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Press Released: 24 May 2019

Call for IDEA Opera Grants Applications — Composers and Librettists of Color

OPERA America’s IDEA Opera Grants (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) Now Accepting Applications

Generously supported by the Charles and Cerise Jacobs Charitable Foundation

OPERA America, the national service organization for opera and the nation's leading champion for American opera, is pleased to announce the official launch of its newest grant program: IDEA Opera Grants (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access).

OPERA America believes that different perspectives, cultural histories, life experiences and personal stories enrich the operatic repertoire. It is committed to supporting creators who reflect the diversity of the nation.

Two grants will be awarded to composer-librettist teams that identify as African, Latinx, Arab, Asian or Native American and have U.S. citizenship, permanent residence or DACA status. Applicants must be able to demonstrate their ability to create theatrical works for the trained voice and instrumental ensemble.

Each winning team will receive up to $12,500 to advance their work through workshops, readings or other developmental activities. Grantees will also receive a high-quality video portrait of the team and their work for promotional use. OPERA America will provide complimentary registration, travel and housing to attend a New Works Forum and Opera Conference, where grantees will be able to discuss their work with industry leaders. Finally, the winners will be featured on OPERA America’s digital and social platforms and in Opera America Magazine.

“OPERA America is uniquely positioned as the field’s convener and connector to advance the careers of the most talented creative artists,” declared Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “IDEA Opera Grants enable us to identify and support the development of new works by emerging composers and librettists of color. By facilitating their work, we will help enrich the art form with new creative voices.”

Application materials are now available at operaamerica.org/Grants. Letters of intent must be submitted by July 29, 2019, with full applications due by September 9, 2019. Applications will be adjudicated in October 2019, and recipients will be notified later that month.

The IDEA Opera Grants program is made possible through the generosity of the Charles and Cerise Jacobs Charitable Foundation, a family foundation committed to promoting equal rights and social justice through education, music and the law.

“We entrusted OPERA America with shepherding this grant because of its unique position in the opera world and its commitment to diversity,” Cerise Jacobs, president of the foundation, explained. “Creators of color have had little access to ‘mainstream’ opera companies and we are determined to rectify this. We hope the IDEA Opera Grants will be a catalyst for exciting and different stories, soundscapes and perspectives.”

IDEA Opera Grants are the most recent addition to OPERA America’s grant programs designed to increase the depth and breadth of the contemporary American opera repertoire. Launched in 2013, the organization’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program has awarded nearly $1 million to composers and opera companies to promote the development of works by women and raise the visibility of women writing for the operatic medium. Since the inception of its granting programs, OPERA America has awarded more than $19 million to the opera field to support the work of opera creators, companies and administrators.

More information about OPERA America’s grant programs is available at operaamerica.org/Grants.


For more information on OPERA America, visit About Us.

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