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Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
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To Promote the Expansion and Growth of the Art Form:
OPERA America and American Opera

Kelley Rourke
Opera America Magazine

When 17 opera companies came together to create OPERA America in 1970, they articulated a number of goals toward the advancement of the opera. However, it was not until the 1980s that field-wide momentum began to gather around new work.

In 1979, members voted to include a Composer-Librettist Showcase in conjunction with the organization’s annual conference. The first showcase took place in New Orleans in 1981. Fifty-two works were submitted for consideration; seven were chosen for concert presentation, followed by a discussion with composers, librettists and producers. A 144-page volume was published to accompany the showcase and seminar; in addition to a catalog of all the nominated works, it included essays on the state of contemporary opera production. The conversation had begun.

In the years that followed, OPERA America led several initiatives to promote the expansion and growth of the art form. Three landmark regranting programs lessened the financial risk and encouraged companies to add commissions or subsequent productions of American work to their seasons. The success of these programs eventually led to the creation of The Opera Fund, a growing permanent endowment dedicated to enhancing the quality, quantity and creativity of new opera and music-theater. The Opera Fund and its precursor programs have awarded nearly $11 million in funds to companies throughout North America in support of their efforts to expand and enrich the repertoire.

Fall 2014 Magazine Issue
  • Are Women Different?
  • Preparing for Klinghoffer
  • Emerging Artists: Act One

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From 42nd Street/Times Square:
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The building is on the same block as the train stop.

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