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Article Published: 01 Jul 2018

Creative Thinking

Opera Memphis’ McCleave Project
Opera Memphis’ McCleave Project (photo: Ziggy Mack for Opera Memphis)

The 20 projects recently selected to receive OPERA America Innovation Grants embody the initiative’s aim of enhancing artistic vitality, audience experience, organizational effectiveness and community connections. They range from San Diego Opera’s “Opera Hack,” a project that will pair opera creators with technology experts, to On Site Opera’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, to be presented in a soup kitchen with a chorus drawn from New York City’s homeless community.

Launched in fall 2016, the Innovation Grants program is funded by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation and provides up to $1.5 million annually to OA’s Professional Company Members. OA has also developed an infrastructure, with Getty Foundation support, to capture and assess outcomes of funded projects — successes, challenges and even failures. “These grants benefit more than just the recipients,” says Marc A. Scorca, OA’s president and CEO. “Through the lessons learned from the funded initiatives, companies throughout North America will be able to replicate and adopt good ideas, and ultimately contribute to a stronger art form.”

Twenty companies — representing nearly 15 percent of all of OA’s Professional Company Members — were selected by an independent panel to receive a total of $1.2 million:

  • American Opera Projects (New York, NY)
  • Anchorage Opera
  • The Dallas Opera
  • Haymarket Opera Company (Chicago, IL)
  • Nashville Opera
  • Nautilus Music-Theater (St. Paul, MN)
  • New Orleans Opera
  • On Site Opera (New York, NY)
  • Opera Columbus (Columbus, OH)
  • Opéra de Montréal
  • Opera in the Heights and Pacific Opera Project (Houston, TX, and Los Angeles, CA)
  • Opera Memphis
  • Opera North (Lebanon, NH)
  • Opera on Tap (New York, NY)
  • Opera Philadelphia
  • Opera San Luis Obispo
  • Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
  • Pittsburgh Opera
  • San Diego Opera

The awarded grants support the production of socially relevant works with civic resonance; projects designed to make opera inclusive and accessible; the fusion of technology with live performance; partnerships among arts and non-arts organizations; research into the audience experience; and career-development programs for opera creators and artists.

For details of the funded initiatives read the press release

This article was published in the Summer 2018 issue of Opera America Magazine.