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OCU Wins National Opera Accolades


The National Opera Association honored all three operas from Oklahoma City University’s 2015-16 season with awards in its annual production competition, including first place in Division I for the Bass School of Music’s March production of “Jackie O.”

Each of the shows was directed by David Herendeen, head of the OCU-based Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company.

Robert Hansen, executive director of NOA, said it was unusual for one university to win three of the national awards, and unprecedented for one director to be honored for three productions in a single season. The last company to be honored with triple honors was the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music-University of Cincinnati’s two second places and a third, under three separate directors, in 2010-11.

In addition to “Jackie O,” OCU’s latest winning productions were “Don Pasquale,” presented in November 2015, awarded second place in Division III; and “Evita,” presented in April 2016, awarded third place in Division IV. Collaborating with Herendeen were music director Chuck Koslowske on “Jackie O” and Jan McDaniel on “Don Pasquale” and “Evita.”

“We are thrilled that the continued standard of excellence from our students, faculty and staff has been recognized with these national honors,” said Mark Parker, dean of the Bass School of Music. “Our storied opera tradition continues to grow, and we are grateful to be counted among the nation’s best.”

The newest awards bring the Bass School of Music's total National Opera Association honors to five. OCU also won divisional first place awards in 2012-13 for “Il Barbiere di Siviglia,” directed by Herendeen and conducted by McDaniel, and with the opera twin bill of “Pagliacci”/Gianni Schicchi,” directed by Herendeen and conducted by Benjamin Niles and Matthew Mailman.

The 2015-16 awards will be presented on the final night of the NOA convention in Santa Barbara in January. The Oklahoma Opera and Music Theater Company’s 65th season continues this weekend with Giacomo Puccini’s “La Rondine,” celebrating the 100th anniversary of the show’s premiere. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. More information and tickets are available from 405.208.5227 or okcu.edu/tickets.

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