The American Prize in Opera Performance has announced the 2019-2020 winners, with UNCG Opera Theatre’s production of Falstaff receiving second place in the college/university division, tying with Louisiana State University.

Falstaff, Verdi’s last opera, is a revenge comedy based on Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor. The UNCG production, mounted in the spring of 2019 and directed by David Holley, included 10 principals, a chorus of 30, and the University Symphony Orchestra. Metropolitan Opera baritone Richard Zeller was in the title role. Peter Perret was the conductor. Costumes were designed by Deborah Bell and created with the help of costume design students. The set was designed by Randy McMullen with design and production students, and Chip Haas served as technical director. (A review is here.)

In addition to the second place honor for the production, Holley is a finalist for the Charles Nelson Reilly Prize for stage direction, and Perret is a finalist for the Opera Conducting Award.

UPDATED 8/22: The American Prize in Opera Performance has announced that UNCG Opera Director David Holley is the second place winner of the Charles Neilson Reilly Prize for stage direction, and that Peter Perret has received second place in the Opera Conducting Award, both for the School of Music’s 2019 production of Falstaff.


The UNCG Opera Theatre is the recipient of a number of awards. Seven productions have won First Place in the National Opera Association Opera Production Competition, including Susannah, Little Women, Orpheus in the Underworld, The Consul, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Don Giovanni, and five production have placed Second: Galileo Galilei, L’Enfant et les sortilèges, La vida breve, and Albert Herring and Gianni Schicchi. The Magic Flute and Amahl and the Night Visitors have received Third Place.

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts is the nation’s most comprehensive series of contests in the performing arts, unique in scope and structure. Founded in 2010, contestants hail from all fifty states, representing literally hundreds of communities and arts organizations across the nation.

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