OPERA America’s Innovation Grants support vibrant Professional Company Members in implementing innovative projects in opera’s most important areas of practice, including artistic vitality, audience experience, organizational effectiveness and community connections. This work is made possible with deeply appreciated funding from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

Opera is uniquely positioned to make use of its multidisciplinary assets, rich traditions and collaborative nature. The field has reason to celebrate its recent collective successes in new work development that have given voice to universal and timely issues, audience-building activities that have opened new opportunities for participation, and partnerships that have increased opera’s visibility and impact in coordination with other sectors. These challenges and successes inform OPERA America’s ongoing investment in innovation, adaptation, refinement of practice and cycle of learning.
OBSERVATIONS FROM THE FIELD
Five primary areas of learning were identified through the 2017 grant projects.
  • Audience Experience
  • Civic Engagement
  • Creative and Artistic Exploration
  • Pipeline Expansion
  • Process and Operations
Examples of projects in these areas and observations reported are available by clicking on these images
TOOLKIT
Innovative program development and assessment require tools not typically used by opera companies. New resources gathered through the Innovation Grant program include:

ALL-ACCESS OPERA
Courtesy of Nashville Opera
Learn more about the ALL-ACCESS OPERA toolkit. This toolkit helps users create special, modified opera performances that bolster accessibility for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other learning differences.

Collaborative Partnership Evaluation
This tool is one way of evaluating effective partnerships though assessing three steps: the preparation for partnership, the partnership process, and partnership impacts and outcomes.

Observational Demographic Reporting
Courtesy of Opera Memphis
This tool can be used to create consistent documentation of audience demographics and responses through observation rather than data collection.

Evaluation Toolkit
Courtesy of Michigan Opera Theatre
Michigan Opera Theatre aims to develop the organization’s capacity to monitor and evaluate its programs. This toolkit, still in development, includes 1) an overview of evaluation types and methods and 2) sample evaluation tools and rubrics to assess outcomes.


INSIGHTS
Discover how Innovation projects are transforming companies through these video interviews:
  • Annie Burridge describes Austin Opera’s staff expansion to redefine the audience experience.
  • Christopher Powell shares how The Glimmerglass Festival’s partnership with WFMT strengthened the company's connection to social justice topics.
  • Rebecca Hass shares how Pacific Opera Victoria has built meaningful relationships with the city's diverse community.

APPLY FOR FUNDING
For more information on OPERA America's Innovation Grant opportunity, please click here.

QUESTIONS?
Contact Laura Lee Everett, chief programs officer, at LEverett@operaamerica.org or 212.796.8625.
GRANT RECIPIENTS
Over $3.5 million has been awarded since the inception of the program in 2017 to the 41 companies listed below.
OPERA America encourages peer-to-peer learning through the Innovation Grant program.

American Lyric Theater
• The Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP)

American Opera Projects
• Training program for music theater grad students in composing opera for diverse audiences*
• PHASE 2: Standardize training program for expansion of use*

Anchorage Opera
As One and Impact*
• AK Internment*

Arizona Opera Company
• Arizona Bold 2.0

The Atlanta Opera
Sensorium Ex*

Austin Opera
• Director of Audience Experience

Beth Morrison Projects
• Next Generation

Central City Opera
• Central City Opera Presents

The Dallas Opera
• Community Connections via the American Premiere of Michel van der Aa's Sunken Garden*
• The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors

Fargo-Moorhead Opera
• North of Normal

Florentine Opera Company
• The Carlisle Floyd Recording Initiative

Glimmerglass Festival
• Breaking Glass: Hyper-Linking Opera & Issues

Haymarket Opera Company
• Opera and Oratorio for Persons with Low Vision

HERE
• PROTOTYPE: Out of Bounds (OoB)

Houston Grand Opera Association
• Seeking the Human Spirit

Michigan Opera Theatre
• Evaluating Community Engagement*

Minnesota Opera
• Audience Engagement Initiative

Nashville Opera
• All-Access Opera Education*

Nautilus Music-Theater
• The Nautilus Genome Project: Preparing for the next iteration*

New Orleans Opera
• Creative Connections: Opera, Jazz and the Cultural History of New Orleans

On Site Opera
Amahl and the Night Visitors*

Opera Columbus
• The Poppea Project

Opéra de Montréal
• Exploring partnerships with academia and the tech world to improve patron experience

Opera in the Heights/Pacific Opera Projects
• A collaborative Madama Butterfly*

Opera Maine
• An Opera is Born of Our Community*

Opera Memphis
• Friends of Madame McCleave*
• The McCleave Project Phase 2*

Opera North
• Opera North at Blow-Me-Down Farm: New Audience Experience Initiative

Opera Omaha
• Holland Community Opera Fellowship

Opera on Tap
• The Immersive Opera Project*

Opera Philadelphia
• O17 Festival*
Ne Quittez Pas: A Reimagined La voix humaine*

Opera San Luis Obispo
• Opera San Luis Obispo Mobile Opera House*

Opera Saratoga
• Opera in Motion*

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
• Opera Equity Initiative

Pacific Opera Victoria
• The Co|Opera|tive: Using opera to create a platform for community dialogue

Pittsburgh Opera
• Opera Audio Guide - Inside Track

San Diego Opera
• Opera Hack

San Francisco Opera
• SFO+

The Santa Fe Opera
• Opera for All Voices: Stories of our Time

Seattle Opera
• Opera Up Close*

Tulsa Opera
• Raise Your Voice!*

*One-year grants
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