Tuesday, August 18, 2020

WINNERS: stage directors (opera), the Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, 2019-20

Charles Nelson Reilly

The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, founder and chief judge, is honored to announce the winners, runners-up, and honorable mention recipient of The American Prize in Directing—The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, 2019-20, in the opera theater division. (Theater/musical theater division winners will be posted separately.) Congratulations!

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

QUICKNOTES: Although The American Prize does not usually provide written evaluations to semi-finalists, some semi-finalist composers will receive in their certificate packets short comments, suggestions or overall impressions made during the judging. We hope they will prove valuable. All finalists receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

Charles Nelson Reilly was a Tony Award-winning actor and Broadway stage director, and an acclaimed opera director and teacher. Far more than the zany television personality by which he was most often identified, Reilly nurtured the creation of a whole series of unique one-person stage plays. Most famously, he directed Julie Harris in her Tony Award-winning star turn in "The Belle of Amherst", on the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson. Among Reilly's many Broadway directing credits were Ira Levinʼs "Break a Leg", Larry Shueʼs "The Nerd", and the revival of "The Gin Game", starring Julie Harris and Charles Durning, for which Mr. Reilly was the sole American director to be nominated for a Tony in 1997. Mr. Reillyʼs career as an opera director included productions for Chicago Opera Theater, Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Toledo Opera, Milwaukee Opera and Opera Pacific. Charles Nelson Reilly and The American Prize chief judge David Katz were friends for three decades, first meeting through their mutual Hartford voice teacher, Mrs. Friedrich Schorr. Mr. Reilly served as honorary chairperson of the Friedrich Schorr Memorial Performance Prize in Voice from the competition's founding in 1990, until his death. To read more about the career of Charles Nelson Reilly, .

COVID EXTENSIONS: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21. In addition, application deadlines have been extended. We will accept applications from COMPOSERS, CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Applications from CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS ADMINISTRATORS (arts marketing, arts education) and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Wednesday, October 14, 2020. Further extensions may be granted pending the most current information about the virus. 

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com

The American Prize in Directing—The Charles Nelson Reilly Prize, opera division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Dean Anthony              
SUNY Potsdam—Crane School of Music   
Potsdam  NY                
MAYO (Cipullo)

Dean Anthony              
Dean Anthony draws inspiration and expertise from a comprehensive career spanning over 30 years and innumerable turns as performer, director, educator, and producer. Frequently engaged as a stage director, Mr. Anthony’s artistic process is hallmarked by an energetic, gritty, and physical style. His portfolio stretches across the repertoire from Le Nozze di Figaro to Dead Man Walking and includes regular engagements at regional houses across the United States. Most recently, he was appointed Artistic and Producing Director of Asheville Lyric Opera and served as the Director of Opera at SUNY Potsdam for the 2018-2019 school year. Mr. Anthony is currently the Director of Opera with the Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center and has served on the Brevard faculty since 2008. A passionate educator, he has shared his insights through a unique movement and acting masterclass series at opera companies, universities, and music festivals the world over from the Boston Cnservatory to the Festival Lyrique de Belle Ile en Mer.

2nd Place (there was a tie):
Dugg McDonough            
Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at Louisiana State University  
Baton Rouge LA         
Elizabeth Cree (Puts)

Dugg McDonough            
Dugg McDonough has directed for companies ranging from New York City Opera to the Taipei International Arts Festival.  Recent professional successes have included Little Women, La cenerentola, and Sweeney Todd for Pensacola Opera; Susannah, Dialogues of the Carmelites, La rondine, Elektra, and The Tragedy of Carmen for Des Moines Metro Opera; and Madama Butterfly and Amahl and the Night Visitors for Opéra Louisiane.  Mr. McDonough also worked for The Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Florida Grand Opera, OperaDelaware, and New York’s Center for Contemporary Opera.  International credits include Le nozze di Figaro and La cenerentola for Operafestival di Roma and Tristan und Isolde in Bulgaria.  For 20 seasons, Mr. McDonough was Co-Director of Des Moines Metro Opera’s Apprentice Artist Program as well as faculty at Temple University.  He is now Fruehan Associate Professor and Artistic Director of the Turner-Fischer Center for Opera at Louisiana State University.

2nd Place (there was a tie):
David Holley
University of NC—Greensboro
Greensboro NC                    

David Holley
David Holley is the Director of Opera at UNCG and the General and Artistic Director of Greensboro Opera. Recent directing/producing credits include Greensboro Opera productions of Madama Butterfly, Hansel and Gretel, The Barber of Seville, Carmen, La Cenerentola, and La fille du régiment.  Of the latter, the Greensboro News and Record said, “Simply put, Holley and the cast put on one of the finest performances in recent Triad memory.”  In the Spring of 2009, he produced and directed the World Premiere of Picnic, an opera by American composer Libby Larsen, for which he also wrote the libretto.  His productions have consistently won awards in the National Opera Association's annual Opera Production Competition, including seven first place and five second place NOA awards since his arrival at UNCG.  2016's Amahl and the Night Visitors recently won honorable mention in the American Prize Competition, and three productions have been American Prize finalists.

3rd Place:
Rachel M. Harris
University of Missouri
Kansas City  MO         
La Finta Giardiniera (Mozart)

Rachel M. Harris
Rachel M. Harris is a free-lance opera director based in Baton Rouge, LA. She began her directing career in 1997 working with Boston University and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Dr. Harris is a Guest Artist Stage Director for Heartland Opera Theatre, Joplin MO; Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA and a former Guest Artist Director for the University of Utah, Logan.  Her free-lance credits include: The Varna International Opera Academy, Bulgaria; Opera Louisiane, Baton Rouge, LA; University of Missouri, Kansas City; Loyola University, New Orleans; Druid City Opera Workshop, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa; Raven Summer Opera, Sam Houston State, Huntsville, TX and Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. Dr. Harris holds a DMA from Louisiana State University, a BM in Vocal Performance from Fredonia State University and a MM in Opera from Binghamton University in conjunction with the Tri-Cities Opera Artist Residence Training Program. For more information, her website: http://rharrisdirector.wixsite.com/rachel-harris-opera

Finalist Honorable Mention:
Marc Callahan             
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill  NC         
One Who Says Yes (Der Jasager) (Weill)

Marc Callahan             
Marc Callahan holds degrees from Oberlin College, the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and the École Normale de Musique de Paris and the Schola Cantorum. As a director, he has received international critical acclaim for his production of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes, saying it was “designed and directed with jaw-dropping invention” and his production of Lohengrin was at the New World Center was ranked no. 2 in the top ten classical music event in Florida 2018. He has worked on productions at the Royal Opera House, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Holland Festival, Scottish Opera, Miami Music Festival, the New World Center, and the Théâtre du Capitole. Recent productions include The Marriage of Figaro, Cinderella, and The Blue Forest, Help, Help, the Globolinks!, Lohengrin, Alcina and Die Walküre, and Der Jasager.Upcoming productions include: L’incoronazione di Poppea, Die Zauberflöte, Il Sogno di Scipione, and Atlas. He will also act as collaborateur artistique for the grand re-opening of the new Théâtre du Châtelet in 2019.

Finalist Honorable Mention:
Tracelyn Gesteland            
University of South Dakota Opera     
Vermillion  SD         
The Consul        

Tracelyn Gesteland            
Dr. Tracelyn Gesteland is Associate Professor of Voice/Opera at the University of South Dakota and holds the Walter A. and Lucy Yoshioka Buhler Endowed Chair.  She is the recipient of several national awards for her opera direction at USD, including accolades from The American Prize and the National Opera Association.  Other recent directing credits include productions with the Lone Star Lyric Theater Festival, the Houston Opera Project, and the South Dakota Vocal Arts Festival, in addition to serving as a directing apprentice with the Harrower Opera Workshop in Atlanta.  She is also an active performer on the opera, concert and recital stage, having been referred to by reviewers as "powerful" and "striking" (Great Britain's Organists' Review), “remarkable” and a “highlight of the evening” (Sioux City Journal), and “an engaging and versatile singing actress” (Madison Isthmus).  Dr. Gesteland was the winner of the Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching, USD’s highest teaching honor.

Finalist Honorable Mention:
Copland Woodruff             
Lawrence University
Appleton WI         
Mass (Bernstein)

Copland Woodruff             
Copeland Woodruff, director of opera studies at Lawrence University, has held teaching appointments at University of Memphis, The Julliard School, Oberlin Conservatory, and Temple University as well as the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. He is dedicated to the re-imagining of the artist and of the artist’s creative dialogue with the world, especially in recital, concert, and operatic performance practice. Woodruff is a proud member of AGMA and Actor's Equity Association. 


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