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opera/music theatre Competitions & Call for pieces

 Operation opera
Summary:Call for opera scores
Deadline: 15 March 2018
Date Posted: 15 February 2018
Details: Operation Opera will be 4-day festival for new chamber operas. We will select 3-4 new operas that were composed for chamber ensemble through call for scores. Together with singers and 4CE musicians, the invited composers will go through a series of activities including seminar, workshops, as well as a final performance in concert setting between May 24th and 27th, 2018, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In addition to the selected 3-4 operas or excerpts from our call for scores, this year, we are very proud to feature our special guests, composers & singers from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music (SHCM), one of the finest music institutes in China. SHCM will refer 3-4 newly composed operas to join Operation Opera. We hope to introduce diversity in the sense of contents, languages, cultures, as well as musician nationalities in the program. Outstanding compositions will have the chance to be performed at SHCM in future.

We are looking forward to working closely with composers on their new operas in preparing for the next-step staging phase. We currently accept submissions in the following forms:

-Completed chamber operas (a 10-15 minutes' excerpt or the whole opera if under 20 minutes will be performed), or
-Chamber operas that is being composed in progress, and a 10-15 minutes' excerpt will be finished by April 16th if selected, or
-Pre-composed operas in different instrumentation, but the composer is willing to arrange it to our ensemble's instrumentation, and a 10-15 minutes' excerpt will be finished by April 16th if selected.



P.S. In some cases, slight alternations of the instrumentation will be accepted -- however, we prefer to stick with our original setting to bring composers efficient rehearsal experience and high-level performances.

Travel and Accommodation:
Attendance to the Operation Opera in Ann Arbor is required. Thanks for the support from EXCEL lab, 4CE will be able to provide refreshments during the festival. Unfortunately, composers will have to find their own funding to cover other expenses such as travel, accommodation, and meals.

 Opera From Scratch
Summary:Opera Workshop
Deadline: 30 March 2018
Date Posted: 25 January 2018
Details: An exclusive 1 week opera composition workshop for composers and singers.
August 12th - 19th, 2018 from 10am - 8pm
Dalhousie’s Fountain School of Performing Arts, Halifax, NS

Opera From Scratch is a one week long workshop which allows six composers and six singers to develop six 10 minute operas for solo voice and piano. Composers are asked to base their mini-opera concerning a Nova Scotia theme of cultural or historic significance. Each composer will be expected to complete their work six weeks prior to the workshop, and each singer will be required to learn one work before attending. Composers will be paired with singers during the 1st week of April 2018. Tuition is $600 (CAD) for the week and does not include lodging, food, travel.

During Opera from Scratch, the six mini-operas will be intensively workshopped in consultation with a senior composer/mentor and singing teacher in private daily sessions, as well as a private round table for the composition students. A resident pianist will be available for private rehearsals and masterclasses. Lectures, acting classes, and round tables will be given by a new music singing specialist, dramaturge, and a theatre director. Both composers and singers will be expected to attend each other's lessons in order to gain insight into each other's creative process. Masterclasses will be available to all participants.

Senior Canadian composer James Rolfe will serve as our mentor for the week. Mr. Rolfe is a perfect choice for this workshop, having recently won the Louis Applebaum Composers Award for his outstanding work in the field of opera, and he is well known for his first opera – Beatrice Chancy, with libretto by George Elliott Clarke. Mr. Rolfe will have individual sessions with each composer during the week as well as offering master classes for the singers.

Opera from Scratch is an organic/collaborative process where the composers and singers are exposed to each others’ methods, resulting in a better understanding of the depth of thought, creativity, and effort that goes into creating even a short work, from both the composer's and singer's perspective. Singers often have reservations about performing new works, but an intimate exchange such as this will help composers approach singers in ways that relax them and help them overcome their fears.

Above all, singers need to understand exactly what the composer intends, and composers need to understand how to write for different voice types and communicate their intent to singers. We hope that this intensive week of Opera from Scratch workshops will assist both in this regard – and perhaps sow the seeds for a whole new generation of exciting Canadian and International operas.

Opera From Scratch has legs:

The mini operas premiered during Opera From Scratch have been performed around the world:

Maureen Batt has performed and work shopped Monica Pearse' Aunt Helen several times over the past year, including in Vancouver at the Art Song Lab, in Toronto on the CMC's 13th Street Winery Piano Series, and in Parrsboro as part of the Classics By The Bay Festival. She has also include it on a Canadian/American tour with stops in Toronto and Philadelphia.

1000 Paper Cranes by Rita Ueda has been performed by the Erato Ensemble in Vancouver last May and she has written and expanded version for the Chamber Sounds opera company in Singapore which was performed last August.

Adam Scime's Images of John A. Wilson has been performed on 5 separate occasions since Opera From Scratch 2012, including a concert in Toronto's Music Gallery Emergents Series.

Janice Jackson performed Sandy Moore's Escape To Freedom on October 25th, 2013 at the Creative Nova Scotia Gala Awards.

Supported by the Socan Foundation


 Opera Kansas Presents the Zepick Modern Opera Composition Contest
Summary:Children's Opera Competition
Deadline: 30 April 2018
Date Posted: 11 January 2018
Details: A competition for a new opera suitable for children from 3rd to 5th grade, or eight to ten years old.

Cast Requirements: Two to four adult singers

Accompaniment: Piano with optional obligato instruments

Length: 30 to 35 minutes

Libretto Requirements: An opera with a focus on the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math curriculum is preferred. A history based subject would also be appropriate. Special consideration will be given to operas with Kansas ties. Subject matter must be appropriate to fit in an elementary school setting.

The ideal opera will be one that includes participation from the classroom; for example, a short chorus or percussion section to be prepared by students ahead of time or other audience participation prepared during the performance.

Award and Performance Restrictions: The winner of the STEAM Opera Composition Contest will receive a cash prize of $2,000.00. Opera Kansas will retain all performance rights to the show for a period of five years. Deadlines: March 1, 2018. Submit the following:

1. a recording (MIDI is acceptable)
2. 1 complete PDF Score
3. 1 “BLIND” PDF score free of all identifiers of the composer

Electronic submission are preferred and accepted via
By post to P.O. Box 8811, Wichita KS, 67208

Award Announcement: April 30, 2018

 “Key to the Future” – Opera Composition Competition 2018
Deadline: 22 August 2018
Date Posted: 02 August 2017
Details: Objectives of the Competition: Creating a forum for and drawing attention to new "popular operas" conceived in the spirit of the Artistic Manifesto of Bartók Plus Opera Festival, that are capable of luring back large audiences to the opera house.
Eligibility of Applicants: Any natural persons who are contemporary composers can submit their work to the competition, irrespective of their nationality, country of residence or age. The competition is not “anonymous” - one can only apply with full name and address.

Advertiser of the Competition: Miskolci Operafesztivál Nonprofit Kft. (Seat: 3525 Miskolc, Déryné u. 1; Reg. No: Cg: 05-09-016624, represented by Beáta Farkas, managing director). The Advertiser intends to advertise the Competition on a yearly basis, in accordance with its means and purposes, first in the year 2012.
Works to be submitted: Completed Work not yet performed on stage with an orchestra. There are no restrictions concerning the topic, language and the length of the Work. One composer can submit several Works and several authors can submit one joint Work.

Preliminary Registration and the Application Process: Application is possible by submitting the Application Form downloaded from the website. In the course of Preliminary Registration, this Application Form should be sent to the email address Completion of each point of the Application Form is mandatory.

The amount of the Application Fee: 150 EUR, payable to Advertiser's following bank account at OTP Bank: HU44 1176 3347 5721 7886 0000 0000.

Submission of the Work: Application documents can only be sent by way of postal delivery.

The following information should be indicated on the envelope, postal parcel etc.
• The name of the Advertiser: Miskolci Operafesztivál Nonprofit Kft.
• Its postal address: Miskolci Operafesztivál Nonprofit Kft., 3501 Miskolc, Pf. 634
• The name of the Competition: “Key to the Future” – Opera Composition Competition
• The Sender, in other words the Applicant

Materials to be submitted:
1., The full score of the Work on paper and electronic media.
2., A synopsis of the Work summarising the story in maximum 1 page in A/4 format.
3., The duly signed original copy of the Application Form.
4., The banking document verifying transfer of the Application Fee to Advertiser’s bank account.

In addition to the Work (score) Applicants may choose to submit (non-mandatory):
• The Orchestral Part of the Work, but in case the Work is shortlisted for the Finals, within 5 working days from the receipt of the notification thereof; Applicant shall submit the finished Orchestral Part to the Advertiser by electronic mail.
• Any other Sound Recording.

Application deadline: 00:00 hours CET, 22nd August, 2018 The Application Deadline means Delivery to the Advertiser of the Competition.

Professional pre-selection: Works will be judged by a professional Jury consisting of 4-7 experts. The Jury will select 3 or more of the submitted Works that they consider to be most in compliance with the principles of the Artistic Manifesto of Bartók Plus Opera Festival. These Works shall be the Finalists in the competition.

The decision of the professional Jury and the list of the Works shortlisted for the Finals shall be published on 1st October, 2018, on the website.

Advertiser shall have Works shortlisted for the Finals performed at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in partially staged versions with piano accompaniment in the fourth quarter of the year 2018.
The Jury will select and Advertiser will announce the winning Work from the pieces performed in the Finals at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music.

The Winner will be announced on the website within 1 working day following the performance at the Academy.

Advertiser will present the entire winning Work in a fully staged opera performance with orchestra at the festival in Miskolc in the year following that of the Competition. Advertiser, however, is not obliged to have the winning Work performed at the Miskolc Opera Festival.

Prizes and Usage Rights: Each Work shortlisted for the Finals will be awarded 1500 EUR.

The winning Work will be awarded additional sum of 4000 EUR and the Advertiser will use its means and purposes to present this Work in a fully staged complete opera performance, at the Bartók Plus Opera Festival the following year.

Usage rights of the Works are treated in detail in the Competition Call:

All payments related to the Competition Prizes shall be effectuated until 31st January, 2019. Payment of all prizes shall be effectuated by Advertiser to the bank accounts specified in the Application Form. Taxation shall be in accordance with the legal regulations effective with respect to the Applicants’ nationality or country of residence.

Further questions about the Competition, Participation Criteria or Application Documents can be addressed to: Sára Szakács, Competition Secretary, at the following email address:
Entry Fee:€150

 Sarasota Opera Request For Submission of New Youth Works
Summary:Opera for Young People
Deadline: None
Date Posted: 15 April 2015
Details: Sarasota Opera is pleased to invite composers to submit works for a new opera for possible production in November 2017 by Sarasota Youth Opera, one of the most comprehensive programs in the United States.

This invitation is open to any living composer or librettist, of any age, who is a United States citizen.

The submission deadline is Wednesday, September 30, 2015, at 5 pm.

Click HERE to download submission form

About Sarasota Youth Opera:

Since 1984, Sarasota Youth Opera (SYO) has given young people age 8 to 18 an opportunity to experience the magic of opera through participation in after-school choruses, Sarasota Opera mainstage productions, summer workshops, and the Youth Opera's own full-scale productions.

Regarded as a leader in the commissioning and producing of works for young voices, SYO is the only program in the United States committed to presenting annual, full-scale opera productions for young voices with professional musicians, direction, and costume and scenic design.

Since 1986, five commissioned world premieres and over 20 additional youth opera productions have been presented. Past commissions include:

2012 Little Nemo in Slumberland (music by Daron Hagen, libretto by J.D. McClatchy)
2004 The Language of Birds (music by John Kennedy, libretto by Peter Krask)
1998 Eye of Ra (music by Tom Suta, libretto by Diana Colson)
1993 Her Lightness (music and libretto by Polly Pen)
1989 Deadline

Our most recent commission, Little Nemo in Slumberland, featured over 106 young people and used a ground-breaking projection technology called SCRIBE (Self-Contained Rapidly Integratable Background Environment) to bring Winsor McCay’s comic strips to life. Since it’s 2012 premiere, Little Nemo in Slumberland has been performed by The University of Kentucky Opera Theatre, Tulsa Youth Opera, La Sierra University, and Pittsburgh High School for the Performing Arts.

In November 2014, SYO presented Dean Burry’s The Hobbit. Based on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, this classic adventure was brought to life with a cast of over 95 young people and 12 professional musicians on the stage of the Sarasota Opera House.

Both Little Nemo in Slumberland and The Hobbit performed to sold-out audiences.


-English Libretto
-60 minutes of playing time. One Intermission optional.
-10 to 15 solo youth roles in treble voice
-Optional 1 to 3 adult players. Adults may portray more than one character.
-SSAB youth chorus ensemble that is featured predominately throughout the work
-Chamber orchestration of no more than 13 instruments, may include piano
-Roles with specific physical requirements are best avoided
-Entirely sung (minimal spoken narration or dialog optional)


"Sarasota Opera is dedicated to performing classic works of opera in a manner that is true to the composer’s intentions. In the years that we have been doing productions with our Youth Opera, I have found there are few works of substantial musical value for young people to perform. In our desire to increase the repertoire we are looking for music that is rooted in the classic music style, reflecting how that music is written today without the influence of other genres such musical theater, jazz or other popular idioms.

"The Youth Opera was begun as a way to get young people interested in art music. The works we are looking for should help achieve that goal and be musically sophisticated enough to appeal to adults while still accessible to children."

--Maestro Victor DeRenzi
Artistic Director, Sarasota Opera


-Copyright clearance must obtained prior to entry
-Submissions must be unpublished works not currently accepted by a publisher for publication or rental
-Works may have been workshopped, but should not have received a premiere performance
-Works should show an awareness of the practical realities of rehearsal and performance
-Sarasota Opera will hold the rights for the premiere performances and one subsequent production


-Piano-Vocal format
-Minimum 30% complete (approximately 20 minutes of music)
-Submission must include at least one (1) chorus ensemble number
-Each composer may submit up to three (3) works
-Manuscripts should be legible if hand-written

Submission should include:
-Submission Form
-Letter of Introduction
-PDF of PV and Libretto
-Each score must have a title page containing characters, voice types, and brief synopsis for proposed work
-If submitted in hard copy, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for return
-Inclusion of a recording of work-shopped scenes, full opera, or midi recording is optional

If no entry is deemed appropriate, the panel reserves the right to not make a selection and no fee will be awarded.

Submissions May Be Sent To:

Sarasota Opera
New Youth Works Submission
61 N. Pineapple Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236

Materials may be submitted electronically via this Dropbox link: Submit Materials.

If submitting electronically, please include “Composer Last Name, Composer First Name” at the beginning of each file name (eg: "Doe_Jane_Opera_Title").


September 2015 Submission Deadline
December 2015 Finalists Announced
May 2016 Finalists Submitted Completed PV
August 2016 Final Selection(s) Announced – Winner(s) Complete Orchestration
November 2017 Premiere Production


Composer $15,000
Librettist $10,000
Composer/Librettist (wrote both) $20,000