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OPERA America Awards Opera Grants For Women Stage Directors And Conductors

Grants are generously supported by the Marineau Family Foundation.

OPERA America Awards Opera Grants For Women Stage Directors And Conductors

OPERA America has announced the recipients of the 2022 Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors. The program incentivizes companies to hire women in these key artistic roles in order to enrich the production and performance of new operas and works from the inherited repertoire; introduce audiences to the talent and insight of new artists, and inspire future generations of creative artists who identify as women. The initiative is generously supported by the Marineau Family Foundation.

A survey of recent opera seasons revealed that women make up fewer than 30 percent of the stage directors and fewer than 15 percent of the conductors working on American opera productions. "OPERA America is committed to righting this imbalance," remarked Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. "The work this year's grantees will create is wide-ranging in subject matter and will benefit from their tremendous skill and interpretive perspective."

OPERA America's Professional Company Members are eligible to apply for grants to subsidize up to 50 percent (up to $10,000) of the fees for women stage directors or conductors who are contracted for the first time by the companies.

The nine opera company recipients are Anchorage Opera (Anchorage, AK), Florida Grand Opera (Miami, FL), Guerilla Opera (Boston, MA), IN Series (Washington, D.C.), Kentucky Opera (Louisville, KY), Opera Cultura (San Jose, CA), Opera San José (San Jose, CA), and Portland Opera (Portland, OR).

The 2022 grantees support the company debuts of the following artists:

  • Cara Consilvio, who will direct I Give You My Home (Beth Wiemann, composer/librettist) for Guerilla Opera
  • Shannon Davis, who will direct Missing (Brian Current, composer; Marie Clements, librettist) for Anchorage Opera
  • Nataki Garrett, who will direct The Central Park Five (Anthony Davis, composer; Richard Wesley, librettist) for Portland Opera
  • Jeri Lynne Johnson, who will conduct Agrippina (George Frideric Handel, composer; Cardinal Vincenzo Grimani, librettist) for Florida Grand Opera
  • Paula Nava Madrigal, who will conduct Frida (Robert Xavier Rodriguez, composer; Hilary Blecher, book; Migdalia Cruz, lyrics and monologues) for Opera Cultura
  • Crystal Manich, who will direct West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein, composer; Stephen Sondheim, lyricist) for Opera San José
  • Claron McFadden, who will conduct Desdemona (by Toni Morrison, with the music of Nina Simone) for IN Series
  • Judith Yan, who will conduct Orfeo ed Euridice (Christoph Willibald Gluck, composer; Ranieri de' Calzabigi, librettist) for Kentucky Opera

(See below for additional information about the artists)

In this cycle, these stage directors and conductors will illuminate works from the inherited repertoire as well as new works, including two works from the 1700s, one musical-theater work from the 1950s, and five operas written since 1991, including one world premiere. All performances are scheduled to take place in the first six months of 2022.

The Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors program is one of OPERA America's resources aimed at increasing gender parity across the field. Others include Opera Grants for Women Composers, the Mentorship Program for Women Administrators, and the Women's Opera Network. Since the inception of its granting programs in the mid-1980s, OPERA America has awarded over $20 million to the opera field to support the work of opera creators, administrators, and companies.

Applications for the next round of Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors are now open; the deadline to apply is February 23, 2022. More information about OPERA America's grant programs is available at

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