Meadows Opera Theatre wins national opera award

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Students perform in Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land. (courtesy SMU )

SMU’s Meadows Opera Theatre received Second Prize in the National Opera Association’s prestigious annual competition for Best Production.

Meadows submitted scenes from their 2009 production of Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land to be viewed at the NOA national convention, on Jan. 9 in Atlanta.

The production featured a large ensemble cast comprised of SMU undergraduate, graduate, and artist certificate students and was directed by director of opera Hank Hammett.

“This is a an extraordinary honor for our opera program and it highlights the excellence of our gifted young singing actors and orchestra musicians, as well as, the superlative training and performance opportunities we are able to give our students,” Hammett said in a press release.

“This recognition is also a testament to the exceptional interdisciplinary collaboration we have here at Meadows between music, theatre and dance.”

Director of orchestral activities, Paul Phillips, conducted the 13-member Meadows Opera Ensemble.

Recent SMU graduates Thomas Charles LeGalley and Emily Bean provided scene and costume design and lighting design.

Director of choral activities Pamela Elrod served as chorus master.

Associate Professor of dance Danny Buraczeski was the choreographer making The Tender Land a collaborative and interdisciplinary product of the Meadows School of the Arts.

This is the first year that the Meadows Opera Theatre has entered the competition.
Meadows competed in Category V, which is the highest category for small professional companies, conservatories and universities.

The NOA was founded in 1955 and is an international organization that strives to promote the appreciation of opera and music theatre, as well as to increase and enhance pedagogy and performance opportunities.

Winners are selected by a blind peer review conducted by a panel of opera professionals.
The entry videos are viewed anonymously and are judged in the following categories: quality of singing, musical accuracy and style, dramatic integrity, directorial concept, quality of acting and production values.

Meadows received high acclaim from the judges for their excellent singing, interesting concept and overall professionalism.

The competition’s first prize was awarded to Temple University’s production of Puccini’s La bohéme.

Meadows Opera Theatre’s next production is Mozart’s Il re pastore – The Shepherd King – and will be presented in the Bob Hope Theatre Feb. 4-7.

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