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opera/music theatre Competitions & Call for pieces

 Fight for the Right
Summary:Opera Opportunity
Deadline: 01 January 2018
Date Posted: 27 September 2017
Details: Fight for the Right is a global commissioning competition for composer and librettist teams to create original music dramas based on themes of women's education. The winning entry in the competition will receive a full mainstage production during Pittsburgh Festival Opera's summer festival in 2019.

Malala Yousafzai
Michelle Obama
Oprah Winfrey
Rudy Bridges
The kidnapped Chibok girls
Your next-door neighbor?

These women, among many others, have changed the narrative of women's education. What will be your story? We want to amplify girls’ and women’s voices, offer them a platform to imagine, speak, sing, and write about what they can change, what they can achieve, and how they can better their lives through access to education. Only the educated are free. Help change the world through music and drama. Women composer/librettist teams are especially encouraged to apply.


Applicants will submit online:
• A work sample of vocal writing by the composer (aria, art song, opera scene, etc.): score and recording (preferred) or MIDI file.
• A work sample of dramatic writing by the librettist (libretto or play preferred): a complete work is preferred. Excerpts will be accepted.
• A synopsis of the proposed story dealing with women or girls and their journey to overcome obstacles in their wish to transform their lives through education, either formal or informal. Stories may be fictional or based on actual people and events. Read more under "Details and Guidelines. (1,000 words max.)
• A description of the concept and motivations for applying, answering the specific questions found here
• Headshots, resumes, and bio information for the creative team
• A $25 application fee

• January 1 2018 Deadline to submit proposal.
• February 1 2018 Semifinalists are notified.
• Spring 2018 Semifinalists write libretto and write and orchestrate one scene.
• Summer 2018 Scenes are workshopped in Pittsburgh. A finalist is chosen.
• Fall 2018-Spring 2019 Finalists complete their work
• Summer 2019 Finalists' work is presented as a mainstage production


Semifinalist teams receive:
$1,000 total for the composer(s), $500 total for the librettist(s), a travel stipend and free housing in Pittsburgh for the workshop period (June/July 2018)
Semifinalists will be featured in a crowdfunding campaign in spring 2018 and will receive a percentage of the funds raised.

Finalist teams receive:
An additional $4,000 for composer, an additional $2,000 for the librettist, a full production in the 2019 season, a travel stipend, and free housing in Pittsburgh for the production period (June/July 2019)

• Applicants will submit materials by Monday 1 January 2018.
• Four submissions will be selected as semifinalists and notified in early 2018. These four creative teams will work to write the full libretto and compose and orchestrate a scene from the work to be workshopped at the 2018 summer festival in Pittsburgh. Based on the workshop process and scenes presentation at the festival, one piece will be selected for a full production in the 2019 festival.
• The story must focus on, in some way, women or girls and their journey to overcome obstacles in their wish to transform their lives through education, either formal or informal. Stories may be fictional or based on actual people and events. Stories can address a fight to be educated against all odds. Consider Ruby Bridges, Malala, or a local single mother attending night school. Stories could explore a conflict that arises by a girl's wish to learn and grow in a reactionary community. Consider the Chibok school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. Stories could examine the struggle of a Western woman married to a Middle Eastern man, who has certain views of a woman's place in the world. Perhaps the story follows a young African girl's journey to become a doctor in order to help fight against the practice of FGM. There are many possibilities for subject matter—the story must simply be relevant to women's Fight for the Right to education.
• Composers may write their own librettos. Multiple submissions from the same teams will be accepted, but they must submit a new application for each additional work.

For semifinalists:
• There is no specific length requirement for the full libretto. The finalist's full 2019 production may not last longer than 2 hours and 30 minutes.
• The piece may have a maximum of 12 roles (including chorus members) and the cast must be at least 50% women.
• Music can be written in any style, as long as it serves the story. Pittsburgh Festival Opera has produced a rich variety of works in the past, including many newly commissioned music dramas, jazz and gospel operas, contemporary 'classical' works and reimagined traditional operatic works.
• Operas can be written with an accompanying ensemble of up to 15 instruments in mind. Once selected, semifinalists will work to orchestrate their workshop selections. Semifinalists should discuss the use of nontraditional orchestral instruments with the PFO artistic staff. Composers retain the copyright of submitted works, but Pittsburgh Festival Opera retains the right to produce the works for five years from submission without royalty payment.
• All submitted works will be added to a database used by universities and opera companies seeking composers and new works. Arrangements with other companies will be between the artists and those companies; Pittsburgh Festival Opera will not be involved.

Visit to apply. Application will go live shortly.

Submissions must be received by Monday 1 January 2018 at 11:59 pm.

Please email with questions.


 “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