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. The 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 assist with evaluation and documentation, and disseminate resources to share lessons learned from the projects.

Application available online: September 8, 2017
Intent to apply deadline: November 8, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. EST
Application deadline: January 24, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. EST
Adjudication and notification: March 2018
Grant start date: July 1, 2018

Guidelines:2018 Innovation Grant Guidelines (PDF)
Companies that describe multiyear approaches may request consideration for two-year grants. Payment in the second year will be at the same level as the first. A company may only have one active Innovation grant at any time. Recipients of two-year grants in 2017 may not reapply for Innovation funding until 2019 (fiscal year 2020).

Worksheets:Intent to apply questions (PDF), application questions (PDF), budget template (XLSX),
Apply: All applications must be submitted online at

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
The 2017–2018 Repertoire Development application cycle is now closed. For a list of grant recipients, click here. The next application cycle will open in fall 2019.
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.

Current grant period: January 2017 – August 2018
Next grant period: January 2019 – August 2020

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.
    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 trained voice and instrumental ensemble. In addition, grant recipients will have the opportunity to meet leaders in the field and participate in forum meetings and annual conferences.

    Application available online: October 5, 2017
    Intent to apply deadline: November 16, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. EST (required for access to full application)
    Application deadline: December 14, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. EST
    Applications adjudicated: January 2018
    Grantees notified: February 2018

    Guidelines:2018 Discovery Grant Guidelines (PDF)
    Worksheets:Intent to apply questions (PDF), application questions (PDF), budget template) (XLSX)
    Apply: All applications must be submitted online at

    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, with awards of up to $50,000.

    The Commissioning Grants are only open to OPERA America Professional Company Members based in the United States.

    Application available online: March 1, 2018
    Intent to apply deadline: April 10, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. EDT
    Application deadline: April 30, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. EDT
    Applications adjudicated: May 2018
    Grantees notified: June 2018

    Guidelines:2018 Commissioning Grant Guidelines (PDF)
    Worksheets:Intent to apply questions (PDF), application questions (PDF)
    Apply: All applications must be submitted online at

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 were funded to further develop their production designs for presentation at Opera Conference 2017. The next cycle will open in 2018 for presentation at Opera Conference 2019.

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

New Works Exploration Grants
Supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Please note that funds for this fiscal year have been fully exhausted.
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 2018 (July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018); however, the total amount granted to a single company cannot exceed $3,000 during the year.

Application deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until all funds are exhausted for the fiscal year.
Grant funds for FY18 are now exhausted.
Guidelines: 2017–2018 New Works Exploration Grant Guidelines and Instructions (PDF)
Apply: Applications for FY19 Exploration Grants will open June 1, 2018.
Reporting form: Downloadable Reporting Form (DOCX)

New Work Featured Presentations at the New Works Forum 2019
Supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
OPERA America invites applications for production support of new work performances, readings and workshops concurrent with the programming of the 2019 New Works Forum from January 12–15, 2019, at the National Opera Center in New York City. Featured presentations may be excerpts of complete new works that have premiered since January 2016, excerpts of complete works that are scheduled to premiere over the next two seasons, or selections from works being developed.

Application available online: June 2018
Application deadline: July 11, 2018
Grantees notified: July 2018

For questions for additional information, please contact Laura Lee Everett, director of artistic services, at
Index of Grants

Upcoming Deadlines
Opera Grants for Female Composers: Commissioning
Application deadline

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 William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • The James S. and John L. Knight Foundation

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All OPERA America facilities are handicapped accessible. The National Opera Center features ground-level entry with elevators to the venue. All spaces are wheelchair accessible, and modular seating can be arranged to accommodate wheelchair users for all programs and performances. Handicapped accessible restrooms are available on all floors.
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