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Press Released: 01 May 2024

OPERA America Announces $195,000 in Awards for NYC Opera Grants: Support for Small-Budget Companies

Supported by the Howard Gilman Foundation

OPERA America is pleased to announce the recipients of the new NYC Opera Grants: Support for Small-Budget Companies. This granting initiative aims to provide flexible operating support to help small New York City opera companies innovate, produce, and engage audiences and their communities.

A total of $195,000 has been awarded to 10 opera companies across the city. The recipients of the grants are:

  • Amanda + James (Manhattan)
  • Association for the Development of Vocal Artistry and Neighborhood Cultural Enrichment (Manhattan)
  • Experiments in Opera (Brooklyn)
  • Harlem Opera Theater (Manhattan)
  • International Brazilian Opera Company (Manhattan)
  • The Lighthouse Opera Company (Bronx)
  • New Music Theatre Project (Brooklyn)
  • Opera Ebony (Manhattan)
  • Opera Hispánica (Manhattan)
  • Opera Praktikos (Manhattan)

NYC Opera Grants, made possible with the generous support of the Howard Gilman Foundation, provide two-year funding ranging from $10,000–$30,000 toward a specific project or strategic area such as marketing, fundraising, or production. In addition to the monetary grants, recipient companies will have the opportunity to engage in peer learning groups, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange among grantee organizations with similar objectives.

The grantees were selected for their distinct contributions to New York City’s opera ecosystem, the demographic alignment of their leadership, programming, and audiences, and the potential that a grant would have lasting impact on the organization. Funded projects include a wide array of endeavors, including commissioning and developing new works, covering operational expenses, and implementing marketing initiatives.

“New York City boasts a vibrant opera scene teeming with innovative companies pushing boundaries,” said Kristal Pacific, program officer of the Howard Gilman Foundation. “Most New York City opera organizations operate on budgets under $250,000, yet they consistently deliver fresh ideas and productions that keep the art form vital. The Howard Gilman Foundation is proud to partner with OPERA America to support these artistic powerhouses to ensure a sustainable and continuously evolving opera landscape.”

“The New York City opera community is vital to the cultural fabric of this city and the larger opera ecosystem,” said Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “With the NYC Opera Grants, and the partnership of the Howard Gilman Foundation, we are able to nurture the growth of these companies and amplify their impact on audiences.”

Over 30 applications were received this winter, with financial requests totaling over $800,000. The applications were reviewed by a panel of experts including Courtenay Casey, former executive director, American Modern Opera Company; Kelvin Chan, founding general director, Vital Opera; Christian De Gré Cárdenas, executive director, Heartbeat Opera, and managing director, Latiné Musical Theater Lab; Piper Gunnarson, general director/CEO, On Site Opera; and Jaime Sharp, program manager, Grantmakers in the Arts.

The Howard Gilman Foundation is a private foundation that provides funding and support to New York City-based performing arts organizations that are reflective of the city’s vibrant cultural community.

NYC Opera Grants: Support for Small-Budget Companies are available to organizations that engage primarily with opera in the five boroughs of New York City. They are part of OPERA America’s slate of strategic philanthropy that supports field-wide innovation with an emphasis on new work development, co-production, audience building, and increased civic practice. Since the inception of its granting programs, OPERA America has awarded over $23 million to the opera field to support the work of opera creators, administrators, and companies.

For more information about NYC Opera Grants, visit NYC Opera Grants.

For more information about OPERA America’s grant programs, visit Grants & Awards.

About the Recipients


Amanda+James is a New York-based nonprofit arts production company dedicated to producing the work of young artists. They provide a space for the community to follow creative impulses, refine ideas into projects, and collaborate and learn from their peers. This grant will support increasing artist fees for 2024 and 2025 as part of the [working titles] program, which features original works of opera and music theater in various stages of development and invites audiences to join in a critical part of the artistic process through showings, opera rehearsals, and artist talkbacks.

The Association for the Development of Vocal Artistry and Neighborhood Cultural Enrichment (ADVANCE)

ADVANCE-MORE Opera is a community-based vocal arts organization that makes classical music and opera accessible through its culturally responsive programming of free public performances, educational initiatives, and no-cost community choral training for hundreds of young people, adults, and seniors. This grant provides support to hire an arts consultant who will help to create a two-year strategic plan to increase visibility and awareness of ADVANCE’s mission, expand programming, and build capacity to reach new audiences.

Experiments in Opera

Experiments in Opera is a company founded by, run by, and serving artists. The company is dedicated to opening up the boundaries of opera by supporting and guiding an inclusive group of artists, musicians, composers, and librettists to expand the craft. Funding from this grant will support the salary expansion of three of Experiments in Opera’s artistic leaders who are working continuously to bring together a wide range of artists to explore the potential of opera in the 21st century.

Harlem Opera Theater

Harlem Opera Theater provides performance opportunities for gifted professional and developing singers as well as musicians of exceptional potential for an operatic career in local, national, and international forums. The organization presents concerts, recitals, and such programming as Opera for Beginners, a music literacy project in NYC public schools and senior centers, and Opera in Harlem, which develops an audience for the classical art form in underserved communities. Harlem Opera Theater presents music by classical composers and composers of the African American experience. This grant will support operational expenses, including paying the artistic director and other artists, as well as a videographer for documentation of work.

International Brazilian Opera Company

The International Brazilian Opera Company (IBOC), an immigrant-led and -founded New York-based company, is committed to creating a new repertoire relevant to our time. The company focuses on diverse audiences, transcultural collaboration, supporting voices from underrepresented demographics, and professional development and education for early and mid-career artists. This grant will support the International Brazilian Opera Company’s fundraising and stewardship project. It will help pay dedicated personnel to create and implement a fundraising strategy focusing on donor prospecting and stewardship, donor-event management, and grant writing.

The Lighthouse Opera Company

The Lighthouse Opera Company performs standard opera in diverse settings throughout the Bronx featuring diverse and talented young, emerging, and mid-career singers who are historically underrepresented in the profession. Among the activities this grant will support are the expansion of the company’s public relations and social media platforms and the presentation of Carmen, one of the largest works that the company has presented.

New Music Theatre Project

New Music Theatre Project invests in developing work that explores traditional and innovative ways in which music and theater play together. The core programs include the commissioning and development of new music theater, opera/operetta, instrumental work, and plays featuring music. This grant will support the New Work Development Fund, the company’s commissioning program. During the grant period, NMTP will be developing four original works and presenting them to diverse New York City audiences: Lost (& Found) in New York by Elle Gurevich, The Mouse by Noah Magnus, Quartet Project by Erika Ji, and New York Is Dead by Chris Dieman.

Opera Ebony

Opera Ebony is the oldest continuously operating African American opera company in North America. Its mission is to promote, mentor, and nurture career opportunities for singers, directors, composers, and musicians whose training is rooted in spirituals, classical, and operatic repertoire, and who are underrepresented artists in the world of classical music. This grant will support programming associated with the company’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Opera Hispánica

Opera Hispánica promotes the exposure of centuries-old Spanish and Latin vocal traditions and showcases the wealth of current composers, artists, and performers to affirm pride in their heritage. This grant will support upcoming productions within Veintiun-OH (XXI), a 21st-century Hispanic chamber opera series. Composer and famed conductor Pedro Halffter has created Klara, a new small-format opera, with the intention of attracting new audiences. Through a spectacular immersive stage design that places the viewer in a digital, holographic world, along with novel choreography, the production invites audiences to reflect on the development and potential effects of artificial intelligence.

Opera Praktikos

Opera Praktikos is New York City’s first disability-affirmative opera company. Established in 2022, Opera Praktikos makes opera accessible for audiences and artists by creating works that transcend traditional barriers to opera, like class, economic status, and physical obstacles. Through purposeful reimaging of the classics as well as commissioning new works, Opera Praktikos produces work that reflects the diverse backgrounds and abilities of its artists. The company’s intent is for audiences to see themselves in the opera the company produces, and to ultimately enrich lives and heal communities. This grant will support the enhancement of current marketing activities by increasing targeted advertising, and it will also support payment to artists for the production of There Will Be Cake!, a pairing of two mono operas: Bon Appétit! by Lee Hoiby, Mark Shulgasser, and Julia Child and Fluffernutter Peanut Butter by Spicer Carr and Marianna Mott Newirth.


For more information on OPERA America, visit About Us.

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