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IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) Opera Residencies

Grants and In-Kind Services to New York Individuals
for Original Music Compositions in Eligible Regions

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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OPERA America

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

04/15/20 11:59 PM ET


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Grants and in-kind services of up to $25,000 to New York individual artists of color in eligible regions to compose original works of opera. Applicants must submit an LOI prior to submitting a full application. Grant recipients will receive a grant, a stipend, access to mentors and training workshops, and a one-year residency at OPERA America’s National Opera Center in midtown Manhattan. This program must benefit individuals residing in New York City.

Purpose IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) Opera Residencies are OPERA America’s first grant program designed to welcome early-career composers and librettists of color living in New York City into the field by providing direct grants, residencies, mentorship and career support to artists who have the potential to shape the future of opera. This initiative, generously supported by the Katherine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund of The Scherman Foundation, is the first artist residency program offered by OPERA America at its state-of-the-art facility, the National Opera Center in New York.

Definitions IDEA:

  • Inclusion: authentic representation, empowered participation and a true sense of belonging, beyond numerical diversity. 
  • Diversity: breadth of representation; it can mean different cultures and ethnicities, gender identities, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, geographies, budget sizes or works presented. 
  • Equity: recognizing that not everyone is starting from the same point, but ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to succeed. 
  • Access: equitable admittance to everyone along the continuum of human ability and experience.

OPERA America defines opera as a music-theater experience with a dramatic arc, written for trained voice(s) accompanied by instruments. In this document, the author of the music will be referred to as the composer and the author of the text will be referred to as the librettist, although applicants may have prior experience as songwriters, poets or playwrights.

Supported Activities IDEA Opera Residencies will support the exploration of opera as an artistic media through the creation of arias, monologues, scenes, or even a full work that culminates with any of the following: 

  • A libretto reading. A reading in which the devised literature is read aloud. 
  • A Workshop. An informal performance of some/all of a work to obtain feedback on specific elements of the piece. Workshops might be performed with piano and/or instrumental accompaniment. 
  • Working performance. A partial or full run-through of a work, with piano or instrumental accompaniment, to obtain feedback for the further development of the piece. 

NOTE: These are examples of typical developmental activities and are not meant to limit the goals of any application.

For a list of eligible expenses, see the following link:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 187957

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grant recipients will receive awards of approximately $25,000 including:
- A $10,000 direct grant to explore opera as an artistic medium through the creation of arias, scenes, monologues or a full work;
- A stipend of up to $5,000 in career or promotional support such as website development, graphic design, photography, portfolio recording, travel or other resources;
- A one-year residency at OPERA America’s National Opera Center in midtown Manhattan for use of the state-of-the-art rehearsal and performance facilities and recording services (valued at $7,500);
- Mentorship from field leaders and training including a two-part Opera Entrepreneurship Workshop; and
- Introduction to the field at OPERA America’s New Works Forum and Opera Conference between January and June 2021 with complimentary registrations and transportation stipend (valued at $2,250).

Term of Contract:

Grant-funded activities must be completed by July 31, 2021.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

- Applicants must be individual artists who identify as composers and/or librettists.
- Applicants must identify with a racial or cultural heritage including African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and/or Native American (ALAANA).
- Applicants must reside in one of the five boroughs of New York City, and have U.S. citizenship, permanent residence or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status (proof of residency and citizenship will be requested).
- Applicants must demonstrate their ability to write music and/or text by providing work samples.
- Applicants must be early-career or new to opera i.e. those who have not yet received commissions, fellowships, or grants in the field of opera.
- Applicants may only be affiliated with one proposal per application cycle.
- Recipients of IDEA Opera Residencies will serve as fiscal agents for the projects. If awarded, fiscal agents will disburse all funds received and provide all required financial and narrative documentation.
- Recipients of IDEA Opera Residencies may not reapply for IDEA Opera Residencies in a subsequent cycle.

Ineligible expenses include:
- Set, costume or properties construction or rental expenses for a staged production;
- Institutional overhead expenses if partnering with a producing organization;
- Expenses that are not connected specifically to the project, including general administrative expenses and competition or contest application fees;
- Tuition expenses; and
- Fundraising expenses

Pre-Application Information:

Important Dates:
- Application available online: January 2020
- Intent to Apply deadline: March 10, 2020
- Application deadline: April 15, 2020
- Adjudication: June 2020
- Grantees notified: July 2020
- Current grant period: August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2021

Grants will cover up to 100 percent of eligible expenses, not exceeding $10,000; no matching funds are required.

How to Apply:
- An intent to apply is required for all applicants and is due by 11:59 p.m. ET on February 27, 2020. OPERA America will provide individualized support to applicants based on their intent to apply to guide them to the full application. Only applicants who submit an intent to apply may submit a full application.
- All materials must be submitted online via the online grants system.
- Submit a complete, final application by 11:59 p.m. ET on April 15, 2020.
- Applications submitted without work samples as specified in the application will not be considered.
- Applications that are incomplete or late will not be accepted.

All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their requests after the adjudication.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To apply:

Contact Kristal Pacific, grantmaking manager, at or 646.699.5236 with any

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York

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