Douglas Kearney to Receive Inaugural Campbell Opera Librettist Prize

By Logan Martell

OPERA America has announced that Douglas Kearney has been named the inaugural recipient of the Campbell Opera Librettist Prize.

The award, conceived and funded by Mark Campbell, is the first in American opera to specifically honor the work of the librettist.

An alumnus of Howard University and CalArts, Kearney has written libretti for such operas as “Sweet Land,” “Crescent City,” “Sucktion,””Mordake,” and “Comet / Poppea.” His works have been exhibited at the American Jazz Museum, Temple Contemporary, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, and Visitor Welcome Center in Los Angeles. He is also a McKnight Presidential Fellow and associate professor of creative writing and English at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

“Douglas Kearney is a spectacular choice for the inaugural year of this prize. His words sing in a singular and electric voice, and his important and innovative work spotlights the crucial role of the librettist in successful musical storytelling,” said Campbell in a press release. “Douglas represents precisely the caliber of librettist this prize was created to honor.”

“It’s a tremendous honor to be the inaugural recipient of the Campbell Opera Librettist Prize. Writing librettos is a wild art and I am grateful to have had so many brilliant co-conspirators and troublemakers along the way,” said Kearney in a press release. “I hope Mark Campbell’s generous support helps draw attention to the efforts of the many librettists out there imagining new ways to work language, scene, and sound, and I look forward to the Campbell Prize winners to come.”