Grant programs
Except where noted, these grant opportunities are available only to Professional Company Members of OPERA America.
OPERA America has a long tradition of supporting new works and new audiences for opera. Over the past 25 years, the organization has awarded nearly $13 million in grants to develop new operas and music-theater works, foster innovative opera productions, engage audiences for opera, and increase diversity across the field. In addition, OPERA America provides travel grants that allow members to participate in Network Forums and attend performances of new North American works.
Innovation Grants
Generously funded by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation
OPERA America’s Innovation Grants support vibrant Professional Company Members in implementing innovative projects in opera’s most important areas of practice, including artistic vitality, audience experience, organizational effectiveness and community connections. This new grant program enables companies to increase their investment in experimentation and innovation, and contribute to field-wide learning. Grants will support projects that are (a) efforts new to the field; (b) adaptations or applications of strategies that have been implemented elsewhere, but are new to the applicant company or its community; and (c) refinements or enhancements to proven organizational strategies that merit continued development. OPERA America will also coordinate research and documentation, and disseminate resources to share lessons learned from the projects.

Intent to Apply deadline: December 7, 2016
Application deadline: January 24, 2017
Adjudication and notification: March 2017
Grant start date: July 1, 2017

Guidelines: 2017 Innovation Grant Guidelines (PDF)
Worksheet: 2017 Innovation Grant Application Worksheet (PDF)
Application Tools: Budget Template (PDF), Adjudication Rubric (PDF), Orientation Webinar Slide Deck (PDF)
Apply: All Intents and Applications must be submitted online.

Questions? Please direct questions about this grant program to Leah D. Barto, director of learning and leadership, at LBarto@operaamerica.org.
The Opera Fund: Audience Development
Audience Development grants help OPERA America Professional Company Members (PCMs) and their partners to develop new and deeper relationships with audiences for new or infrequently produced American operas and music-theater works. Activities must be held in conjunction with the creation and/or presentation of the work.

Grant period: January 2017 – August 2018

Questions? Please direct questions about this grant program to Leah D. Barto, director of learning and leadership, at LBarto@operaamerica.org.
The Opera Fund: Repertoire Development
Repertoire Development grants assist OPERA America Professional Company Members and their partners in meeting the special costs incurred by developing and producing new North American opera and music-theater works. A PCM may apply as a sole applicant or as part of a consortium. Grant range:
  • Up to $65,000 for consortium support
  • Up to $35,000 for sole applicant support

More information about the 2017–2018 cycle will be available in summer 2017.

Questions? Please direct questions about this grant program to Laura Lee Everett, director of artistic services, at LEverett@operaamerica.org.
Opera Grants for Female Composers
Supported by The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation
Opera Grants for Female Composers provide support for the development of new operas by women, both directly to individual composers and to OPERA America Professional Company Members, advancing the important objective of increasing diversity across the field. Discovery Grants and Commissioning Grants seek to identify, support and help develop the work of female composers writing for the operatic medium, raising their visibility and promoting awareness of their compositions to the field.
  • COMMISSIONING GRANTS (2017)
    This program helps OPERA America Professional Company Members to commission works by talented women who compose for the opera stage. Grants cover up to 50 percent of a female composer’s fee for a full production of a commissioned work.

    The Commissioning Grants are only open to OPERA America Professional Company Members for application.

    Application available online: February 2017
    Intent to Apply deadline: April 19, 2017
    Application deadline: May 17, 2017
    Applications adjudicated: June 2017
    Grantees notified: July 2017

    Guidelines: 2017 Commissioning Grant Guidelines (PDF)
    Application Questions: 2017 Commissioning Grant Application Questions (PDF) Apply: All Intents and Applications must be submitted online.

  • DISCOVERY GRANTS
    OPERA America invites proposals for grants of up to $15,000 from female composers able to document their ability to compose theatrical works for the classically trained voice and instrumental ensemble. Each Discovery Grant will provide financial assistance to advance and promote an opera in development. Grant recipients will be introduced to leaders in the field through Opera America Magazine and at future New Works Forum meetings and annual conferences. Supported works will be considered for presentation as part of the New Works Forum.

    The Discovery Grants are open to individual American female composers, regardless of membership status with OPERA America.

    Application available online: October 14, 2016
    Intent to Apply deadline: November 28, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. EST
    Application deadline: December 20, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. EST
    Applications adjudicated: January 2017
    Grantees notified: February 2017

    Guidelines: 2016–2017 Discovery Grant Guidelines (PDF)
    Application Questions: 2016–2017 Discovery Grant Application Questions (PDF)
    Application Tools: Sample Budget (PDF)
    Apply: All Intents and Applications must be submitted online.

Questions? Please direct questions about this grant program to Noah Stern Weber, artistic services manager, at NSWeber@operaamerica.org.
The Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Showcase
Supported by The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund
This program is intended to bring new talent to the forefront and connect promising directors and designers with those who are in a position to advance their careers. OPERA America will consider applications from director- or designer-driven teams of artists. Each team must create a production proposal for an opera chosen from a curated list. Selected finalists will be funded to further develop their production design for presentation at Opera Conference 2017. At the 2013 Director-Designer Showcase, over 80 opera producers attended the presentation and more than 18,000 viewed the live stream.

The Director-Designer Showcase is open to emerging opera/theater artists, regardless of membership status with OPERA America.

Guidelines: 2017 Director-Designer Showcase Grant Guidelines (PDF)
Application Questions: 2017 Director-Designer Showcase Grant Application Questions (PDF)
Apply: All Applications must be submitted online.

Questions? Please direct questions about this grant program to Laura Lee Everett, director of artistic services, at LEverett@operaamerica.org.
New Works Exploration Grants
Supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
New Works Exploration Grants provide travel and lodging support for representatives of OPERA America Professional Company Members in the U.S. to attend performances or workshops of new American works. During the trip, the recipient must meet with the creative artists and administrators responsible for the piece’s creation. The goals of the program are to broaden awareness of new American opera and music-theater works across the field and to create relationships among opera companies interested in pursuing the creation and production of new works. Grants cover the cost of transportation and lodging. There is no limit to the number of grants a company may apply for during fiscal year 2017 (July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017); however, the total amount granted to a single company cannot exceed $3,000 during the year.

Application deadline: Funding through June 2017 is exhausted; however, early applications for the first quarter of FY 2018 (July 1, 2017 – September 30, 2017) are now open. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all funds are used.
Guidelines: 2017–2018 New Works Exploration Grant Guidelines and Instructions (PDF)
Apply: All applications must be submitted online.
Reporting Form: Downloadable Reporting Form (DOCX)

Questions? Please direct questions about this grant program to Noah Stern Weber, artistic services manager, at NSWeber@operaamerica.org.
Index of Grants

Grant Support
OPERA America’s grant opportunities are made possible through the generosity of The Opera Fund donors and 40th Anniversary Annual Fund donors, The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation and The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

The Opera Fund, launched by The National Endowment for the Arts, is funded by:
  • The Helen F. Whitaker Fund
  • Lee Day Gillespie
  • Lloyd and Mary Ann Gerlach
  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  • The Canada Council for the Arts
  • The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • The James S. and John L. Knight Foundation
  • The George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation

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