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2018 Finalists

Competition Finals
The final round of the 2018 prize competition was held at The Crane School of Music on September 23-24, 2016, and featured commissioned scenes from each of the four finalists.

One winner will be awarded a $25,000 commission to complete the work, which will premiere in November 2018 by the award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble & Orchestra.

Public Events
Friday, September 23
4 p.m, Panel Discussion with Composers, Librettists and Dramaturg, moderated by Mark Campbell and Darren Woods
Wakefield Recital Hall

Saturday, September 24
Presentation of finalist scenes by faculty and students of The Crane School of Music, with introductions by the composer and librettist teams:
1 p.m.: Program A: Albert Nobbs and Mayo – Snell Music Theatre
5 p.m.: Program B: The Reef and Uncovered – Snell Music Theatre

All events were live-streamed at and the public was invited to attend.

NCPR was media sponsor for this event.

Albert Nobbs

Albert Nobbs is a gender-bending story about a butler in a 19th century Irish hotel who hides a secret: he is really a she. When her identity is discovered by another woman posing as a man, Albert begins a desperate search for love, leading to despair and ultimately her death. Patrick Soluri, composer; Deborah Brevoort, librettist.
View a scene from Albert Nobbs as presented in the finals on Sept 24, 2016


Based on a true story, Mayo tells of America's tragic infatuation with eugenics in the early 20th Century. Though Mayo Buckner was committed to the Iowa Home for Feeble-Minded Children at the age of eight and lived there for sixty years, he forged a life of quiet dignity and meaning. Tom Cipullo, composer & librettist.
View a scene from Mayo as presented in the finals on Sept 24, 2016

The Reef

Adapted from Edith Wharton's novel and reset in Martinique, 1911, The Reef is a tragic opera in which the strict conventions of plantation society breed intolerance based on race and class, and doom love between an American widow and a diplomat because of his prior affair with a mixed-race nursemaid. Anthony Davis, composer; Joan Ross Sorkin, librettist.
View a scene from The Reef as presented in the finals on Sept 24, 2016


Uncovered, by Lori Laitman is the deeply moving story of a woman in a society that dictates every aspect of her existence so that she hides her real self. The opera is based on librettist Leah Lax's memoir, "Uncovered: How I Left Hasidic Life and Finally Came Home." Lori Laitman, composer; Leah Lax, librettist.
View a scene from Uncovered as presented in the finals on Sept 24, 2016