dominick Argento Connection" which will include a discussion, video recordings, and live performances of scenes and arias from Argento and Larsen works.

David Bamberger
NOA Lifetime Achievement Award

David Bamberger will be honored with NOA's highest award, a Lifetime Achievement Award, at the banquet on Saturday, Jan. 11.

DAVID BAMBERGER – director, educator, librettist, author, administrator – has staged over 250 productions with stars including Roberta Peters, Sherrill Milnes, and Jerome Hines. After co-founding Cleveland Opera, he was its General Director for over 28 years, growing it into one of America’s major regional companies. For its 25th Anniversary he secured José Carreras, Placido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti to perform in concert at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The opera he created for the 75th Anniversary of Anne Frank’s birth was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  

From 2004 to 2018, he was Artistic Director of the Opera Program for the Cleveland Institute of Music. His students have appeared in major roles with companies around the world.  Mr. Bamberger’s staging has been enjoyed throughout America, from the New York City Opera to the Los Angeles Music Center. His international credits include the National Opera, Santiago, Chile, and the Israel Vocal Arts Institute, Tel Aviv.

In 1990, OPERA America selected him to represent the opera industry before Congress in the year’s successful effort to garner support for the National Endowment for the Arts. Bamberger’s many awards include honorary doctorates from Swarthmore College (his alma mater), Cleveland State University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

"Lift Every Voice" Legacy Award

Howard Watkins will receive the "Lift Every Voice" Legacy Award at the banquet on Saturday, Jan. 11.

Howard Watkins

HOWARD WATKINS is a frequent associate of some of the world’s leading musicians both on the concert stage and as an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. He has performed in numerous recitals and concerts throughout North and South America, Europe, Russia, Israel, and the Far East. In recent seasons, he has appeared in concert and on television with Kathleen Battle, Grace Bumbry, Mariusz Kwiecien, Michelle DeYoung, Natalie Dessay, Diana Damrau, Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Elizabeth Futral, Anthony Dean Griffey, and violinist Sarah Chang. Under the aegis of the Marilyn Horne Foundation, Mr. Watkins has performed in recitals and educational residencies in the US, and has also appeared in the Horne Foundation gala New York recital.

Mr. Watkins has performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Spivey Hall, Kennedy Center, the Pierpont Morgan Library, and Alice Tully Hall with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. In addition, he has appeared with the MET Chamber Ensemble in Weill and Zankel Halls under the baton of James Levine. Mr. Watkins has served on the faculty of the Tanglewood Music Center where he was the Vocal Arts Program Co-Coordinator, and he has taught at the Aspen Music Festival and School, Meadowmount School of Music, North Carolina School of the Arts, International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, and International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy.

A native of Dayton, Ohio, Mr. Watkins received his undergraduate degree from the University of Dayton, and he completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Michigan. In 2004, he was honored as the recipient of both the Paul C. Boylan award from the University of Michigan and a Special Achievement Award from the National Alumni Association of the University of Dayton.

2019 Annual Conference: Pioneering the Future of Opera Salt Lake City (concluded)

The conference was held January 2-5, 2019, in majestic Salt Lake City at the serene Four-Diamond hotel Little America Hotel Salt Lake City.

Raves from 2019 Salt Lake City

I found this year's NOA conference the most inspiring of any convention I have attended. Here I was amongst colleagues who are curious, open to new ideas, and genuinely committed to educating performers. I left feeling excited, motivated, and thrilled to explore new possibilities.
Ann Baltz, educator, director, and pianist

My only regret about attending this amazing conference was the fact I spent much of my time kicking myself in the head for not joining NOA 30 years ago. I missed so much, but; I’m so happy to be part of this wonderful group now. Never too late!!
Bob Breault, University of Utah

Conference Photos

Thank you to Richard Poppino, who again graciously served as photographer for the convention.  All his photos are available for viewing and access at:  No password is needed, but follow the download instructions as needed.

Session Recordings

Thanks to Egami A/V, audio and/or video recordings of the conference sessions are available for purchase.  Please see the order form for information and to purchase CDs or DVDs!

Conference Schedule

Have a look at the conference schedule to see all of the events offered at this conference:

Conference Schedule  Mobile-friendly Schedule


2019 Salt Lake City Conference Highlights

Harolyn Blackwell
"Lift Every Voice" Award

Soprano Harolyn Blackwell joined the esteemed ranks of recipients of NOA's Legacy Project's "Lift Every Voice" award at the banquet on Saturday, Jan. 5.

One of the brightest stars on stages in the US and abroad, charismatic soprano Harolyn Blackwell has been hailed by audiences and critics alike as a “model of agility, spunk, charm and silvery tone.” Recognized for her expressive and exuberant performances, as well as for her radiant voice, she is making a wide and varied career on opera, concert and recital stages of the world.

Michael Ballam
Keynote Speaker at Opening Lunch

Michael Ballam, Founder and General Director of the Utah Festival Opera Company

Michael Ballam has received critical acclaim with the major opera companies of the USA and a recital career in the most important Concert Halls of four continents. His operatic repertoire includes more than 600 performances of over 70 major roles sharing the stage with the world's greatest singers. At the age of 24, Dr. Ballam became the youngest recipient of the degree of Doctor of Music with Distinction in the history of Indiana University. An accomplished pianist and oboist, he is the Founder and General Director of the Utah Festival Opera Company, which is fast becoming one of the nation's major Opera Festivals. He is the author of over 30 publications and recordings in international distribution and serves on the Board of Directors of four professional Arts organizations.

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2020 Conference


Past Conference Info Salt Lake City, January 2019

Salt Lake City

Pioneering the Future of Opera

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Past Convention Info New Orleans, January 2018

New Orleans

Opera's Tradition and Rebirth: New Orleans 1796-2018 Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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Past Convention Info Santa Barbara, January 2017

Santa Barbara

Fostering Change: Performance and Pedagogy in Opera’s New Millennium

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