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 first-round recipients of the 2023 Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors. The program incentivizes professional opera companies of all sizes to engage women in these key artistic roles. These hires enrich the production and performance of new operas and works from the inherited repertoire and inspire future generations of creative artists who identify as women. The initiative is generously supported by the Marineau Family Foundation.
Eight grants were awarded to nine opera companies that are advancing the careers of women artists:
- Boston Baroque (Boston, MA)
- Heartbeat Opera (New York, NY)
- HERE (New York, NY)
- Houston Grand Opera (Houston, TX)
- Los Angeles Opera (Los Angeles, CA)
- Opera Baltimore (Baltimore, MD) and OperaDelaware (Wilmington, DE)
- Opera Birmingham (Birmingham, AL)
- Utah Symphony | Utah Opera (Salt Lake City, UT)
Respectively, the grants support company debuts by the following stage directors and conductors:
- Mo Zhou, who will direct Iphigénie en Tauride (Christoph Willibald Gluck, composer; Nicolas-François Guillard, librettist) at Boston Baroque
- Shadi G., who will direct Tosca (Giacomo Puccini, composer; Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, librettists) at Heartbeat Opera
- Tara Ahmadinejad, who will direct mɔɹniŋ (morning//mourning) (Gelsey Bell, composer/librettist) at HERE
- Emily Wells, who will direct Another City (Jeremy Howard Beck, composer; Stephanie Fleischman, librettist) at Houston Grand Opera
- Leah Hausman, who will direct Pelléas et Mélisande (Claude Debussy, composer; Debussy and Maurice Maeterlinck, librettists) at Los Angeles Opera
- Kaley Karis Smith, who will direct La traviata (Giuseppe Verdi, composer; Francesco Maria Piave, librettist) at Opera Baltimore and OperaDelaware
- Aija Penix, who will direct dwb (driving while black) (Susan Kander, composer; Roberta Gumbel, librettist) at Opera Birmingham
- Stephanie Rhodes Russell, who will conduct La fille du régiment (Gaetano Donizetti, composer; Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean-François Bayard, librettists) at Utah Symphony | Utah Opera
(See below for additional information about the artists.)
“The eight directors and conductors supported by this grant enrich the opera landscape with their talent and vision,” remarked Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors provide the opportunity for new voices to shape productions across the country.”
Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors open doors for women artists in an effort to improve gender parity in the field. 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 second round of awardees will be announced in summer 2023.
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 its Opera Grants for Women Composers, 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 $23 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.