Sarasota Opera Receives NEA Grant For Rachel J. Peters’ Youth Opera

By Francisco Salazar

The Sarasota Opera has received a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts.

The company was selected to receive a $20,000 grant in support of the commissioning and production of “Rootabaga Country,” a new opera by composer Rachel J. Peters that will mark the company’s sixth youth opera world premiere.

The Art Works award was part of more than $82 million approved by the NEA to fund local art projects across the country. The Sarasota Youth Opera was selected for funding from among 1,728 Art Works applications and the winners received awards from $10,000 to $100,000 in grants

Richard Russell, executive director of the Sarasota Opera, said in a statement,“We have been very gratified to receive NEA support for Sarasota Youth Opera programs in the past and are thrilled that support will continue with a grant for our commission of ‘Rootabaga Country. The production of this new opera will involve nearly a hundred youth opera members and countless more who will enjoy the performances.”

The Sarasota Opera selected Peters to create the new work over 12 other submissions. It is an adaptation of selections from Carl Sandburg’s 1922 book, “Rootabaga Stories,” which is a collection of whimsical short stories created out of Sandburg’s desire to invent “American fairy tales.”

The Sarasota Opera recently announced its 2017-18 season and it will present Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut” and Verdi’s “La Traviata.” It will also present Bizet’s “Carmen” and  Bellini’s “Norma.”