The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: Dec. 19, 2002

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos of the UI Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater's April 2002 production of "The Marriage of Figaro" are available for download at

UI Opera Theater production wins National Opera Association award

The University of Iowa Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theater has won first prize in the Opera Production Competition sponsored by the National Opera Association (NOA), an international organization that serves the opera performance and educational activities of academic institutions and small regional opera companies.

The UI won for its production of Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro," presented in Hancher Auditorium in April 2002. The production was directed by Sally Stunkel, who received notification of the award. This was the first time for the UI to win a production award from the NOA. It was the third winner directed by Stunkel, who had previously directed two winning productions at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.

The production of "The Marriage of Figaro" featured a cast of UI students, and the University Symphony was conducted by William LaRue Jones. Musical coach was Shari Rhoads. Costumes were designed by Margaret Wenk of the Division of Performing Arts Production Unit. Lighting was by Laurel Shoemaker.

Kristin Thelander:, director of the UI School of Music, said: "This is a wonderful honor for our voice and opera programs, to say nothing about the production unit, orchestra and every other aspect of the opera production."

The awards will be given to the winners at the annual NOA Convention, January 17-20, 2003, in Washington, D.C.

The competition was for opera productions staged during the 2001-02 season by college and university training programs and small professional companies. Each entrant submitted a video tape of their production. The UI entry was in the category for productions taped by a single fixed video camera, and in the top budget category, for productions with total budgets of $75,000 and higher.

Judging was by a panel of experts chosen by the NOA. Judging criteria covered all artistic aspects of the production, including fidelity of the production to the work, especially in terms of direction and style; conviction in the acting; visual enhancement by the scenery, costumes and lighting; and musical integrity in the vocal and instrumental performance.

The National Opera Association was founded in 1955, under the auspices of the National Music Council. The National Opera Association seeks to promote a greater appreciation of opera and music theatre, to enhance pedagogy and performing activities, and to increase performance opportunities by supporting projects that improve the scope and quality of opera. Members in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia participate in a wide array of activities in support of this mission.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>.