Mellon Foundation Awards Opera Theatre of Saint Louis $1 Million Challenge Grant

The Opera Theatre of Saint Louis has announced a $1 million challenge grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that will help underwrite a three-year cycle of world premiere operas by American composers.

The cycle will begin with Champion, an opera in jazz by Terence Blanchard, with libretto by Michael Cristofer, that was co-commissioned by Jazz St. Louis for the company's 2013 festival season in May; followed by Twenty-Seven by Ricky Ian Gordon, with libretto by Michael Korie, in 2014; and Shalimar the Clown by Jack Perla, based on the novel by Salman Rushdie, in 2015.

In addition to the leadership gift from Mellon, the production of Champion will be funded in part by the Whitaker Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Phoebe Dent Weil.

"Opera has lately entered an exuberant era of new works," said Opera Theatre general director Timothy O'Leary, "and Opera Theatre is excited to build on a thirty-seven-year tradition of adventurous programming. We call this cycle New Works, Bold Voices, recognizing these tremendous composers, librettists, and singers, as well as the courageous characters they will depict."

"Opera Theatre Announces New Works, Bold Voices." Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Press Release 10/29/2012.