OPERA America Announces Recipients of Repertoire Development Grants
Seven Companies Receive a Total of $220,000 To Develop New American Operas
OPERA America has awarded $220,000 in Repertoire Development Grants to The American Opera Project (New York, NY) in consortium with Seagle Music Colony (Schroon Lake, NY), Beth Morrison Projects (New York, NY), Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Diego Opera and The Dallas Opera. The grants provide technical and financial support to OPERA America Professional Company Members and their producing partners to enhance the quality, quantity and creativity of new American opera and music theater.
Recipients of the Repertoire Development Grants were selected from among 34 applications by a panel of industry leaders consisting of Jane Cho, director of administration, Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College; Jamil Jude, stage director and producer; Jimmy López Bellido, composer; Jim Lowe, conductor; and Caroline Worra, singer.
Repertoire Development Grants allow creators and producers to assess and refine works-in-progress. The grants may be used to offset creative fees and other costs associated with the development of a new opera or music-theater work, including lab productions, workshops, readings and revisions.
“Fostering the creation of new works is a cornerstone of OPERA America's mission, and we've seen a remarkable flowering of new American opera over recent decades,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “Since the year 2000, we’ve seen the premiere of over 700 North American operas. American works account for 18 percent of all productions in the 2019–2020 season."
The grants are made possible through OPERA America’s Opera Fund, an endowment dedicated to supporting the creation and production of new work. Since its inception, the Opera Fund has supported the development of 79 new works, including Akhnaten by Philip Glass, which recently sold out a run at the Metropolitan Opera, demonstrating the vitality of modern American opera.
The Opera Fund has helped to support new classics like Nixon in China (John Adams/Alice Goodman), Little Women (Mark Adamo) and Moby-Dick (Jake Heggie/Gene Scheer). Three operas that premiered in 2019 and resonate powerfully with contemporary issues received Opera Fund grants: Blue (Jeanine Tesori/Tazewell Thompson), The Central Park Five (Anthony Davis/Richard Wesley) and Fire Shut Up in My Bones (Terence
Blanchard/Kasi Lemmons). Fellow Travelers (Gregory Spears/Greg Pierce) and As One (Laura Kaminsky/Mark Campbell/Kimberly Reed) are two of the most performed American operas in recent seasons and explore the issues of sexual orientation and gender identity; both were supported by OPERA America grants.
The Opera Fund was launched with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, and it is funded by the Helen F. Whitaker Fund, Lee Day Gillespie, Lloyd and Mary Ann Gerlach, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Since the inception of its granting programs, OPERA America has awarded $20 million to the opera field to support the work of opera creators, companies and administrators. The next round of Repertoire Development Grants will open in summer 2021. More information about OPERA America’s grant programs is available at operaamerica.org/Grants.