For release: December 4, 2012
For press information, contact Carol Morse, 901-678-2843
The University of Memphis Opera at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music won first place
in its category in the National Opera Association’s Production Competition for the
2011 production of Mozart’s Idomeneo. This is the second win for the School of Music, following its 2008 production of
Hansel and Gretel.
Each year the NOA selects winners, based on the production budget and size of the
program. The competition is judged by a panel of opera professionals who review videos
of the entered productions with no knowledge of which opera companies submitted them.
Productions are critiqued on vocal and orchestralperformance, dramatic quality, stage
direction, set, lighting and costumes.
Idomeneo tells the story of the King of Crete who returns home after the siege of Troy. Because
of a vow to save his life, he has to sacrifice the life of his son, Idamante, to appease
the god Neptune. Complicating matters, Idamante is in love with Trojan prisoner-of-war
Ilia and loved by Greek princess Electra.
The company’s production emulated the violence that Mozart incorporated in the composition
of Idomeneo. He used the post-Trojan War heroes to add his own battle cry to the Enlightenment
philosophers, artists, scientists and statesmen of the day. Just as Mozart's Trojan
War is the background for his artistic lunge, this opera is the background for exploration
of the movement from one generation to another and the violence of letting go.
Faculty member Copeland Woodruff directed the opera and Mark Ensley was conductor
and music director. The production starred Malcolm Cooper, Idomeneo; Christina Paz,
Ilia; Annabeth Novitzki, Idamante; Katie Liesner, Elettra; Phillip Himebook, Arbace;
and Steven Albart, High Priest. The technical crew was comprised of Michael Montgomery,
Set & Costume Design; Les Dickert, Lighting Design; Luke Hall, Props Design; and Matthew
Strampe, Technical Director.
The National Opera Association was founded in 1955 to promote a greater appreciation
of opera. Its membership extends to the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia.