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Monday, February 28, 2022

Campbell Opera Librettist Prize


Deadline: March 4, 2022 11:59 p.m. ET

In 2020, OPERA America worked with librettist/lyricist Mark Campbell to establish the Campbell Opera Librettist Prize — the first award in the history of American opera that specifically recognizes the opera librettist. Early in Campbell’s career, Stephen Sondheim presented Campbell with the first Kleban Foundation Award — a prize for extraordinary theater writers.

The program is intended to recognize a librettist who has: 
  • Exceptional talent for writing opera librettos with potential for making a substantial contribution to the American opera literature; and 
  • Demonstrated experience writing for opera/music theater and a commitment to making opera a central part of their artistic work and career. 
The prize winner will receive: 
  • A one-time $7,000 direct cash prize in support of their artistry and development as an opera librettist to be used by the awardee at their own discretion; 
  • Access to OPERA America’s professional development programs for artists, including a two-part Opera Entrepreneurship Workshop; and
  • Introductions to leading opera producers through Opera America Magazine and at future annual conferences and New Works Forum meetings. 
  • Applicants must have demonstrated experience as an opera librettist and have written at least two complete librettos that have been set to music or are in the process of being set to music. 
  • Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to opera as a central part of their artistic work. 
  • Applicants must have U.S. citizenship, permanent residence, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status (proof of residency and citizenship will be requested). 
  • Applicant participation (past or current) in a librettist-training program is preferable, but not required. • Applicants may only apply for consideration for three cycles of this program. Applicants who have applied unsuccessfully in two cycles must articulate substantive career progress made since their last application when they submit their intent to apply. 
  • Recipients of the Campbell Opera Librettist Prize may not reapply for the Prize in a subsequent cycle.  
Timeline The following timeline is in place for the 2022 Campbell Opera Librettist Prize: 
•Application available online: January 2022 
• Intent to apply deadline: March 4, 2022 (required for full application)
• Application deadline: March 30, 2022 
 • Adjudication: April 2022 
• Awardee notification: May 2022 

 How to Apply 

• Read these guidelines carefully before completing any application materials. 
 • All materials must be submitted online via the online grants system at operaamerica.org/GrantsDashboard

  • The submission of an intent to apply is required for all applicants and is due by 11:59 p.m. ET on March 4, 2022. OPERA America will provide individualized support to applicants based on their intents to apply to guide them to the full application. Only applicants who submit an intent to apply may submit a full application. 
  •  Submit a complete, final application by 11:59 p.m. ET on March 30, 2022. 
  •  Applications submitted without work samples as specified in the application will not be considered. Applications that are incomplete or late will not be accepted. • Contact Diana Hossack, grantmaking director, at DHossack@operaamerica.org or 646.699.5236 with any questions. 

Application Review Process 

An independent panel will review all final applications for the Campbell Opera Librettist Prize. The panel will consist of experts with an understanding of diverse writing and creation styles, as well as new work producers from OPERA America Professional Company Members. Individuals who stand to benefit financially from a grant are ineligible to serve on the panel, and no current employee of OPERA America is eligible to serve as a panelist. Decisions of the panel are final. 

Panelists evaluate the applications based on the following criteria: 
 • Artistic Ability: The artistic quality of the work samples. 
• Creative Potential: The potential to enrich the art form and the field. 
• Impetus for Opera: Applicants’ motivations for expressing themselves through opera. 
 • Collaborative Expression: The articulation of successful collaborative work in the applicant’s artistic practice. Narrative Statements 

In addition to a current biography, applicants are required to submit written narrative statements describing their: 
• Desire to choose opera as a form for their storytelling; 
• Experience writing opera libretti; 
• Success working collaboratively with composers and other creators; and 
• Vision of how they will use their writing skills to influence the future direction of opera. Work Samples Applicants are required to submit no more than three work samples that best represent their unique voice and creative styles and demonstrate the creator’s aptitude for theatrical storytelling through music. 
 • The most competitive applications will include recent examples of works that demonstrate the librettist’s ability to write theatrical work for trained voices and instrumental ensembles. 
 • Two of the samples must be from opera librettos that have been set to music or are in the process of being set (though not necessarily premiered in a full production). Shorter and/or one-act librettos are permitted. Only complete dramatic works for the stage will be considered. Screenplays, poems, text for arias, fragments from librettos, and academic articles are not accepted. 
 • Written samples are required; audio or video recordings of the submitted samples are encouraged (whether set to music or text readings), but not required. 
• Librettos written in languages other than English must be accompanied by a complete English translation. Award Announcement • All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their requests after the panel adjudication. 
 • The award letter will contain dates for the additional OPERA America activities included in the award. 
 • The recipient of the Campbell Opera Librettist Prize will serve as the fiscal agent for the award. This is a singular award in the designated year that does not constitute continued financial support for the named awardee. 
• The Campbell Opera Librettist Prize is intended for the named awardee only and is not transferable to any other artist or organization. Reporting Requirements The awardee will receive an award letter explaining the prize terms and conditions, including financial documentation and narrative reporting requirements. A final report on how the prize has benefitted the artist in the development of their career as a librettist will be required for learning purposes for both the awardee and OPERA America. The awardee is required to acknowledge OPERA America and Mark Campbell/the Campbell Opera Librettist Prize in the manner described by OPERA America in the award letter. If the recipient of the prize has a website, it should feature OPERA America’s logo, including a hyperlink to OPERA America’s website. The recipient of the Campbell Opera Librettist Prize may be asked to submit additional documentation or cooperate with OPERA America in sharing the results of their award with the field. Staff Contact For more information, contact Diana Hossack, grantmaking director, at DHossack@operaamerica.org or 646.699.5236.

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