AOP Receives Over $100K for Creation of New Operas, Including GULLIVER'S TRAVELS and More

AOP Receives Over $100K for Creation of New Operas, Including GULLIVER'S TRAVELS and More

American Opera Projects (AOP) announces it is the recipient of several recent grants to support the creation of new operas in partnership with various producing organizations. Over $100,000 in financial support has been awarded to AOP and partners Nashville Opera, Festival Opera, and Opera Parallèle by the National Endowment for the Arts and OPERA America and other foundations, institutions, and government entities to commission, develop, and premiere operas around the country.

AOP has recently received generous general operating support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., BMI, the New York State Council on the Arts, and a first-time contribution from The Howard Gilman Foundation, to further AOP's mission to identify, develop and present innovative works of opera and music theater by established and emerging American artists, and to engage our audiences in unique and transformative theatrical experiences.

Operas developed in AOP's First Chance and Composers & the Voice programs that will enjoy premieres and/or new productions in the 2016-17 season include Three Way (Opera Nashville),The Summer King (Pittsburgh Opera), As One (Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Colorado), and Before Night Falls (Florida Grand Opera).

More information about current and past AOP operas can be found at



Supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, a total of $200,000 has been awarded to seven female composers, and seven opera companies through Opera America's Opera Grants for Female Composers program for fiscal year 2016. Included in this announcement is a $10,000 commissioning grant awarded to American Opera Projects to support the development ofGulliver's Travels by composer Victoria Bond and librettist Stephen Greco, with stage direction by Doug Fitch. AOP will collaborate with Gulf Coast Symphony on the premiere production in spring 2017 at Gulf Coast's homebase, Barbara Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers, Florida.

Gulliver's Travels will be a fully-realized MainStage production for Gulf Coast Symphony. AOP has co-produced several works with GCS's Artistic Director Andrew M. Kurtz, and his Philadelphia-based organization Center City Opera Theatre, and is pleased to be creating a world premiere with him as music director. AOP workshop presentations of the opera are scheduled for January 2017 in Fort Myers, FL.

Gulliver's Travels is a "mythological burlesque" based on the Jonathan Swift novel. Appropriate for family audiences in the tradition of Hansel and Gretel, the opera is a journey of the imagination, where the world isn't limited to what you see or know. Gulliver's adventures and observations of the follies and vices of man form the basis of the opera, which blends satire, humor and drama. Told through music and animated objects, the opera is created for the adult in every child. The four short acts are performed without intermission, totaling 70 minutes.


National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects and partnerships in the NEA's second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2016. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award of $20,000 to Festival Opera to support the development of a new chamber opera, Rated R for Rat, by composer Wang Jie and librettist Anne Babson. Rated R for Rat will make its debut at Festival Opera in 2017, in collaboration with AOP, the recipient of an OPERA America Female Commissioning Grant in 2014 for Wang Jie.

AOP workshop presentations of the opera are scheduled for October 2016 at Festival Opera in the San Francisco Bay Area and April 2017 at New York Theatre Workshop where Rated R for Rat director Mou Zhou is a Season 2050 Fellow in Directing.

"Supporting projects like the one from Festival Opera offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day." Festival Opera General Director Sara Nealy said, "We are honored to be recognized by the NEA for the work we are embarking on to create cultural bridges with new works that engage diverse members of our Bay Area communities, and we are excited to work with our partners, American Opera Projects, to bring this imaginative new work to the stage."