OPERA America has awarded the fifth cycle of Commissioning Grants from its Opera Grants for Female Composers program to six professional opera companies across the United States. The grants support the creation of new theatrical works by women who compose for the trained voice and instrumental ensemble. As the national service organization for opera and the nation’s leading champion for American opera, OPERA America is committed to increasing diversity and gender parity across the field.
Grants were awarded to:
• The Industry (Los Angeles, CA) for Sweet Land by Du Yun
• Lyric Opera of Chicago (Chicago, IL) for an untitled opera by Caroline Shaw
• Mill City Summer Opera (Minneapolis, MN) for Stone Arch: A Walking Opera by Mary Ellen Childs
• Opera Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA) for Ten Days in a Madhouse by Rene Orth
• Opera Steamboat (Steamboat Springs, CO) for Cookie by Leanna Kirchoff
• Spoleto Festival USA (Charleston, SC) for an opera on the life of Omar Ibn Said (title TBD) by Rhiannon Giddens
The six grantees were selected from an applicant pool of 15 eligible OPERA America Professional Company Members, which applied to receive up to 50 percent of the composer’s fee for a full production of a commissioned work, with awards of up to $50,000. The independent adjudication panel of industry experts included Carmen Balthrop, soprano; Katy Clark, president, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM); Stephanie Fleischmann, librettist; Jay Scheib, director; and Daniel Sonenberg, composer.
The Opera Grants for Female Composers program promotes the development of new works by women and raises the visibility of women writing for the operatic medium. The program consists of two granting components: Discovery Grants, awarded directly to female composers to advance their work, and Commissioning Grants, awarded to opera companies for commissions by female composers. Since its inception in 2014, the program has presented almost $1.1 million to opera companies and composers. The grants are made possible through the generous support of the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.