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Detailed Project Description

Aria Composition Contest Information

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TRUNK SHOW!  Aria Contest


A Fashionable Fantasia of Women on the World Stage

​​​Aria Contest Results - July 3, 2017

Thank you to all of the composers who submitted to OperaHub's aria competition for TRUNK SHOW.


While we received a number of excellent arias, we did not receive nearly enough submissions that fulfilled the requirements and guidelines outlined in the call to composers; for this reason, we have reexamined the structure of the project and made the difficult decision not to include contemporary music in the final version of TRUNK SHOW! We will therefore not be awarding a grand prize for the contest but are awarding a limited number of runner-up prizes to the following arias:

"I Am Malala" by Gregory Zavracky

Character: Malala Yousafzai

Situation: Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize

"A Child in the Street" by Charles Turner and Monica Raymond

Character: Samantha Powers

Situation: Reflecting on how the deaths of two children, in Sarajevo and Cameroon, have impacted her life and the world


"Aria of the Presidential Candidate Who Lost" by Moshe Shulman

Character: Hillary Clinton

Situation: Addressing supporters after the election

"It Was the Violin" by Charis Duke

Character: Negina Khpalwak

Situation: Considering the impact of accepting the invitation for her all-female Afghani orchestra to perform at the World Economic Summit in Davos

These arias impressed us with how fully they met our call.  There were also a number of other submissions that employed strong female characters but did not meet all the specifics of our call.  We hope there will be another opportunity to feature these works in performance, though we are not yet sure when that might be.

Although we won't feature them in TRUNK SHOW!, we are thrilled to see contemporary composers writing arias for strong female characters, and we hope to have an opportunity to showcase some of these wonderful arias in the future.


Stay tuned for our dates and venue announcement and for more details about this exciting, ambitious project!


Aria Contest Announcement


OperaHub announces a contest for newly-composed arias for powerful female characters in virtuosic female voices.


One $1000 Grand Prize

Seven $200 Runners Up

All winners will have their aria performed as part of OperaHub’s TRUNK SHOW! fantasy/pastiche/singspiel. 



TRUNK SHOW! will be a semi-devised lyric-theatrical fantasy pastiche inspired by the great divas of the ages, the economic significance of their extravagant wardrobes, and their extraordinary contributions to the social and economic emancipation of women.  The script, which is in the early stages of development, will position 8-10 historic diva characters in conversation with each other.  Each of these characters will sing one aria from that singer’s historic repertoire as well as one new aria featuring a woman character in a position of power or prestige.



  • Arias that are a marriage of classical vocal technique and structure with modern musical style and dramatic sensibilities, 2-6 minutes in duration.

  • Each aria should be for a female character who is a recent, current or future woman of great social, economic, or political power or prestige.  If you are not sure what this means, we have a non-comprehensive list of suggestions.

  • The aria should present her in a situation that is primarily fueled by something other than romantic intrigue although that may play a part.



Arias will be evaluated on the strength of their:

  • choice of subject matter

  • emotional expressiveness

  • active, character-driven text

  • vocal writing that is grounded in the virtuosic use of the human voice developed through the classical, bel canto, and Romantic vocal literature.

  • dramatic arc

  • beauty and lyricism

  • compositional sophistication


We will also be taking into account the voice type distribution among our performing ensemble when choosing final selections.  Our ensemble will likely include voices from the following types: light lyric coloratura soprano, full lyric coloratura soprano, lyric soprano, young zwichenfach, lyric mezzo, coloratura mezzo, dramatic mezzo, contralto  




  • We encourage composers of all genders, races, ethnicities, sexual orientation, ages, career status to apply; this is a blind application process and the only information we will use to identify applicants during the evaluation process is their phone number.

  • A composer may submit multiple entries but we reserve the right to limit the number of winning entries for any single composer.

  • Payment of prize money will be contingent upon winners entering into a rights agreement with OperaHub to cover the use of the composer’s aria in the TRUNK SHOW! stage production.

  • Contest is open to United States Citizens and Permanent Residents only.


Notes (updated 29 November, 2016):

  • The historical divas we will be portraying created roles for composers such as Handel, Mozart, Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Meyerbeer, Wagner, Debussy, Massenet, and Verdi and successful arias will make a strong impression in relation to the music of these composers.

  • Arias may be dramatic or comic.

  • Arias may or may not subvert conventional vocal/character types.

  • The character need not be the protagonist of the larger “story” if the composer is thinking of the aria in the context of a larger work.

  • The aria can either exist on its own or be part of/grow into a part of a larger work that is its own opus.

  • The new arias will generally be used in our show as new showpieces for our historic diva characters, so we are not looking to integrate them fluidly into the show in the same way they would be in a strictly linear-narrative opera.  We won't be trying to tie all of them together in one linear story line other than the meta story line of the trajectory of women's place and roles in opera. 

  • The text of the aria can be in English or a foreign language, but keep in mind that we are looking to perform these arias with a specific ensemble.  Each singer in that ensemble will definitely be capable of performing the major singing languages: Italian, German, and French, as well as English.  Certain singers will also have experience singing in Spanish, Russian, Czech, and Yiddish.  We may have singers who have experience in additional languages or be able to find coaches for them, but these are not guaranteed.

  • While we do not wish to prescribe a list of characters, in response to questions from composers we have created a list of suggested subjects.

  • Questions should be addressed to



Submitting your application:


  • Section 2: Submissions should be emailed to should be formatted as either one (preferred) or two PDF documents.

    • 2A: Information Sheet

      • Ten-Digit Telephone number

      • Aria Title

      • Character Name and Description

      • Summary of the character’s situation or dilemma

      • Text of aria (and English translation, if applicable)

    • 2B: Aria sheet music


Submission Deadline:

May 1, 2017


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