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Press Released: 06 Aug 2008

OPERA America Announces 2008 Opera Fund Grant Guidelines and Launches New Director-Designer Showcase

$200,000 in Grants to Be Distributed

OPERA America , the national service organization for opera, announces new guidelines for 2008 Opera Fund applications which are now being accepted online through the association’s Web site.

The Opera Fund, which provides technical and financial support to OPERA America Professional Company Members, is operated in collaboration with Opera.ca’s Canadian Opera Creation Fund to enhance the quality, quantity and creativity of North American opera and music-theater works. The goals of the program are to: Enhance the vitality of opera and music-theater in North America through the creation and production of new works; Develop a deeper and broader appreciation on the part of the general public for opera and music-theater companies; and Encourage creative artists who will write and interpret new works.

As a core tenet of OPERA America ’s mission to support North American works, The Opera Fund and its precursor funding programs have awarded $10.4 million in grants to companies throughout the U.S. and Canada since 1983. Past recipients of Opera Fund awards include such highly-acclaimed works as John Adams and Peter Sellars’s Doctor Atomic, Richard Danielpour and Toni Morrison’s Margaret Garner, Jake Heggie and Leonard Foglia’s The End of the Affair, Osvaldo Golijov and David Henry Hwang’s Ainadamar, Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie’s The Grapes of Wrath and Thomas Pasatieri and Frank Corsaro’s Frau Margot.

The Opera Fund supports three areas: Repertoire Development — production of new operas; Audience Development — building appreciation of American works; and Artist Development — support of artists who create and interpret repertoire.

For 2008, in addition to Audience Development, OPERA America proudly adds the first funding component of the Artist Development category: Director-Designer Showcase to identify and support emerging talent.

Director-Designer Showcase
The Director-Designer Showcase will bring new talent to the forefront by introducing promising directors and designers to the opera companies who are in the position to engage them.

OPERA America will accept applications from director-driven teams of artists that have created a production proposal for one of ten American operas pre-selected by a committee of OPERA America members. Each proposal must include a written production concept including an explanation of the staging as well as ideas and initial research for scenery, props and costumes, personnel and suggestions for adaptations and/or editing, if any. A number of finalist team presentations will be selected by a panel of peers and producers. In late April 2009, up to two representatives from each finalist team will be flown at OPERA America ’s expense to the Opera Conference 2009 in Houston, TX , to present their proposals to general and artistic directors at a special session. This Showcase is open to emerging opera/theater artists, regardless of their membership status with OPERA America.

The majority of the Director-Designer Showcase team must be U.S. citizens. For complete guidelines go to http://www.operaamerica.org/Content/Artists/dirdescompetition.aspx

Audience Development Grants
Audience Development grants offer financial assistance to OPERA America Professional Company Members (PCMs) and their partners to plan and implement specific activities that strengthen relationships among audiences, the art form and the opera company. These grants assist companies with efforts that develop and create new and diverse audiences, deepen their understanding and appreciation of the work being presented while increasing the participation of audiences in a company’s activities such as the volunteer corps and donor groups, or through active support for the company and recognition of its value in the community.

All proposed activities must be undertaken in conjunction with the creation and/or production of a new or existing American work. Two types of Audience Development Awards are available. Design Awards offer support for the planning of a project, and Project Awards assist in the implementation of the proposed projects. These awards range
up to $5,000 for Design Awards; and up to $25,000 for Project Awards.

Detailed criteria and deadlines for both types of awards are at: http://www.operaamerica.org/Content/About/operaFund.aspx

“New works are essential to every art form — opera is no exception,” stated Marc A. Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America . “The number of North American works being staged across the U.S. and Canada , especially world premieres, has increased dramatically in recent years and The Opera Fund has played a key role. Throughout this exciting development the search for new creativity has been intense. With the launch of the Director-Designer Showcase, OPERA America will be a force in this arena as well — ushering new talent into the spotlight for the opera field from coast to coast.”

The Opera Fund is a permanent endowment which allows OPERA America to make a direct impact on the ongoing creation and presentation of new opera and music-theater works. The Fund, launched with support from The National Endowment for the Arts in 2001, has been supported thus far by the Helen F. Whitaker Fund, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Canada Council for the Arts, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James S. and John L. Knight Foundation, The George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation, Lee Day Gillespie and Lloyd and Mary Ann Gerlach.


For more information on OPERA America, visit About Us.

For press inquiries, contact Press@operaamerica.org or 212.796.8628.