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Crane Opera Ensemble Production Ties for First Place in National Opera Association Competition

December 1, 2023
Accolades Continue to Roll in for Crane Opera Ensemble at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music 

A scene from the Spring 2023 Crane Opera Ensemble production of “The Enchanted Pig,” which just tied for first place in the National Opera Association production competition. 

The award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has added another accolade to its list of honors. The ensemble’s Spring 2023 production of “The Enchanted Pig” has tied for first place in the National Opera Association’s 2022-23 Opera Production Competition. 

The Crane production tied for first place in Division I for the national awards, tying with productions from Baylor University and Shenandoah University.  

“All of us at The Crane School of Music are proud of our students and colleagues for this accomplishment,” said Dean William Gibbons. “This newest award is an important recognition of the outstanding performances our opera and musical theatre programs produce each year.” 

The National Opera Association promotes excellence in opera education and pedagogy through its support of a diverse community of opera educators and professionals. The goal of the NOA’s Opera Production Competition is to further the organization’s mission by encouraging and rewarding creative, high quality opera productions at academic institutions and music conservatories. 

Due to the vast range of resources available to producing organizations, the 87 entrants were first divided into undergraduate and graduate levels (based on predominant age group or training level of the cast) and then each level divided into divisions according to production size and budget. A total of 24 awards have been given by the judges. 

“The Enchanted Pig” is a charming 2006 opera with music by Jonathan Dove and libretto by Alasdair Middleton, based on Romanian and Norwegian fairy tales. It tells the story of the King of the North, who had a magic spell placed on him. Against his will, he changes into a pig during the day, only regaining human form at night. After marrying a neighboring ruler’s daughter, the pig tells her that through “love, patience and trust” she can break the spell forever. And as the audience discovers, she is willing to travel to the ends of the earth to make it happen!  

The Crane Opera Ensemble production was brought to life by the talented student cast and crew, led by director Michael Scarola and music director, conductor and vocal coach Brock Tjosvold. Scenic and lighting design and technical direction were led by John Larrance, while Sarah Maurer-Groth served as the costume coordinator. 

The production itself included educational outreach to expose more young audiences to the medium, with a free weekday performance provided for students at local middle schools and high schools.  

About the Crane Opera Ensemble:  

The award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble is a significant source for opera and music theatre in the North Country region of New York State. The ensemble provides exciting opportunities for students to experience all facets of opera performance and production, through rehearsals, coaching and classes related to performance practices and production techniques. The ensemble’s productions have garnered awards from the National Opera Association (2023, 2019, 2018, 2015, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2003), The American Prize (2011, 2017, 2023), and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (2010). To learn more, visit  

About The Crane School of Music: 

Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution and was one of the first Yamaha Institutions of Excellence. For more information, please visit 

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