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Opera America Selects Four Teams for The Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Prize

The biennial prize is awarded to teams of stage directors and designers who have yet to develop a significant body of work in the field of opera.

Opera America Selects Four Teams for The Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Prize

OPERA America has awarded the seventh cycle of the Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Prize to four teams of creative artists for their skill in bringing operatic works to life for contemporary audiences.

The prize is designed to bring new talent to the forefront of the opera field and connect rising directors and designers with producers who can advance their careers. See below for information on the winning teams and projects. The Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Prize is generously supported by the Tobin Theatre Arts Fund.

The biennial prize is awarded to teams of stage directors and designers who have yet to develop a significant body of work in the field of opera. Applicants are invited to create a production concept for an opera chosen from a curated repertoire list.

Four winning teams are awarded $2,000 each to further develop their concepts. The winning teams then present their concepts to producers at the Director-Designer Showcase, held as part of the annual Opera Conference, and in exhibitions at OPERA America's National Opera Center. This cycle's production concepts will be featured in digital form at Opera Conference 2021, taking place May 10-27, and in person at Opera Conference 2022. Winners will also be introduced to the field through Opera America Magazine and OPERA America's social and digital channels.

Following their Showcases, teams from previous cycles have received engagements with Austin Opera, Heartbeat Opera, Houston Grand Opera, LA Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Minnesota Opera, Opera Memphis, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Seattle Opera, Tulsa Opera, and Washington National Opera, among others.

This year's winners were selected from 57 applicant teams by an independent panel of industry experts consisting of Anshuman Bhatia, lighting/scenic designer; Wilson Chin, set/production designer; Kara Harmon; costume designer; Kurt Howard, producing director, Opera Omaha; Kimberly Reed, film director/producer; and Mo Zhou, stage director.

"OPERA America is committed to fostering emerging opera artists and facilitating the exploration of opera as a genre and medium," stated Marc A Scorca, president and CEO of OPERA America. "Thanks to the Tobin Theater Arts Fund, we are able to support the career development of stage directors and designers and, through them, further the artistic development of the art form."

The Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Prize is just one of many OPERA America grants and awards that support individual artists. The IDEA Opera Grants (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access), supported by the Charles and Cerise Jacobs Charitable Foundation, and the newly formed IDEA Opera Residencies, supported by the Katherine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund of The Scherman Foundation, advance the careers of composers and librettists of color. Discovery Grants from the Opera Grants for Female Composers program, funded by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, support gender parity for creators. The recently created Campbell Opera Librettist Prize, conceived and funded by librettist and lyricist Mark Campbell, is the first award that specifically recognizes the opera librettist.

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. More information about OPERA America's grant and award programs is available at operaamerica.org/Grants.


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