Opera America Shows Support For Female Composers

By David Salazar

Female composers are about to get a major boost, as Opera America has announced projects to advance the work of female composers and administrators.

Among the many projects included in this new initiative are $100,000 grants to female composers and a song cycle commissioned for four female composers and a female librettist writing about the first woman elected to Congress, “Fierce Grace: Jeannette Rankin.” There is also an event called Backstage Brunch, raising more than $15,000 to help fund a mentorship program for female opera administrators.

The Discovery Grants are made possible by the Virginia B. Toumlin Foundation and feature eight recipients. They include Faye Chiao for “Island of the Moon,” Ellen Fishman for “Marie Begins,” Grace Oberhofer for “ICONS/IDOLS,” Tawnie Olson for “Sanctuary and Storm” (working title), Frances Pollock for “Stinney: An American Execution,” Kate Soper for “The Romance of the Rose,” Dalit Warshaw for “Delusion of Grandeur,” and Cynthia Lee Wong for “No Guarantees.”

Opera America has always been at the forefront of helping develop new talent. The company has awarded more than $13 million in the last 30 years toward new American operas. However, fewer than five percent of that has gone to female composers.