From the February 2018 Desktop News | Dr. Paul Houghtaling, director of the School of Music’s opera program, was recently named the 2018 president of the National Opera Association, or NOA.
The association, which was founded in 1955, supports opera educators and their students through workshops, panels, performance opportunities, collaborations, and competitions.
“As educators, we are in the trenches, training the next generation of opera professionals,” Houghtaling said. “It takes a village, and we are the foundation builders.”
As president, previously serving on the board of directors and as the chair of the collegiate opera scenes competition, Houghtaling said he has two priorities: First, he plans to increase the visibility of the organization by encouraging its 13 regions to host more events throughout the year. Second, he intends to expand the inclusivity, diversity, equality, and access of the association.
“The NOA created the Legacy Project roughly 20 years ago to celebrate the contributions of African-Americans in our field, and they produce some very exciting concerts and events every year,” Houghtaling said. “I want to continue their efforts, while also expanding the opportunities for other underrepresented groups.
“We are going to take a truly humanistic approach to what diversity means—women and men of all races. Anyone who is involved in our beloved art form of opera, opera education and pedagogy has a place in the National Opera Association, and whether it be through special events or scholarships, I want them to feel welcomed and supported.”
Former president of the organization and director of the opera theatre program at the University of Mississippi, Julia Aubrey, said of Houghtaling’s appointment, “Paul is going to be energetic, over-flowing with ideas, and collaborative, while offering contagious enthusiasm as the president of NOA.”
In addition to his work with NOA and as the director of UA’s opera theatre, Houghtaling continues to direct and perform professionally. Within the last year, he has given more than a dozen performances, and in March, he will be performing in LaGrange, Georgia, as the bass soloist in Mozart’s Requiem.