For Immediate Release
Contact: Patricia Kiernan Johnson; PKJohnson@operaamerica.org
www.operaamerica.org


June 1, 2006

OPERA AMERICA RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD FOR PROMOTING DIVERSITY IN THE OPERA FIELD

New York —OPERA America , the national service organization for opera, announced that the company won a Leading Lights Diversity Award from the National MultiCultural Institute (NMCI). The Leading Lights Diversity Awards celebrate exemplary leaders in the nonprofit sector whose demonstrated courage, innovation, and commitment to diversity lead to a more inclusive society. Three awards are presented annually to organizations that serve as role models for enhancing diversity and encouraging respect and inclusion within their organizations and with the diverse communities they serve. Recipients are selected from the following non-profit categories: Education, Human Services, Health Care, and Arts & Culture.

OPERA America was recognized for its visionary leadership in creating a national dialogue throughout the opera community to promote diversity in the performing arts and encourage outreach to culturally diverse communities. The Association first addressed opera and multiculturalism at Opera Conference 2005: Diverse Voices , hosted in May 2005 by Michigan Opera Theater. Most recently, OPERA America presented its first annual Diversity Award to Opera Company of Philadelphia at the Association's 2006 annual conference in Seattle .

“The inclusion of diverse voices can have a transformative effect on many endeavors, from corporate innovation to artistic expression,” stated Marc A. Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America . “ Opera Conference 2005: Diverse Voices allowed us to explore ways we can win expanded support among a broader group of stakeholders and examine how opera can be enriched by diverse participation. I am especially grateful to OPERA America 's Managing Director, Diana Hossack, for her dynamic leadership of this important effort.”

In conjunction with Opera Conference 2005 , OPERA America created a Diversity Resources Handbook which is available for downloading via the OA website. This document provides an annotated listing of events, organizations, websites, books, articles, training materials, and people that can assist companies in addressing diversity issues in their community. The Handbook can be found at http://www.operaamerica.org/about/Diversity%20Resources.pdf

NMCI's mission is to work with individuals, organizations and communities in creating a society that is strengthened and empowered by its diversity. Through its initiatives, NMCI leads efforts to increase communication, understanding, and respect among people of diverse backgrounds and addresses some of the important systemic issues of multiculturalism.

“NMCI is pleased to honor OPERA America for its visionary leadership in creating a national dialogue throughout the opera community to promote and value diversity in the performing arts and encourage outreach to culturally diverse communities,” said NMCI's chairman, Denyse Sabagh.

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ABOUT OPERA AMERICA

OPERA America leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera.

  • Artistic services help opera companies and creative and performing artists to improve the quality of productions and increase the creation and presentation of North American works.
  • Information, technical, and administrative services to opera companies reflect the need for strengthened leadership among staff, trustees and volunteers.
  • Education, audience development and community services are designed to enhance all forms of opera appreciation.

Founded in 1970, OPERA America’s worldwide membership network includes nearly 200 Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and more than 16,000 subscribers to the association’s electronic news service. In 2005, OPERA America relocated from Washington, D.C. to New York as the first step in creating the first-ever National Opera Center. With a wide range of artistic and administrative services in a purpose-built facility, the Opera Center is dedicated to increasing the level of excellence, creativity and effectiveness across the field.

OPERA America’s long tradition of supporting and nurturing the creation and development of new works led to the formation of The Opera Fund, a growing endowment which allows OPERA America to make a direct impact on the ongoing creation and presentation of new opera and music-theater works. Since its inception, OPERA America has made grants of nearly $11 million to assist companies with the expenses associated with the creation and development of new works.