Stephanie Fleischmann Named Winner of the 2022 Campbell Opera Librettist Prize

By Chris Ruel

OPERA America has announced librettist Stephanie Fleischmann as the 2022 Campbell Opera Librettist Prize winner.

Conceived and funded by Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award-winning librettist Mark Campbell, the prize seeks to raise the profile of librettists, who seldom receive recognition for their work. The award comes with a $7,000 prize to support creative and career development.

Fleischmann, an alumna of American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program, has penned seven libretti. In 2023, her work “Another City” (Jeremy Howard Beck) will premiere at Houston Grand Opera, and “The Pigeon Keeper” (David Hanlon) will premiere at the Santa Fe Opera’s Opera for All Voices program.

Her current projects have her working with three of OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Women Composers. These include “The Visitation,” with Christina Campanella; “Seven Sisters,” with Justine F. Chen; and “A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears,” with Julia Adolphe.

“What an honor it is to be recognized by OPERA America’s Campbell Opera Librettist Prize,” said Fleischmann in a press statement. “And to have been afforded the privilege of finding my voice in communion with so many brilliant composer compatriots. Merging words with music is a mysterious vocation indeed. But there’s nothing I love more than building worlds, asking questions, telling stories, dreaming into impossibly heartbreaking, soaring, mind-bending moments in collusion with, and galvanized by, music. Anything is possible in opera. I am so grateful to Mark Campbell for his vision, generosity, and intrepid advocacy for the librettist’s contribution to this ever-evolving form.”

A panel of industry leaders selected Fleischmann from a pool of 36 librettists. Panel members included Alejandra Valarino Boyer, director, Ravinia Steans Music Institute; Alison Moritz, stage director, and interim managing artistic director, Peabody Opera Theater; Sheila Silver, composer; Talise Trevigne, soprano; and Royce Vavrek, librettist.