Opera America offers grants to ‘composers and librettists of color’

From the press release:

Beginning in 2019, two grants will be awarded annually to composer-librettist teams. Each team will receive up to $12,500 to advance its work through workshops, readings or other developmental activities. OPERA America will also provide financial resources for each team to work with professional videographers and editors to create professional videos for promotional purposes. IDEA Opera Grant recipients will be introduced to leading opera producers through special presentations at OPERA America’s New Works Forum and annual conference, via social media, and in Opera America magazine.

“OPERA America is uniquely positioned as the field’s convener and connector to advance the careers of the most talented creative artists,” declared Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “IDEA Opera Grants enable us to identify and support the development of new works by emerging composers and librettists of color. By facilitating their work, we will help enrich the art form with new creative voices.”


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  • How about leaving it at “Opera America offers grants to ‘composers and librettists'”? Anyone with anything worthy, hopefully, to show will come forth, color-blind.

    • The announcement says they want to reach out to new groups to “enrich the art form with new creative voices.” To be more specific, this could lead to the creation of new *stories,* something opera and theater need. By focusing their funding in this manner, they are probably increasing the chances of finding meaningful new expression.

  • Well-intended, but basically racist. Maybe a new term for such initiatives has to be developed, like ‘compensatory racism’.

      • Not everybody subscribes to the Marxist interpretation of racism. You can’t divide a population neatly into oppressed and oppressor on the basis of race.

        Surely a programme aimed at all underprivileged people, regardless of race, would be preferable? It would catch all deserving cases, not just those who prove useful to compulsive virtue signallers.

        • Given the history of slavery in the New World, and its effects which continue to this day, it is ridiculous to say that one can’t recognize oppression on the basis of race. Furthermore, this oppression is the basis of stories that need to be told, hence the nature of the program mentioned above.

          • So, for example, white people who arrived in the New World after slavery, from countries that had no involvement in slavery, should be denied assistance on the basis of their race?

            I actually find that quite disgusting.

          • Oh Allen, that really sounds silly on its face. Aw, those poor white people who had no involvement in slavery! (Which, of course, turns out to be every white person living today!)

            Seems to me that anyone or any group that wants to create a grant program for a specific population has a right to do that within any legal constraints.

          • Its the privilege of those who don’t believe they are capable of winning on merit to try to get a “set aside”.

          • “those poor white people who had no involvement in slavery! (Which, of course, turns out to be every white person living today!)”

            I didn’t say that. It is quite clear that I was referring to arrivals after slavery (ie: no historical association with slavery in the US) and people from countries which had no historical involvement in slavery.

            I didn’t bring up slavery and its lasting effects in the first instance but, if you’re only interested in the present day, you could also say that there are no slaves around either (in the sense referred to by William Osborne).

            Read it again, more carefully this time.

          • One hopes that the day would come when certain people would start taking responsibility for their own actions and stop blaming somebody else for their ineptitude and constantly demand handouts.

          • You need to read some of the work of Dr.Thomas Sowell to see the stupidity of your comments.

      • I always thought racism is, nothing more and nothing less, the (wrong) labelling people according to their ‘race’ i.e. biological formation.

        So, it seems that William is right:




        Most disagreements around racism ‘…. flow from the fundamental differences between individualist mindsets and collectivist mindsets.’ And with the best of intentions, fighting racism may produce the problem of ‘……. wielding anti-white prejudice in order to seek power’.


        • Racism is no more than labeling people according to their race?

          REALLY??? REALLY??????

          Maybe you need to enter the real world and meet with families of people who were lynched because of their race. Or people who were discriminated against because of their race.

          Your theoretical constructs are really quite amusing and betray a real ignorance of the subject, not to mention the real outcomes of racism.

          • A correct reading of my comment would have revealed my correction of an initial, literal interpretation of the term, and a differentiation of the subject (by following the links).

            By the way, ‘white’ is also a colour.

          • How many more hundreds of years are you going to play the victim? You realize, don’t you, that it’s only yourself you’re hurting now? (Oh, that would be a stretch – self awareness not the strong suit of the Left).

      • No, silly, those are the conditions of a racist society. Racism is showing different treatment to one group of people than another.

      • I know a Japanese language student who has been violently mugged no less than three times by “people of color”. She is very short, vulnerable, and tells me that it is a problem she and her Japanese and Korean friends are well aware of.

        According to you, even if she is being selected on the basis of race, it cannot be racism. Perhaps you could explain to me what it is then? I look forward to passing on your explanation.

        • Racism and discrimination are wide-spread, also within coloured populations. On the Indian/Pakistani subcontinent, the darker your skin, the more you are discriminated against.

      • Nope. Here is the dictionary definition: “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.” You don’t get to make up definitions.

      • They are straightforwardly specified according to skin colour. Which refers to simple labelling. While such initiatives are entirely recommendable, I think it is somehow simplistic, and defining the selection process as being racial, which may suggest bypassing the question of interest and quality – works should not be considered interesting or good because of the skin colour of its makers. Maybe better would have been: open to everybody but people of colour are especially encouraged to apply, and that in the selection process an extra point is weighed when applicants are people of colour.

  • “To be eligible to apply, both the librettist and the composer for each work must identify as African, Latinx, Arab, Asian or Native American (ALAANA) and have U.S. citizenship, permanent residence or DACA status.” In other words, no Jews need apply.

    • And it is definitely discriminatory. No whites, no Jews. But as discriminatory as football teams, rugby teams, and the Roman Catholic clergy.

    • I’m white but I’ve got one leg shorter than the other. Will I qualify? I think I’m trans too; just in case you’re uncertain.

    • There are a lot of Asian Jews (converts after marriage, adoption), not to mention the Kaifeng Jews in the Henan province of China.

  • A pathetic approach by a pathetic organization in a dying field. Can’t wait to see and hear the crap the comes out of this initiative.

  • sorry, no such thing as an Arab Jew. Once there were Jews who lived in predominantly Arabic-speaking countries. They were all forced to emigrate. African Jews? are those the Jews living in R of South Africa? Note that it does not say “African American”. Granted, it is possible to be a Latinx Jew. But given that the list is intended to be “people of color”, I can’t see why an Arab is included, and a Jew is not.

    • Well, this is indeed tricky, since the organization is sort of focusing on skin color, but not really. It’s true that relatively pale Jews, such as myself, are pale as the result of centuries of rape in Europe. Maybe that paleness should be overlooked. Similarly, my father, with his olive skin and black hair, was more a person of color than most Latinos I’ve known. Affirmative action programs often have to walk this kind of tightrope. Anyway, back to Arab Jews. Until recently there were pockets of Jews living in Arab states. Most left but identify a Arab Jews because they are Jews who were born and raised in Arab states and look no different than their Gentile neighbors.

    • I was going to write something about African Jews, but it’s obvious that you didn’t even bother to do the most basic of research before writing posting your comments (google is your friend), so I gather informed discussion is not really your aim, but polemic, just Jews as bait.

    • There is something morbidly ironic about the self-appointed curators of perhaps the most quintessentially European art form discriminating against practitioners of that art with European descent.

  • Excellent! Discrimination to non-blacks. Imagine an all-white composition competition… imagine the outrage!
    Positive discrimination sums up double discrimination.

  • Anyone can “self-identify” as Black (or anything else). So someone who claims to consider himself “black” can apply. There is no way to prove someone is not “black”, or indeed, any other race.

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