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U of M Opera Wins First Place in National Opera Association Competition

For release: December 4, 2012
For press information, contact Carol Morse, 901-678-2843

IdomeneoThe 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.


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