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Article Published: 01 Apr 2018

Class of 2018

Eight composers have won a total of $100,000 in the 2018 Discovery Grants round of OA’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program. Funded by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, the program has since 2013 awarded a total of $500,000 in Discovery Grants, which go directly to female composers to develop works in progress, and $300,000 in Commissioning Grants, which provide companies with funds to commission operas by women.

The program’s success stories include Laura Kaminsky’s As One, one of the most-produced contemporary operas in the country. Missy Mazzoli followed up her Breaking the Waves, for which Opera Philadelphia received a 2015 Commissioning Grant, with Proving Up, which garnered a 2017 grant for Opera Omaha and Washington National Opera. A Thousand Splendid Suns earned a 2014 Discovery Grant for its composer, Sheila Silvers, and a 2017 Commissioning Grant for Seattle Opera.

Visit Grants & Awards to learn more.

2018 OGFC: Discovery Grants

Lisa DeSpain
That Hell-Bound Train
Libretto based on a short story by Robert Bloch

In this version of the Faust legend, a drifter makes a bargain with a train conductor to live forever and attain perfect happiness, then boards a train bound for damnation.

Germaine Franco
¡La Capitana!
Libretto by Nancy De Los Santos and Alejandra Martinez

Petra Herrera, a young soldadera in the Mexican Revolution, disguises herself as a man to fight alongside Pancho Villa in the Battle of Torreón.

Elizabeth Kelly
Losing Her Voice
Libretto by the composer

Losing Her Voice focuses on opera diva Geraldine Farrar as she films Cecil B. DeMille’s 1915 silent-film adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen.

Leanna Kirchoff
Friday After Friday
Libretto by Rachel Peters

This chamber opera dramatizes the violence and poverty in present-day war-torn Syria, charting the active role of women in the country’s conflicts.

Veronika Krausas
Ghost Opera
Libretto by André Alexis

A spooky dramma giocoso about a haunted house, flying dogs, madness and crossing the River Styx.

Alexa Dexa
Be a Doll
Libretto by the composer

The protagonist carries out the traditional role of homemaker and plaything until her routine is upended by symptoms of an anxiety disorder.

Julia Meinwald
Libretto by Gordon Leary

A girl turns 18 on September 11, 2014, the day that Chardon High School shooter T.J. Lane escapes from an Ohio prison. REB+VoDKa+ME depicts her efforts to understand the misunderstood.

Liza Seigido
Cyborgs are Dancing
Text from Petrarch’s Canzoniere

This musical drama features two dancers, a three-piece electro-acoustic ensemble, a live-processed vocalist, reactive lighting and video, and audience participation via wireless gaming controllers.