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opera/music theatre Competitions & Call for pieces

 New Opera West
Summary:Call for opera scenes
Deadline: 15 September 2019
Date Posted: 25 July 2019
Details: New Opera West is currently accepting composer submissions for NOW’s upcoming November 17th, 2019 “pop-up” opera performance in Los Angeles.

• Open to all composers regardless of age or nationality.
• Opera scenes of about 5-10 minutes in length.
• The scene may be on any topic.
• Text must be in English.
• Scenes may be excerpted from a longer piece, but they must stand on their own with a complete, coherent dramatic arc.
• 2-3 characters of standard voice type (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone) in any combination. It is best if each character is a distinct voice type, but it’s not required.
• Piano accompaniment.
• Any staging requirements should be minimal. There will be no set, and props should be limited to easily acquired items.
• Selected composers will have their scene performed by professional singers on the November 17 performance in Los Angeles with the possibility of further performances throughout the LA area.

• There is no application fee.
• Score should be in PDF format. Ideally, scores should be notated in Finale, Sibelius, or a similar computer notation program.
• If possible, include an mp3 audio recording (MIDI realization acceptable).
• Deadline is September 15, 2019.
• Selected composers will be notified in early October.
• Unfortunately, NOW cannot provide housing or travel costs.
• PDF scores and audio files should be sent to: with “[LAST NAME, FIRST NAME]: NOW November Pop-up” in the subject line.
o Example: SMITH, EMMA: NOW November Pop-up
Any questions may be submitted to

 International Call for Proposals for the 2020 Zepick Modern Opera Commission
Summary:Opera opportunity
Deadline: 01 September 2019
Date Posted: 17 July 2019
Details: Expiration of Opportunity: September 2, 2019

Opera Kansas brings innovative, affordable and accessible opera to communities and schools throughout Kansas, while providing emerging musicians artistic opportunities in a respectful, professional environment. Opera Kansas introduces the art form of opera to thousands. In 2016, Opera Kansas, with the patronage of Dr. Lyle and Debi Zepick, created the Zepick Modern Opera Competition. This competition has yielded exciting new chamber operas in 2016 and 2018. Opera Kansas and the Zepicks believe that the next step for this program is to collaboratively create a work with a composer to be premiered in 2020.



Compensation: $25,000.00

Selected composers will receive a premiere, a professional recording (audio and video) of the live performance, features on our website and social media, and the possibility of future performances. Expenses for attendance at premiere performance September 2020 will be covered. Composer will also have opportunity for lectures at local universities and audience events leading up to the premiere performance.


This call for proposals is open to anyone who defines him/her/themself as a composer of music.


A 1-2 act chamber opera, not to exceed 60 minutes in duration. Music should be thematic, melodic and accessible tonally to the inexperienced ear. Style could range from traditional classical to rock, jazz, R&B, or other. Text must be in English. Strong consideration will be given to compositions/proposals that include definable arias/duets, etc.


The subject matter of the drama should center around the concept that “the unexamined life is not worth living” (James Baldwin). This concept should lead the main character(s) through a life altering experience or crisis of conscience to living a life of service and affecting change in their community and/or the world. Historical events or well known stories from literature that embrace this theme and that have endured through time will allow the composer to “jump into the action” without a lot of backstory to bring the audience up to speed. Examples such as John Newton a British slave trader turned abolitionist minister and author of Amazing Grace or Margaret Dryburgh, missionary to Singapore, interned in a camp in Sumatra during WWII, who created a vocal orchestra by transcribing orchestral works from memory and is the subject of the 1997 film Paradise Road. A contemporary example would be Malala Yousafzai.


September 2, 2019, 11:59PM Central Standard Time


3-5 voices: Voicing choices should be considerate of the limitations that often face small to medium sized companies, i.e. Countertenors are difficult to find. Please be practical in your choices especially considering we hope this work will be reproduced by other companies similar to ours and in university settings.

2-4 Instruments: piano is required. Instrumentations should also be considerate of the limitations that often face small to medium sized companies and university settings, virtuosity should be kept in check. A piano reduction will be required in the final draft for rehearsal purposes.

Content of submission:

Font: Times New Roman Pt. 12

Please include the following in one e-mail:

A 1-page (300 words) bio (PDF), including your most current contact information, website(s), and social media handles.
A Curriculum Vitae (PDF) maximum 3 pages.
A 1 – 3 page (PDF) description of your proposed new work. Possible elements to consider are structure of the work, instrumentation (full or subset), duration (45 minutes minimum 60 minutes maximum). If you have research or bibliographical information to include please provide in a separate document.
Please include, in a SEPARATE DOCUMENT FROM YOUR PROPOSAL, the full text only if the libretto is available, or a synopsis of the story that you would like to use in the proposed work, proof of public domain or permission to use the text or story.
Previous Work Examples: 2 – 3 samples of PDF scores AND audio files of your previous work. (MIDI is not acceptable)
Please provide 2-3 examples of vocal or instrumental motivic ideas (6-8 measures, or 10-15 seconds) that you would feature in this specific opera project. (MIDI recordings are acceptable for these examples only)
Timeline of the project:

Proposals accepted until September 1, 2019, 11:59 Central Standard Time
Proposals will be reviewed and the selected composer will be notified by October 15th, 2019.
February 15, 2020 First Draft due for score review.
April 15, 2020 Second Draft due for score review
Final draft due by July 1, 2020
Rehearsals for a September 2020 performance will begin in July 2020.
Please submit proposals to:

Please use the subject heading: Call for Proposals Zepick Modern Opera 2020: “Your Name”


Please don’t hesitate to ask! Send any inquiries to: and please visit for more information about what we do and who we are. We are looking forward to reviewing your work!

Published date:

1 July 2019

 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