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College Students: Design Art for LA Opera

Posted on: January 21, 2020

College students – submit your artwork for LA Opera’s GRoW @ Annenberg Poster Contest!

Currently enrolled college students in Southern California are invited to submit artwork for LA Opera’s spring production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. The winning submission will be featured on the cover of the show’s performance program and displayed at the home of LA Opera, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. 

What will you win?

The winning submissions will receive a cash prize and recognition at the performance.

  • First Prize: $5,000
  • Second Prize: $2,000
  • Third Prize: $1,000

Winners will also be invited to attend the opening night performance of The Marriage of Figaro (June 6, 2020) and the Cast Supper that follows the show.


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Judges: Submissions will be judged by a panel of art, opera, marketing and design experts, including Gregory Annenberg Weingarten (GRoW @ Annenberg, Annenberg Foundation); Regina Weingarten, LA Opera Board member; Tim Johnson, LA Opera Board member; Christopher Koelsch, LA Opera President and CEO; Diane Bergman, LA Opera VP of Marketing and Communications; Keith Rainville, Associate Director of Marketing, Brand and Design; (Panel subject to change). The decisions of the panel are final.


We’re looking for artwork that captures the story (below) and reflects LA Opera’s production of The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart’s greatest comedy that sparkles with disguises, wit and trickery.

Please read and submit entries per the contest requirements below. Entries that do not meet these specifications may be disqualified.


Act I
On the morning of their wedding, Figaro and Susanna (servants to the Count and Countess Almaviva) are getting ready to move into their new bedroom, adjacent to the Count's. Susanna fears that the Count will use this proximity to exercise his right as a feudal lord to initiate the new bride into the ways of lovemaking, an intention he has already communicated to Susanna via her music teacher, Don Basilio. Figaro vows to preserve Susanna’s virtue.

Marcellina and her former employer Doctor Bartolo arrive with a plan to stop Figaro’s wedding. Marcellina wants to marry Figaro herself and plans to do so by enforcing the terms of an unresolved contract for a loan she made to Figaro years earlier. Susanna shares a contentious exchange with her rival.

The young page Cherubino has been banished from the castle after the Count found him in a compromising position with Barbarina, the gardener’s daughter. The page is pleading with Susanna to intervene on his behalf when the Count pays a surprise visit. While Cherubino hides, Susanna refuses the Count’s propositions. When Don Basilio is heard approaching, the Count also hides until he overhears Basilio telling Susanna that Cherubino might be flirting with the Countess. In the midst of his tirade about Cherubino’s indiscretions, the Count inadvertently uncovers the page from his hiding place. The confusion is interrupted by the arrival of Figaro. The Count responds to the morning’s events by delaying the wedding until that evening and by sending the pageboy away to fill a position in his military regiment.

Act II
Susanna is relaying the morning’s events to the Countess when Figaro enters to explain his plan, a diversion that Figaro asserts will ensure that his wedding proceeds as planned. He has sent an anonymous letter to the Count warning that the Countess is planning a tryst with a lover. Additionally, Susanna is to agree to the Count’s proposition for an illicit encounter, but Figaro has arranged for Cherubino to be disguised as a girl and sent in Susanna’s stead. Susanna and the Countess dress Cherubino for the charade.

They are surprised by a knock on the door from the Count. Cherubino hides, locking himself in the closet. The jealous Count, angered by the anonymous letter, threatens to break into the closet, but when he and a reluctant Countess leave momentarily to obtain the necessary tools, Susanna takes Cherubino’s place in the closet. The page escapes, jumping out of the window. The Count and Countess return, and Susanna emerges from the closet. The Count begs forgiveness but defends his suspicions with the anonymous letter. The women admit the letter was fabricated by Figaro.

Figaro enters and denies knowing anything about the letter. Then Antonio, the gardener arrives, outraged that someone has jumped from the window into his flowers. As Susanna and the Countess discredit Antonio for being a drunkard, Figaro claims that it was he himself who jumped. With the Count’s suspicions renewed and confusion mounting, Marcellina arrives along with her cohorts and makes her claim for Figaro to either repay his debt to her or marry her.

Susanna and the Countess have created a new plan in which Susanna is to promise to meet the Count, but instead the Countess will go in disguise and reveal the Count’s infidelities. Susanna arranges the supposed rendezvous, but her efforts are nearly ruined when the Count overhears an exchange between her and Figaro. Don Curzio, the judge, oversees the trial between Marcellina and Figaro. Figaro claims that he cannot marry her because he requires his parents’ permission, and being an orphan, that is not possible. Figaro’s story of being kidnapped as an infant sounds familiar to Marcellina, and a birthmark on Figaro’s arm confirms that he is Marcellina’s long-lost son, the result of her affair with Doctor Bartolo. The proud parents embrace their son and their future daughter-in-law, and a double wedding is planned.

Meanwhile, Susanna and the Countess write a letter to the Count confirming the tryst that evening. They seal the letter with a pin. Barbarina and the village girls enter to bring flowers to the Countess. The Count and Antonio interrupt to reveal Cherubino dressed as a girl hiding amongst the crowd. Barbarina intercedes and convinces the Count to forgive Cherubino. Having found the page at last, the Count uses the opportunity to try to force Figaro into admitting what really happened in the Countess’s bedroom earlier in the day. The villagers begin the wedding procession. Before completing the ceremony, Susanna slips the Count the note sealed with the pin.

Act IV
Figaro and Marcellina happen upon Barbarina in the garden searching for the pin she was meant to return to Susanna as confirmation of the tryst. Barbarina naively reveals her mission, and an enraged Figaro swears revenge for what he believes is his bride’s unfaithfulness. Figaro engages Bartolo and Basilio as witnesses and hides himself in order to catch Susanna with the Count. Marcellina returns with the Countess and Susanna, warning them that Figaro is hiding nearby. Marcellina hides, and Susanna and the Countess exchange clothes. Susanna hides, and the Countess, dressed as Susanna, awaits the Count’s arrival. Instead, Cherubino comes. Finding the supposed Susanna, he propositions her until the Count interrupts. Cherubino hides. The Count makes advances towards “Susanna” until Figaro intercedes. The Count flees and the Countess hides. Susanna, still pretending to be the Countess, steps forward, and Figaro recognizes his wife’s voice. The plot becomes apparent to him, but he plays along for a moment, until Susanna reveals her true identity, and both are reconciled.

Figaro and Susanna (still dressed as the Countess) stage a love scene for the Count’s benefit. The jealous Count calls for help, and one by one, everyone is extracted from hiding. The Count points to the woman he believes has betrayed him, but the real Countess steps forward, removing her disguise and unveiling the entire charade. The Count, overcome with guilt, is forgiven by the Countess. All couples are happily restored, and go off to enjoy the wedding festivities.


Your artwork should meet the following specifications:

  • All submissions should be original art/illustrations.
  • The winning designer should be able to submit a layered file (.psd, eps, .ai) of the winning design.
  • Respect copyright. DO NOT submit copyrighted work, including images or promotional material from the show (e.g. no use of images from posters, advertisements or LA Opera’s website).
  • Do NOT use stock images or clip art.
  • Do NOT use photographs.
  • No profanity, vulgar or hate language
  • No nudity or explicit sexual language, images or graphics
  • Do NOT use the LA Opera logo
  • The artwork does NOT need to include the opera’s title.


  • Size: 8.375’ x 11.125” at a MINIMUM 300 dpi (but higher res/larger files are STRONGLY recommended, note that 0.125” bleed matter on each edge will be cut off.
  • Final trim size: 8.125” h x 10.875” vertical
  • Maximum file size for submission: 2mb, screen resolution, flattened .jpg.
  • NOTE: The winning designer must be able to submit a layered file (.psd, eps, .ai) of the winning design.


Once set into the layout of our program, the top 2 inches and bottom 2 inches will have print over the illustration, so your work should not have complicated material that would make our text illegible. The top and bottom 2 inch areas should not contain anything “important” in the illustration, since it would be partially covered. 


Winners will be asked to submit artwork as follows:

  • Minimum resolution – 600dpi for non-vector art
  • Accepted file formats: .jpg, jpeg, .tif, .tiff, .eps, .png
  • .TIFF (or .TIF) formats should be flattened
  • .EPS formats must have all type converted to vector paths (traced or outlined)
  • You must be able to submit a layered file (.psd, eps, .ai) of the winning design.
  • RGB colorspace only
  • Max file size is 60mb 

Eligibility: Students must be enrolled (full-time or part-time) in a Southern California college or university at the time of the submission deadline (EXTENDED! Monday, March 16 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time). You will be asked to provide proof of enrollment through an unofficial transcript or photo/copy of your student ID.
Employees of LA Opera and their immediate families are not eligible.

Copyright: The artist retains all copyrights to their artwork without exception.

Non-exclusive Permissions: By entering this art competition, you are granting LA Opera a non-exclusive perpetual license to reproduce images of your artwork in any context, including but not limited to the following: on the cover of our program, on our promotional video montages, on our blog and on our website in the marketing of future similar art competitions to the general public. Artwork will not be used for any other purpose than that which is stated here. All winning entries may be displayed on LA Opera’s website and social media channels. Each entry becomes part of the public, historical / archival LA Opera program.

Prize Payments: Cash prizes will be awarded at the Cast Supper following the opening night performance. In the event the winner cannot attend, a check will be mailed to the winner within 14 days of the opening night performance.

Taxes: Winners shall be solely responsible for all federal, state, and local taxes.


Is there a fee to enter the contest?
No – contest submissions are free. There is no fee to enter.

Can I submit more than one entry?
Yes – you can submit more than one piece, but winners can only win one of the prizes, so we recommend you send us your favorite.

Do I have to include the singers/principal cast?
No – there’s no need to include the cast members. When our teams design, it’s often before we are ready to confirm the cast. Get creative…we want to see how you solve the challenge.

Can I observe a rehearsal to get a better sense of it?
No – unfortunately, rehearsals for the show don’t begin until long after our production timelines. For each show, our own artists have to conceive artwork before they see the staged piece. They receive the brief, much like the details outlined in the contest blog and have to conceive their artwork from there.

Can I create artwork as a painting or does it have to be a digital illustration?
Yes – You can create your art in any medium you want to use. However, your piece must be submitted as a digital piece and comply with the specs outlined above. And digital illustrations are welcome too.

Do you have to be a student to submit an entry?
Yes – this contest is only for students enrolled in a program at the time of the entry deadline.

Have additional questions? Send an e-mail to