For Immediate Release
Contact: Patricia Kiernan Johnson; PKJohnson@operaamerica.org
www.operaamerica.org


For NEA: Victoria Hutter, 202-682-5692, hutterv@arts.gov




NATIONAL OPERA WEEK: October 28 – November 6, 2011


Fun, free activities to be presented by organizations nationwide
www.operaamerica.org/operaweek


Dozens of opera companies, schools and organizations in 29 states across the nation will celebrate the third NATIONAL OPERA WEEK from October 28 – November 6, 2011 by offering free, accessible events to their communities. National Opera Week is coordinated by OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, with support of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

National Opera Week celebrates the vibrancy of opera in America today and brings the inventiveness and excitement of opera to a national audience. The strength and diversity of established opera companies, community opera ensembles and opera training programs across the United States will be on display through free, dynamic activities designed to engage novices, opera lovers and everyone in between. National Opera Week activities include flash opera events, open houses, online activities, lecture/demonstrations and community performances.

Launching National Opera Week will be the NEA Opera Honors award ceremony on Thursday, October 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Washington, D.C. For the first time, this event will be available worldwide through a live webcast that also will be archived after the event and can be accessed at neaoperahonors.org. The NEA Opera Honors is the nation’s highest award in opera and recognizes outstanding artists for their lifetime achievements and contributions to the excellence and perpetuation of opera in America. This year’s honorees are stage designer John Conklin, general director Speight Jenkins, mezzo-soprano Risë Stevens and composer Robert Ward. The October 27 award ceremony and live webcast will feature video tributes, guest performances from artists such as tenor Lawrence Brownlee and mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson and an onstage conversation with the honorees. For additional information, visit neaoperahonors.org.

“From behind-the-scenes tours to enlightening performance talks to Twitter contests and more, there is something for everyone during National Opera Week,” states Marc A. Scorca, president & CEO of OPERA America. “National Opera Week draws attention to the creativity and dynamism that propels our field today. We are proud to highlight this depth of opera activity across the United States.”

Noteworthy National Opera Week events include a hands-on opera workshop for senior citizens by the University of Alabama, an opera scavenger hunt by Chicago Opera Theater and tours of the Utah Opera production studios.

For a full listing of National Opera Week activities, please visit www.operaamerica.org/operaweek. On Twitter, join @OperaAmerica in the National Opera Week conversation with #OperaWeek. On Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/nationaloperaweek.

Attachments:
  • Examples of National Opera Week programming
  • List of companies/organizations and states participating

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About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.

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ABOUT OPERA AMERICA

OPERA America leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera.

  • Artistic services help opera companies and creative and performing artists to improve the quality of productions and increase the creation and presentation of North American works.
  • Information, technical, and administrative services to opera companies reflect the need for strengthened leadership among staff, trustees and volunteers.
  • Education, audience development and community services are designed to enhance all forms of opera appreciation.

Founded in 1970, OPERA America’s worldwide membership network includes nearly 200 Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and more than 16,000 subscribers to the association’s electronic news service. In 2005, OPERA America relocated from Washington, D.C. to New York as the first step in creating the first-ever National Opera Center. With a wide range of artistic and administrative services in a purpose-built facility, the Opera Center is dedicated to increasing the level of excellence, creativity and effectiveness across the field.

OPERA America’s long tradition of supporting and nurturing the creation and development of new works led to the formation of The Opera Fund, a growing endowment which allows OPERA America to make a direct impact on the ongoing creation and presentation of new opera and music-theater works. Since its inception, OPERA America has made grants of nearly $11 million to assist companies with the expenses associated with the creation and development of new works.