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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

NEWS: SUU Vocal Students Score Victory at National Opera Association Competition


Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah: They raised their voices in glorious song and the judges took notice. On January 3, 2013, four gifted vocal students in SUU’s Department of Musictook a second place victory in a competition sponsored by the National Opera Association at the organization’s annual conference which was held in Portland, Oregon. 

Carol Ann Modesitt, SUU Director of Opera and Voice, is pleased to announce that Alex Byers, Taliah Byers, Shaye Leavitt and Christina Meikle, accompanied by Sasha Bainson on the piano, impressed the distinguished panel of judges in the final round of the competition with their 10-minute scene from Gian Carlo Menotti’s chamber opera, The Old Maid and the Thief. At the competition, the SUU vocal students were awarded second place. The opera was originally performed by SUU Opera in spring 2012. 

For the undergraduate division, the first round was a DVD submission of a 10-minute scene which was adjudicated by a separate panel of judges in fall 2012. After reviewing all 27 submissions, the SUU Opera scene was selected as one of the five scenes to be performed live in the conference competition. The students arrived in Portland and performed the scene for an audience which included three esteemed judges: Mark Beudert, General Director of Eugene Opera, Noel Koran, Director of Performing Arts at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon, and the General Director of the Rogue Opera in Medford, Oregon, and Elizabeth Vrenios, Associate Director of the Crittenden Opera Studio and founder and Artistic Director of the Redwoods Opera Workshop in Mendocino, California.

According to Professor Modesitt, “All of the other universities in the final round have considerably more students enrolled than Southern Utah University. Their enrollments ranged from 11,000 to 31,000 students. Two of the universities have Schools of Music instead of smaller Departments of Music. One of our students who competed told me that he felt that this competition was an excellent indication of the training and expertise of the faculty in the SUU Music Department. I am so proud of our students. They sang beautifully and represented SUU’s mission, vision, and its commitment to excellence. The music department and the student senate provided monetary support to the students. This support is so vital in getting the university and its music department better known throughout the region and the nation.” 

While at the conference the students had the opportunity to attend workshops, and participate and perform in master classes and concerts, surrounded by some of the nation’s most respected opera professionals and faculty. 

This victory is a wonderful foreshadowing for SUU Opera spring 2013 production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s classic Don Giovanni, an SUU Music Masterworks event. Scheduled for March 6-9, the opera will be performed at Cedar City’s Heritage Center Theater accompanied by full orchestra. Curtain time will be 7:30pm. Tickets are $8 for general adult admission, $6 for SUU faculty/staff and $4 for youth/students. SUU students are admitted free with a valid I.D. card. Tickets can be purchased through the SUU Ticket Office either in person or over the phone (435) 586-7872 (M-F, 8am-4:30pm) or online at www.suu.edu/arts

The Southern Utah University College of Performing and Visual Arts is comprised of nationally accredited departments of Art and Design, Music, Theatre Arts and Dance, as well as a Center for Shakespeare Studies and a graduate program in Arts Administration. The College offers 16 different degree areas, including liberal arts Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees; professional Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Fine Arts in art and theatre degrees; and a Master of Fine Arts in Arts Administration degree. The Center for Shakespeare Studies offers a minor in Shakespeare Studies. More than 60 full- and part-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 550 majors in the College. Over 1100 students enroll each year in over 195 arts classes on the SUU campus. The College presents 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year. The College’s affiliate organizations include the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery, American Folk Ballet, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the SUU Ballroom Dance Company. For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, contact the Office of the Dean (435) 865-8561, or by e-mail at cpvamktg@suu.edu.

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