Opera Director Copeland Woodruff Wins National “Best Production” Award

A preview of things to come?

While Copeland Woodruf, Lawrence University’s new director of opera studies, has yet to stage his first production here, he’s still garnering national recognition from his previous appointment as co-director of opera studies at the University of Memphis.

Copeland Woodruff

For the fifth time in the past eight years, Woodruff, who began his first year at Lawrence this fall, has earned first-place honors in the prestigious National Opera Association’s Best Opera Production Competition, Division V for 2013-14. He was recognized for his production of Mozart’s “Così fan tutte” with University of Memphis Opera.

“With this award, Copeland once again shows he is an opera director of the first order,” said Brian Pertl, dean of the conservatory of music. “We are so excited to have him at Lawrence. Although he is just finishing up his very first term, his creative talents, artistic vision, and passion for teaching are already making a big impact on our students.”

The NOA’s annual competition encourages and rewards creative, high-quality productions in small professional opera companies and opera training programs, including academic institutions and music conservatories.

Other recent competition winners in Division 5 include some of the country’s premier music programs, including the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Temple University, University of Houston and the University of North Texas.

Copeland, who had directed more than 90 opera productions in his career, spent six years at the University of Memphis, where he won three of his five best opera production awards. In addition to this year’s, he previously was honored for his Memphis productions of Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” (2008) and Mozart’s “Idomeneo” (2011).

He also was cited by the National Opera Association for his American collegiate premiere of Jacques Offenbach’s “Les contes d’Hoffmann” (2006) with Temple University Opera and the controversial American premiere of Obermueller & Gilbert’s “Dreimaldrei gleich unendlich” (2010) in the professional division with the Boston-based opera company Juventas New Music Ensemble.

Woodruff attended the University of South Carolina, where he earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in vocal performance. He also earned a master’s degree in stage directing for opera from Indiana University.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.