UNCG Opera has once again hit a high note – and received national honors for it.

The UNC Greensboro School of Music’s Opera Theatre, under the direction of David Holley, has been awarded the American Prize for the 2018-19 season. Their production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” (“Die Zanberflöte”) tied for third place in the category of university opera performance.

The American Prize, founded in 2009, recognizes the best recorded performances by nonprofit ensembles and individuals in the United States.

Full cast of "The Magic Flute" on stage

The full cast of UNCG Opera Theatre’s “The Magic Flute”

The highly acclaimed Opera Theatre in UNCG’s College of Visual and Performing Arts has received a number of national awards, including seven first-place prizes in the National Opera Association’s opera production competition.

During the spring of 2018, the UNCG School of Music and the School of Theatre joined forces for “The Magic Flute.” This collaborative relationship is one of the unique characteristics of the opera program within the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

“This production was yet another of our collaborations with the UNCG School of Theatre,” Holley says. “One of the exciting things for me is that the lighting, scenery, and costume design were created by MFA students Dylan Bollinger, Devon Drohan, and Rebecca Huguet, respectively. To be able to produce a high-quality show but to also make it a curricular endeavor for UNCG School of Theatre students is a very fulfilling thing for me.”

Holley notes that the arts at UNCG present a wealth of resources from which to draw. “We have ample vocal talent, and the University Symphony Orchestra is one of the finest of its kind. The design and technical support from the School of Theatre sets us apart nationwide.”

Performer plays flute on stage

Christian Blackburn MM ’19 plays flute during the spring 2018 production of “The Magic Flute.”

This production provided an outstanding learning experience for the aspiring professional performers. Originally debuted in 1791, “The Magic Flute” is a Singspiel, a popular form of opera which includes both singing and spoken dialogue, Holley explains. UNCG’s production featured the sung sections in its original German language. 

“This is a challenge,” Holley says, “but a necessary one, as we are training our student-artists for success in the regional opera world, where most operas are presented in the original language.”

UNCG Opera is known for its community outreach as well. Every fall, the Opera Theatre’s “Tour to the Schools” program reaches over 10,000 Greensboro area school children. This September’s tour of “Carmenella” will tell the story of Cinderella using the music of “Carmen.” Additionally, UNCG’s Opera Theatre regularly collaborates with the Greensboro Opera to present a signature outreach program, “Opera at the Carolina,” in which every fifth grader in Guilford County, North Carolina, attends a live opera at the downtown Carolina Theatre.

For more information on the program and upcoming events, visit the Opera Theatre’s website.

More information on the American Prize can be found here.

 

Story by Matthew Bryant, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications