Women Take Opera’s Center Stage
OPERA America Announces Projects to Advance the Work of Female Composers and Administrators
Opera Grants for Female Composers
$100,000 Awarded to Eight Composers to Fund Work Development
World Premiere of Fierce Grace: Jeannette Rankin
A song cycle about the first woman elected to Congress
Composed by Kitty Brazelton, Laura Kaminsky, Laura Karpman and Ellen Reid; text by Kimberly Reed
Women’s Opera Network Backstage Brunch
Over $15,000 Raised for Pilot Mentorship Program for Administrators
OPERA America, the national service organization for opera and the nation's leading champion for American opera, announces a series of special initiatives to advance and highlight the work of women in opera. These programs are emblematic of OPERA America’s deep commitment to achieving gender equity in the field.
Among these initiatives are the granting of $100,000 to female composers to further their work (Opera Grants for Female Composers), a song cycle commissioned from four female composers and a female librettist about the first woman elected to Congress (Fierce Grace: Jeannette Rankin) and an event raising more than $15,000 to help fund a new mentorship program for female opera administrators (Backstage Brunch).
Opera Grants for Female Composers: Discovery Grants
OPERA America is pleased to announce the composers who have received Discovery Grants from its Opera Grants for Female Composers program, which is made possible through the generosity of the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. From among 81 applicants, an independent panel of adjudicators selected eight composers to receive a total of $100,000 to support the development of their opera compositions.
The recipients of Discovery Grants are:
- Faye Chiao for Island of the Moon
- Ellen Fishman for Marie Begins
- Grace Oberhofer for ICONS/IDOLS
- Tawnie Olson for Sanctuary and Storm (working title)
- Frances Pollock for Stinney: An American Execution
- Kate Soper for The Romance of the Rose
- Dalit Warshaw for Delusion of Grandeur
- Cynthia Lee Wong for No Guarantees.
See below for additional information about the composers and their works.
Over the past 30 years, OPERA America has awarded more than $13 million to Professional Company Members in support of new American operas. However, fewer than five percent of the organization’s grants supporting repertoire development have been awarded to works by female composers. Launched in December 2013, Opera Grants for Female Composers provide support for the development of new operas by women, both directly to individual composers (Discovery Grants) and to opera companies producing their work (Commissioning Grants), advancing the important objective to increase diversity across the field.
Discovery Grants aim to identify and support the work of female composers writing operas, raising their visibility and promoting awareness of their compositions. In addition to receiving financial assistance, grant recipients will be introduced to leaders in the field through Opera America magazine and future New Works Forum meetings and annual conferences.
The independent panel of adjudicators for these Discovery Grants included conductor David Bloom, composer Kitty Brazelton, vocalist Katherine Ciesinski, composer Conrad Cummings, director Leonard Foglia and librettist Mac Wellman.
Since the Opera Grants for Female Composers program was announced in December 2013, a total of $600,000 has been awarded to the following composers and opera companies in support of works by women.