Mobile nav

Annual Scholarly Paper Competition 2021 Cycle

*** Deadline Extended until November 7, 2021 ***

Scholarly investigation is indispensable to the field of opera, especially as a basis for production and performance.

The National Opera Association is pleased to announce its Thirty-Seventh Scholarly Papers Competition, 2021, for outstanding scholarly papers on operatic subjects.


The competition is open to any interested author. Membership in NOA is not required.

No application fee is required. Deadline for submission: October 15, 2021 November 7, 2021

Author notification: November 16, 2021 by December 1, 2021

Previous winners of this competition may not re-apply, but are strongly encouraged to submit articles for consideration to The Opera Journal, an NOA publication.


The scholarly paper should explore an operatic subject, present significant research and conclusions, and include an extensive bibliography citing primary, secondary and, if applicable, tertiary sources. Authors should follow these guidelines:

  • The paper must be no more than 3000 words in length.
  • The paper's title, the name of its author, address, telephone, email information, and 100-word biography should be provided on the application form in a separate attachment.  Please note: committee members reading papers do not see identifying information, and bios are held for use in the conference program if the paper is selected.
  • The author's name should not appear on the paper.
  • Only one submission per person is admissible and must be accompanied by a statement confirming that the paper is not under copyright by any party other than the author and that it has not been previously published.
  • Papers previously presented orally are eligible as long as they have not or will not be published in any proceedings.
  • Papers will be judged particularly for significant advances in research and conclusions that shed new light on an operatic topic dealing with music drama, the libretto, the history of the genre, etc.
  • Topics may be as broad as the field of opera itself, which includes historical and theoretical analysis of the music and libretto (along lines of current and past critical theory and translation thereof), singing, acting, costuming, stagecraft, theater, etc.
  • The jury will consider the clarity and quality of the writing, judge the acceptability of the paper for publication in The Opera Journal, and will also rate papers on their overall suitability to be read in an abridged version of no more than twenty minutes length at the convention's Scholarly Papers Session.

See also the Guidelines for Submissions for further information.


The winner will be invited to read her/his paper during the Scholarly Papers Session at NOA's  National Conference in January 2022 in St. Augustine, FL. The Leland Fox Scholarly Paper Stipend of $500 will be awarded to the reader of a winning paper at the national conference.

The winning paper will be published in The Opera Journal.

Copies of papers not selected, accompanied by the committee's critiques, will be forwarded to the editor of the journal for possible consideration for publication.

Submission Procedure

There is no application fee for the competition.

Papers must be submitted electronically in Word or a PDF file.  Send a completed application form (available as a Word document or fillable PDF) along with the paper, and any inquiries about the competition to:

, NOA Research Committee Chairperson

Recent Scholarly Paper Winners

2020 Winner

Lydia Bechtel
Lydia Bechtel
2020 Winner

The winner of the 2020 Scholarly Paper Competition was Lydia Bechtel: "Cast a Diva as Fidès: Pauline Viardot’s Collaborative Role in Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Le Prophète."  A video presentation based on the winning paper will be presented in January 2021 at the virtual national conference.

Dr. Lydia Bechtel recently graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City earning her DMA in Vocal Performance and MM in Musicology. She currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Applied Voice at Northwest Missouri State University, and a Lecturer of Music History at Pittsburg State University. As a voice professor, scholar, and performer Bechtel actively promotes diversifying the classical music canon. She received the prestigious P.E.O. Scholar Award in 2019, which allowed her to travel and complete research on Pauline Viardot in the U.S. and France. Dr. Bechtel has previously presented her research at the CMS and ATMI national conferences.

2018 Winner

The winner of the 2018 Scholarly Paper Competition was Lisa Pollock Mumme: "Angelica di voce: Ángelica Peralta as Nineteenth Century Diva."  The winning paper was presented in January 2019 at the conference in Salt Lake City.

Lisa Pollock Mumme finished her Masters in Musicology at the University of Iowa in 2019. Lisa’s thesis work concerns music in dystopian film, specifically the shifting musical characterizations of gender in the Mad Max franchise. Her secondary area of research concerns the nineteenth-century Mexican opera singer and composer Ángela Peralta. Lisa’s work on Peralta engages conflicting perceptions of Peralta as a nineteenth-century diva and analyzes the intersections of music, text, and the voice in Peralta’s compositions. Lisa looks forward to developing both streams of research as she continues her studies.

2017 Winner

Jared Hedges
Jared Hedges
2017 Winner

The winner of the 2017 Scholarly Paper Competition was Jared Hedges: "Ekphrasis and Frank Martin's Aesthetic Ethic in Der Sturm."  The winning paper was presented in January 2018 at the convention in New Orleans.

Jared Hedges holds degrees in music composition and English literature from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a master’s degree in composition from the University of Iowa. In 2016, his song cycle Nellie Bly at Blackwell's Island was a finalist in the NATS Art Song Composition Competition. His music has been performed throughout the United States and in Canada by musicians such as the JACK Quartet and the Oregon Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra.

Abstract: "A close listening to Frank Martin’s operatic setting of Shakespeare’s The Tempest reveals an insightful allegory of its composer’s aesthetic, in which Martin explores his fears and uses for serialism while pursuing a faithful ekphrasis or musical translation of the original text."

Recent Scholarly Papers

Scholarly Papers 2020

Cast a Diva as Fidès: Pauline Viardot’s Collaborative Role in Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Le Prophète
Lydia Bechtel

Scholarly Papers 2018

Angelica di voce: Ángelica Peralta as Nineteenth Century Diva
Lisa Mumme

Scholarly Papers 2017

Ekphrasis and Frank Martin's Aesthetic Ethic in Der Sturm
Jared Hedges

Scholarly Papers 2016

Puccini’s Grotesque West: Exoticism and Appropriation in La fanciulla del west
C.A. Norling

Scholarly Papers 2015

Fifty Years Later: Reflections on Douglas Moore’s Carry Nation (1966), the University of Kansas’s Centennial Contribution to the American “Year of Opera”
Monica Hershberger

Scholarly Papers 2014

Cultural Translatio and Arne Artaxerxes
Richard Torre

Scholarly Papers 2013

Love and Redemption: The Unfulfilled Passion, the Dissatisfied Dream, and the Chilvaric Duty in Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde
Meghann Anneliese Dailey

Scholarly Papers 2012

Spanish Operatic Identity vis-a-vis Bizet's Carmen
Luis Gustavo Castro-Ramirez

Scholarly Papers 2011

Recitative for the Peuple
Julia I. Doe, Yale University

Operatic Achievements on the European Scale: 19th Century Mexico
Anna Ochs, University of Chicago

Scholarly Papers 2010

Medée et son pouvoir: Music and Dramatic Structure in Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Medée
Alison DeSimone, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Enacting the Nation on Stage: Style, Subjects and Themes in American Opera Librettos of the 1910s
Aaron Ziegel, Urbana, Illinois

Scholarly Papers 2009

The Evolution of American Opera: Robert Ward’s The Crucible
Dr. Robert Kolt, Indiana University – South Bend

The Face That Launched A Hundred Arieas: Helen of Troy and the Reversal of a Reputation in Seventeenth-century Venetian Opera
Reba Wissner, Brandeis University

Scholarly Papers 2008

Wagner, Appia, and “Authorial Intention”
Dr. David Ronis, Queens College

Between Scenes: Transitions and Wagnerian Form
Dr. David Smyth, Louisiana State University