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OPERA America Awards First-Ever IDEA Opera Residencies

Grants encourage the development of new-to-opera BIPOC creators.

OPERA America has announced the inaugural participants of the IDEA Opera Residencies (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access) program, a new initiative that provides New York City-based composers and librettists of color an opportunity to explore opera as an expressive medium. The program is supported by the Katherine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund of The Scherman Foundation.

IDEA Opera Residencies are part of a series of programs designed by OPERA America to embrace the talent of BIPOC creators who have not been adequately included in the development of the contemporary American opera repertoire. Resident artists will have the support of OPERA America, access to facilities at the National Opera Center, and introductions to producers across the country. "IDEA Opera Residencies open the doors to composers and librettists of color who have distinguished themselves in other disciplines and want to explore the potential of opera," explained Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. "By encouraging their creative development, we will enrich the entire art form with new voices that reflect the diversity of our country."

The first-ever IDEA Opera Resident Artists are:

  • Laura Jobin-Acosta, composer
  • J. Mae Barizo, librettist
  • Tamar-kali Brown, composer

See below for additional information about the artists.

Each artist will receive a full-year residency at OPERA America's National Opera Center and a total package of $22,500 including direct grants for the exploration of opera as an artistic medium, career and promotional support, and facility and recording services. In addition, they will receive mentorship from field leaders, introductions to the field through Opera America Magazine and OPERA America's digital and social platforms, and participation at national convenings like the Opera Conference and New Works Forum.

The grantees were selected from an applicant pool of 30 by an independent adjudication panel of industry experts consisting of Anne Hiatt, co-founder and general director, Opera on Tap; Anthony Trecek-King, associate professor of choral music and director of choral activities, The Hartt School; Matthew Ozawa, stage director and consultant, and interim director of Lyric Unlimited, Lyric Opera of Chicago; Randall Eng, resident composer and associate arts professor, New York University; and Stephanie Fleischmann, librettist and playwright.

IDEA Opera Residencies are the most recent addition to OPERA America's grant programs designed to increase the depth and breadth of the contemporary American opera repertoire. Since the inception of its granting programs, OPERA America has awarded over $20 million to the opera field to support the work of opera creators, companies, and administrators.

Applications for the next round of IDEA Opera Residencies will open in the first quarter of 2021. Visit Grants & Awards for more information about OPERA America's grant programs.


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