Campbell Opera Librettist Prize
The Campbell Opera Librettist Prize is awarded annually to an American librettist who demonstrates exceptional talent and experience for writing opera librettos, with the potential for making a substantial contribution to the American opera literature; and who is committed to making opera a central part of their artistic work and career.
Conceived and funded by acclaimed librettist and lyricist Mark Campbell, the Prize is the first award in the history of American opera that specifically recognizes the opera librettist.
It is designed to highlight the crucial role librettists play in the creation and success of new operatic works, and inspire a new generation of writers to dedicate their pens to opera and music theater
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 are citizens or permanent residents of the United States may apply.
|Application available online:||January 2022|
|Intent to apply deadline:||March 4, 2022|
|Full application deadline:||March 30, 2022|
|Applicant notification:||May 2022|
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.
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.