OPERA America Awards the 2023 IDEA Opera Residencies to Three New-to-Opera Creators of Color
Generously supported by the Katherine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund of The Scherman Foundation
OPERA America is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 IDEA Opera Residencies program (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access), an initiative that provides New York City-based composers and librettists of color an opportunity to explore opera as an expressive medium.
The three-year program was established in 2021 with support from the Katherine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund of The Scherman Foundation. The third cohort of IDEA Opera Resident Artists are:
- Amir ElSaffar, composer
- Kendell Pinkney, librettist
- Paul Pinto, composer/librettist
See below for profiles of the artists.
Each IDEA Opera Resident Artist will receive a one-year residency at OPERA America’s National Opera Center and awards totaling $25,000, including grants for the exploration of opera as an artistic medium, career and promotional support, and facility and recording services. In addition, they will receive mentorship and coaching from industry leaders, introductions to the field through Opera America Magazine and OPERA America’s digital platforms, and participation at national convenings including the Opera Conference and New Works Forum.
Launched in 2021, the IDEA Opera Residencies are part of a series of programs designed by OPERA America to embrace the talent of BIPOC creators who have not been included adequately in the development of the contemporary American opera repertoire. The IDEA Opera Residencies program is designed to allow Resident Artists the greatest flexibility possible to advance their careers through opera.
2023 Resident Artist Amir ElSaffar shared that “for years, [he has] been dreaming of composing an opera in Arabic … presenting the poetry, themes, and musical language of a culture that has received little representation in the opera world.” The IDEA Opera Residency program will give him the “opportunity to begin manifesting this work.”
“The IDEA Opera Residencies encourage creators of color who are new to opera to expand their artistry,” shared Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “The opera field is enriched by these brave explorations as they bring new life to the art form.”
The 2023 grantees were selected by an independent adjudication panel of industry experts consisting of J. Mae Barizo, librettist; Duke Dang, general manager, Works & Process, Guggenheim; Nedra Dixon, librettist; Lizabeth Malanga, soprano, and senior director of administration, Boston Lyric Opera; and Niloufar Nourbakhsh, composer.
OPERA America is committed to advancing racial equity in the opera field. In addition to the IDEA Opera Residencies, the organization offers IDEA Opera Grants and the Mentorship Program for Opera Leaders of Color.
Visit Grants & Awards for more information about OPERA America’s grant programs.