Crane Opera Ensemble wins national award for opera production


The Crane Opera Ensemble recently tied for first place in the 2009 National Opera Association's annual Collegiate Opera Production Competition.  The competition invites member colleges, universities and conservatories from across the United States to participate by submitting a video of a complete opera performance from the academic year.  Five different divisions reflect production budget, program size, academic level of the singers involved and the use of orchestra or piano accompaniment.

The Crane Opera Ensemble's spring 2009 production of Cavalli's, L'Egisto took top honors in division 2 category along with Queen's College - CUNY's production of Monteverdi's, L'Orfeo. Third place went to the University of Nevada-Reno for their production of HMS Pinafore.  Winners in other divisions include the University of Memphis, Temple University, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati and The Boston Conservatory.  The production was conducted by Dr. Kirk Severtson, associate professor: vocal coach/accompanist and chair of the Music Performance Department.  Dr. Carleen Graham, professor of Opera and director of The Crane Opera Ensemble was stage director and production designer.  Julia Ferreri was costume designer and Kim Hartshorn was guest lighting designer.

Six students and three faculty from The Crane School of Music recently attended the 2010 National Opera Association's annual conference in Atlanta, GA where students accepted the award from David Daniels, international opera star and featured speaker at the awards ceremony brunch.

The Crane Opera Ensemble was also selected to participate in the final round of the Opera Scenes Competition held during the convention.  A scene from the Ensemble's recent production of Albert Herring was performed by Kelley Burns (a senior from Hamburg, NY), Caitlin Bush (a sophomore from Owego, NY), Sara El Houssieny (a junior from Buffalo, NY), Manuel Del Castillo (a 1st year graduate student from Minneapolis, MN), Jacob Carll (a junior from Olean, NY) and Michael Celentano (a junior from Bellport, NY).  Faculty member Dr. François Germain, Instructor of Piano and Vocal Coach accompanied the performance, which was also attended by Dr. Kirk Severtson, who conducted the original production; and Dr. Carleen Graham, who staged directed and designed the original production.

"We are proud of the hard work, talent and commitment that goes into creating such a production," says Graham.  The singers, orchestra, production staff and crew are all to be commended.  We are thrilled to be recognized for our efforts among such other prestigious institutions."

The Crane Opera Ensemble previously won first place in 2003 for their production of Gilbert & Sullivan's Mikado.  The Ensemble is currently preparing for their spring 2010 production of Maurice Ravel's, L'Enfant et les Sortilèges (The Child and the Enchantments) scheduled for April 16 & April 17, in the Sara M. Snell Music Theatre.  A special morning matinée performance and educational activities for families and children on spring break will be on Thursday, April 15 at 10 a.m.  For more information, contact The Community Performance Series at 267-2277 or at

For more information, please visit: