Press Published: 09 May 2022

OPERA America Awards Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors

Generously supported by the Marineau Family Foundation.

OPERA America is pleased to announce the second round recipients of the 2022 Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors. The program incentivizes companies to hire women in these key artistic roles. These hires enrich the production and performance of new operas and works from the inherited repertoire; introduce audiences to the talent and insight of new artists; and inspire future generations of creative artists who identify as women. The initiative is generously supported by the Marineau Family Foundation.

Grants were awarded to four opera companies: The Glimmerglass Festival (Cooperstown, NY), Houston Grand Opera (Houston, TX), Pocket Opera (San Francisco, CA), and Opera Saratoga (Saratoga Springs, NY).

The grants support company debuts by the following artists:

  • Chloe Treat, who will direct Holy Ground (Damien Geter, composer; Lila Palmer, librettist) at The Glimmerglass Festival.

  • Louisa Muller, who will direct The Wreckers (Dame Ethel Smyth, composer; Henry Brewster, librettist) at Houston Grand Opera.

  • Margo Hall, who will direct A Pocket Magic Flute (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer; Donald Pippen, librettist) at Pocket Opera.

  • Emily Senturia, who will conduct Sky on Swings (Lembit Beecher, composer; Hannah Moscovitch, librettist) at Opera Saratoga.

(See below for additional information about the artists.)

Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors open doors for emerging women artists in an effort to improve gender parity in the field. Currently, women make up fewer than 30 percent of stage directors and 15 percent of the conductors working on American opera productions. “So often in this industry, you amass the experience, but have trouble breaking into work at larger theaters,” attested Chloe Treat, The Glimmerglass Opera’s grant-funded director. “Someone has to gamble on you first.”

“By providing financial support to opera companies, the Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors program encourages opera companies to work with emerging artists and give them their chance to break through,” remarked Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America.

OPERA America’s Professional Company Members are eligible to apply for grants to subsidize up to 50 percent (up to $10,000) of the fees for women stage directors or conductors who are contracted for the first time by the companies in these positions. Grants are awarded in two semiannual rounds. The four companies supported by these grants join nine others announced in January 2022.

The Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors program is one of OPERA America’s resources aimed at increasing gender parity across the field. Other initiatives include the Opera Grants for Women Composers program, Mentorship Program for Women Administrators, and Women’s Opera Network. Since the inception of its granting programs in the mid-1980s, OPERA America has awarded over $20 million to the opera field to support the work of opera creators, administrators, and companies.

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

About the Recipients

The Glimmerglass Festival

Chloe Treat, director
Holy Ground by Damien Geter, composer;
Lila Palmer, librettist

Chloe Treat is a New York-based director and choreographer originally from Texas. Her theater work includes productions at Heartbeat Opera, Polyphone, Hangar Theatre, 54 Below, Mannes Opera, Manhattan School of Music, and Indiana University. Treat has choreographed for the Santa Fe Opera, HERE Arts Center, Yale School of Drama, and Chicago Opera Theater, among other companies. She was an associate for several theaters, including American Repertory Theater, The Public Theater, and Manhattan Theatre Club, and for Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway.

Houston Grand Opera

Louisa Muller, director
The Wreckers by Dame Ethel Smyth, composer; Henry Brewster, librettist

Louisa Muller recently made her debut with Garsington Opera directing a new production of The Turn of the Screw that, for its premiere, The Guardian named one of the UK’s Top Ten Classical Music Events of the Year and was awarded a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. She was also a nominee in the “Newcomer” category of the prestigious International Opera Awards. Her upcoming engagements include new productions of The Wreckers for Houston Grand Opera, Rinaldo with Pinchgut Opera, and titles to be announced with the Santa Fe Opera and Garsington Opera, as well as Ernani with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Among her recent triumphs on the stage are new productions of Amadigi di Gaula (Boston Baroque, to be revived next season for Philharmonia Baroque), The Rake’s Progress (The Juilliard School), and four titles with Wolf Trap Opera, as well as semi-stagings of Das Rheingold (New York Philharmonic) and Ariadne auf Naxos (Edinburgh International Festival). She has also directed productions at the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grand Theâtre de Genéve, Minnesota Opera, Opera Colorado, and Opera Queensland.

Pocket Opera

Margo Hall, director
The Magic Flute, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer; Donald Pippen, librettist

Margo Hall is an award-winning actor, director, playwright, and educator who serves as artistic director of Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. She was recently awarded the 2021 Kenneth Rainin Fellowship in Theater and listed as one of the YBCA 100 honorees. Hall’s film credits include Leslie White in All Day and a Night, Nancy in Blindspotting, and the voice of Melba in Pixar’s Soul. She made her theater directing debut with the world premiere of Joyride, which was the Bay Area Critics Circle Winner for Best Original Script. She and Ellen Chang co-directed Bulrusher, a Pulitzer Prize finalist play by Eisa Davis. For Chabot College, Hall directed Once on This Island, Hamlet, Ragtime, and A Streetcar Named Desire, among others. In 2013 at Z Space, she premiered her semi-biographical piece, Be Bop Baby, a Musical Memoir, with lyrics and book by Hall and music by Marcus Shelby; the play chronicles her life growing up in Detroit with her jazz musician stepfather, who was with Motown.

Opera Saratoga

Emily Senturia, conductor
Sky on Swings by Lembit Beecher, composer; Hannah Moscovitch, librettist

In 2022, conductor Emily Senturia makes debuts at Opera Santa Barbara (Semele), Florida Grand Opera (Fellow Travelers), Opera Saratoga (Sky on Swings), New Orleans Opera (Il barbiere di Siviglia), and Minnesota Opera (Rinaldo). Senturia made mainstage conducting debuts with Houston Grand Opera and Washington National Opera in 2018, both with Il barbiere di Siviglia. Recently she has conducted La clemenza di Tito with Opera Steamboat, La traviata and The Tragedy of Carmen with Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre, Ariadne auf Naxos with Wolf Trap Opera, and Fellow Travelers with Boston Lyric Opera. She music directed the world premiere of Denis & Katya at Opera Philadelphia’s O19 Festival and has been on the music staff at Houston Grand Opera, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, The Atlanta Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, and Opera Philadelphia. Senturia is an alum of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Wolf Trap, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Royal Academy of Music. She studied orchestral conducting at Boston University and violin at Rice University.

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