Opera America Launches Opera Grants for Stage Directors and Conductors

By Nicolas Quiroga

Opera America has launched Opera Grants for Stage Directors and Conductors, an initiative for opera companies to hire women for key leadership roles while promoting gender parity across the artistic field.

The grant, funded by the Marineau Family Foundation,  will make a contribution of $ 10,000 to cover up to 50 percent of the fee of a female stage director or conductor who is contracted for the first time by an applicant company.

Female-identifying conductors and stage directors have been underrepresented throughout the industry over the past few years; women represent less than 15 percent of all conductors and 30 percent of directors.

“It is my hope that these grants will not only encourage companies to consider the many talented women
who can lead their productions, but also promote gender parity within an organization from the top down,”
said Sue Marineau, president of the Marineau Family Foundation in a press release. “When a company hires a female director or conductor, that sends a powerful message to women aspiring to such roles and often leads to
more equitable hiring practices among all artistic personnel.”

“OPERA America is committed to pursuing gender equity in all facets of the field and addressing the historical underrepresentation of women in key artistic roles,” added Marc A. Scorca, president and CEO of OPERA America. “We have already made strides through our grant programs for female composers. Now, thanks to Sue Marineau and the Marineau Family Foundation, we can expand our efforts to include a broader set of artists and move toward a more holistic support of women in our industry.”

The first cycle of applications is open with a deadline set for March 31, 2021 for productions scheduled from June 1 to December 31, 2021. There will be a second cycle of applications available later this year for productions scheduled from January 1, 2022, through June 30, 2021.