Campbell Opera Librettist Prize
The Campbell Opera Librettist Prize is awarded annually to an American librettist who has exceptional talent for writing opera librettos, with a growing body of work that is making a substantial contribution to the American opera literature; and who demonstrates experience writing for opera/music theater and a commitment to making opera a central part of their artistic work and career.
Conceived and funded by acclaimed librettist/lyricist Mark Campbell, the Prize is the first award in the history of American opera that specifically recognizes the opera librettist.
The Campbell Opera Librettist Prize is supported by Mark Campbell.
The Campbell Opera Librettist Prize bestows a $7,000 award each year to a librettist chosen from applicants by a panel of independent experts.
Eligibility: Librettists who have U.S. citizenship, permanent residence, or DACA status may apply.
|Application available online:||February 27, 2023|
|Intent to apply deadline:||March 24, 2023|
|Full application deadline:||April 21, 2023|
|Applicant notification:||June 2023|
How to Apply
Review the prize guidelines and application worksheets to apply. All applications must be submitted through OPERA America’s grants dashboard.
Guidelines & Worksheets
For questions about applications or eligibility, contact us at Grants@operaamerica.org or 646.699.5236.
2023: Deborah Brevoort
Deborah Brevoort is best known for her play The Women of Lockerbie, which is produced internationally, and for numerous comedies and dramas produced at regional theaters across the U.S. Since participating in the Composer Librettist Development Program at American Lyric Theater (ALT), Brevoort has written nine opera librettos. The Knock, written with composer Aleksandra Vrebalov, was co-commissioned by The Glimmerglass Festival and Cincinnati Opera. It was made into a live-action film available on YouTube and was staged in Cincinnati in 2023. Her other operas include Quamino’s Map, with Errollyn Wallen (Chicago Opera Theater); Murasaki’s Moon, with Michi Wiancko (On Site Opera, Metropolitan Museum of Art, ALT); Embedded, with Patrick Soluri (ALT, Fort Worth Opera, Fargo Moorhead Opera); Steal a Pencil for Me, with Gerald Cohen (Opera Colorado); Dinner 4 3 with Michael Ching (Decameron Opera Coalition); and new adaptations of Mozart’s The Impresario and Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (Anchorage Opera). Albert Nobbs, with Patrick Soluri, was a finalist for the 2018 Dominic Pellicciotti J. Prize. Three of her operas were chosen for Fort Worth Opera’s Frontiers program.
Brevoort is a two-time winner of the Frederick Loewe Award for Musical Theater for Coyote Goes Salmon Fishing, with Scott Davenport Richards, and King Island Christmas, based on the Alaskan children’s book, with David Friedman. She teaches in the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU and the M.F.A. playwriting program at Columbia University. She also serves as a mentor to the NBO Musical Theatre Initiative in Nairobi, Kenya, and as the librettist mentor for Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative at the Kennedy Center.
Read the press release.
2022: Stephanie Fleischmann
Stephanie Fleischmann is a librettist and playwright whose texts serve as blueprints for intricate three-dimensional sonic and visual worlds. Her “lyrical monologues” (The New York Times), “finely tuned” opera libretti (Opera News), plays, and music-theater works have been performed internationally and across the U.S. Her opera libretti include In a Grove (music by Christopher Cerrone), Dido Reimagined (Melinda Wagner), Poppaea (Michael Hersch), After the Storm (David Hanlon), The Long Walk (Jeremy Howard Beck), The Property (Wlad Marhulets), and Arkhipov (Peter Knell). In 2023, her work Another City (Jeremy Howard Beck) will premiere at Houston Grand Opera and The Pigeon Keeper (David Hanlon) will premiere at the Santa Fe Opera’s Opera for All Voices program.
Fleischmann’s current opera collaborations include three projects with recipients of OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Women Composers: The Visitation, with Christina Campanella; Seven Sisters, with Justine F. Chen; and A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears, with Julia Adolphe. She is also working on L’Autre Moi with composer Matthew Recio. Additional opera collaborators include directors Mary Birnbaum, Elkhanah Pulitzer, and Matthew Ozawa; dramaturg Cori Ellison; and conductors Kelly Kuo and Daniela Candillari.
In addition to her work in opera, Stephanie Fleischmann has penned songs and texts that have been set by composers Anna Clyne, Christopher Cerrone, Gity Razaz, Olga Neuwirth, Sxip Shirey, Jorge Sosa, Elspeth Brooke, and others. Her music-theater work includes The Visitation, a sound walk, with Mallory Catlett and Christina Campanella; Bakkhai, with Daniel Kluger and Dmitry Troyanovsky; and Niagara, with Bobby Previte and Daniel Fish. Her work for theater has been developed or presented at venues including Exit Festival, Roundhouse Studio, Synchronicity, Son of Semele, Roadworks, New Georges, Soho Rep, the Knitting Factory, and the Public. Her plays have been published by Play, a Journal of Plays, Playscripts.com, and Smith & Kraus.
Fleischmann is the recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Howard Foundation; grants from the Café Royal Cultural Foundation, NYSCA, National Endowment for the Arts, Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, Venturous Capital Fund, and Arts Council England; the Frederick Loewe and Whitfield Cook Awards; and residencies at MacDowell, Hedgebrook, HARP, BRIClab, and others. She is a former American Lyric Theater resident artist, Playwrights Center core writer, and New Georges Audrey resident, as well as an alumna of New Dramatists. She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University and her M.F.A. in playwriting from Brooklyn College, where she studied with Mac Wellman. She has taught at Sewanee, Bard College, and Skidmore College.
Read the press release.
2021: Douglas Kearney
Kearney's most recent opera, Sweet Land which was produced by The Industry in 2020 in partnership with librettist Aja Couchois Duncan with music by Raven Chacon and Du Yun, received positive notices in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker. In 2012, his opera Crescent City composed by Anne LeBaron marked The Industry’s inaugural performance. He had worked with LeBaron before in 2008 on Sucktion, a cybourg hyperopera, which premiered at Stanford’s REDCAT Center for New Music and later was performed upon invitation at The Connect Festival In Malmö, Sweden. Also, in 2008, he collaborated with composer Erling Wold to create Mordake, a solo opera, which was premiered at the San Francisco International Arts Festival. His latest opera, Comet/Poppea, written with composer George Lewis and commissioned by American Modern Opera Company, will premiere in 2023.
Kearney has published seven poetry collections, including Sho (Wave Books, 2021), of which Ken Chen (NPR) writes, “Kearney’s prosody is miraculous,” and Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016), winner of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award, the CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry, and a silver medal from the California Book Awards. Kearney’s collection of writing on poetics and performativity, Mess and Mess and (Noemi Press, 2015), was a Small Press Distribution Handpicked Selection that Publisher’s Weekly called “an extraordinary book.” His work is widely anthologized in volumes including Best American Poetry (2014, 2015), Best American Experimental Writing (2014), The Creative Critic: Writing As/About Practice, What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Writers in America, and The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. His newest LP is Fodder (Fonograf Editions, 2021), a collaboration with Val Jeanty.
Kearney’s work has been exhibited at the American Jazz Museum, Temple Contemporary, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, and Visitor Welcome Center in Los Angeles. He has received a Whiting Award, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Cy Twombly Award for Poetry, and residencies and fellowships from Cave Canem, the Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. A Howard University and CalArts alum, Kearney is a McKnight Presidential Fellow and associate professor of creative writing and English at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Altadena, California, he lives in St. Paul with his family.
Read the press release.