Opera for All Voices: Stories of Our Time

Opera for All Voices (OFAV) is an initiative committed to co-commissioning and co-producing new operatic works for audiences of all ages that bear the same artistic integrity and depth of storytelling as mainstage works. There is additionally a commitment to social impact and the representation of diverse voices through the development of these new and important works.

OFAV was guided by consortium of opera companies led by The Santa Fe Opera including Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Minnesota Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, San Francisco Opera, Sarasota Opera, and Seattle Opera — resulting in the commission of new works flexible in both scope and scale, which can be performed in a variety of venues away from the mainstage. The teams behind the commissioned works were selected through an invitational process and adjudicated by a jury of twelve distinguished individuals in the field of opera.

The teams behind the first two commissions were selected via a rigorous process with feedback from all participating companies. Both teams embody the spirit of the initiative in their previous works, telling stories with purpose through music. 

Augusta Read Thomas, composer of the first commission, boasts a prolific collection of orchestral, chamber, choral and vocal works. Librettist Leslie Dunton-Downer, author of the Essential Shakespeare Handbook, among other publications, joins Augusta on this project. The music behind the second commission comes from Laura Kaminsky, a composer of opera, orchestra, chamber, vocal and choral music who’s scores often address social-political issues such as sustainability, war, and human rights. Librettist Kimberly Reed, a frequent opera collaborator with Kaminsky, joins her for this project.

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Projects selected through the invitational will receive a workshop, the opportunity to premiere their opera at one of the partner companies listed above, as well as the opportunity for subsequent performances at other partner companies. Additionally, each composer and librettist team selected for the invitational will have the opportunity to be mentored by one of the lead composer and librettist teams. Established, emerging and non-classical composers and librettists were encouraged to submit a proposal. 

Fees associated with this project are commensurate with and within the range of commissioning fees from other opera companies. Commissioned teams for the Invitational will receive $75,000 for the composer and $25,000 for the librettist. Opera for All Voices jurists and consortium member company designated representatives were not eligible to submit to the Invitational.

The composer and librettist teams selected for the Opera for All Voices Invitational are composer David Hanlon with librettist Stephanie Fleischmann and composer Chandler Carter with librettist Diana Solomon-Glover.

Jury Members

Dr. Kip Cranna - Jurist, moderator & consortium Dramaturg
Octavio Cardenas
Martha Collins
Peter Kazaras
Dr. Dale Kruse
Carolyn Kuan
Dr. Everett McCorvey
Deborah Nansteel
Valérie Sainte-Agathe
Gene Scheer
Bright Sheng
James Robinson
Louise Toppin

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Opera for All Voices is made possible by generous funding from the Melville Hankins Family Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.