UNT Opera earned first place in the National Opera Association's Opera Production Competition in Division V -- the highest division among conservatory and university programs -- for its production of Marc Blitzstein's Regina.
The award was presented at the gala banquet of the national convention Jan. 7 in Memphis.
"We were already very proud of our casts, orchestra, studio teachers, designers and crews who brought this challenging masterpiece to life on our stage. But to receive this very high recognition for our creative efforts nationally acknowledges the top quality training that our College of Music provides its students," says Paula Homer, director of UNT Opera.
UNT Opera performed Regina, based on playwright Lillian Hellman's masterpiece The Little Foxes, in February and March 2011. The production incorporated a mix of styles -- from opera to musical theater, jazz, Dixieland and blues.
"Working on Regina was a labor of love for all involved," says Stephen Dubberly, UNT Opera's music director and conductor for the production. "I can't say enough about Paula Homer's committed, inspiring leadership. At every step in the process, we were conscious of the great privilege of producing a theatrical and musical masterpiece that is so beautiful, so hauntingly personal, so compelling dramatically, and so relevant socially and politically. What a joy to be recognized for our collective efforts on a project that truly changed our lives and the lives of the audience members. The students in Concert Orchestra deserve special mention for the enthusiasm, professionalism and skill they brought to this endeavor."
Entries in the competition were judged in a videotaped performance and were broken into five categories based on production budget, size of program and level of vocal training of the cast members.
Last year, the UNT Opera program earned third place from the National Opera Association's Opera Production Competition for its performance of Smetana's Prodana nevesta (The Bartered Bride), which was the first opera to be presented in Czech at UNT. UNT also won awards from the National Opera Association in previous years for Argento's Postcard from Morocco and Britten's Albert Herring.
About UNT Opera
UNT Opera offers intensive training and performance opportunities to talented undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Music. The opera program offers two full productions each year in the intimate Lyric Theater of the Murchison Performing Arts Center, as well as a biennial gala concert of operatic excerpts and opportunities to perform across the country.
Ellen Rossetti with UNT News Service can be reached at Ellen.Rossetti@unt.edu.