Opera for All Voices: Stories of Our Time

Opera for All Voices was born out of the need for works with outstanding artistic quality that can still reach all audiences via both accessibility of subject material and manageable budgets. The project also addresses the serious need to bring new audiences to opera by commissioning important works that speak to all voices, designed with modern attention spans in mind, and aimed at breaking down pre-conceived notions that opera is antiquated or elitist. 

The Opera for All Voices (OFAV) consortium companies include the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Minnesota Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, The Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera, Sarasota Opera and Seattle 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.