The 96-Hour Opera Project
The 96-Hour Opera Project: Stories that Resonate is a composition showcase and competition in which teams of composers and librettists will create completely new and compelling 10-minute operas. The competition is designed specifically for composers and librettists from historically underrepresented communities. The 96-Hour Opera Project is only open to those who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, Arab-American, Latin-American or other communities of color.
Each creative team will create their operas from a single historical theme presented by this year’s story partner, the Atlanta History Center. Founded in 1926, the Atlanta History Center is dedicated to the curation and preservation of the rich history of Atlanta and its surrounding communities.
Morehouse College will host the final showcase in partnership with The Atlanta Opera. The event in June 2023 will be held at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse College, School of Music. Tickets to this showcase will be made available later this season.
The Rich Foundation
About the Competition
Participating teams will travel to Atlanta on June 8 having previously completed and submitted new works based on one historical theme from this season’s Stories that Resonate story partner, the Atlanta History Center. They will spend four days collaborating with singers, pianists, and creatives rehearsing and fine tuning these works in advance of the final showcase. Travel, housing, singers, pianists, and space will be provided to each composer/librettist team. The winning team will split a $10,000 prize, which will serve as the first installment on a commission to write a chamber opera for a future season at the Atlanta Opera. All other participating artists are guaranteed a $1,000 honorarium.
Designed specifically for composers and librettists from historically underrepresented communities, the competition is only open to those who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, Arab-American, Latin-American or other communities of color.
The four-day competition runs from June 8 to June 12. The showcase will be hosted in partnership with Morehouse College, School of Music. The finals will be open to the public and will be held at the Ray Charles Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, June 12.
The Atlanta Opera provides singing talent and a pianist, plus a treasure trove of background information from the Stories that Resonate partner organization to spark imagination.
“The 96-Hour Opera Project expands the canvas on what is possible in opera. By representing voices that were traditionally unrepresented in the opera canon, we can rejoice in the power of story.”
Andrea Davis Pinkney
Judge, The 2022 96-Hour Opera Project
“The opportunity to create, workshop and explore solutions right on the spot was an invaluable element of this program. That paired with all the fantastic networking made it an excellent program.”
Participant, The 2022 96-Hour Opera Project
“The 96-Hour Opera Project is an ambitious, unique initiative that is striving to connect directly with the greater Atlanta community. Atlanta Opera is breaking new ground with this competition and other companies would do well to follow suit.”
Participant, The 2022 96-Hour Opera Project
2022 Winning Team
Marcus Norris’ first foray into making music came in the form of producing rap beats on pirated software, installed on a Windows 98 computer that he Macgyvered together from spare parts while laying on the floor of his childhood bedroom. Though he came to composing concert music later, he transferred that same imagination and ingenuity to writing music of all kinds. Marcus has been called aRead More
“New Musical Talent in our Midst” by Chicago’s N’digo Magazine, and has made a number of achievements, including being selected as an inaugural Composer-in-Residence for the Chicago Philharmonic from 2021-24, being awarded the prestigious Cota-Robles fellowship for pursuing his PhD in Music Composition at UCLA, and being chosen in 2020 for the LA Philharmonic’s National Composers Intensive. His violin concerto “GLORY” opened to three sold-out performances when premiered by the Jackson Symphony Orchestra in 2019, and then was subsequently performed in Guangzhou, China later that year. In 2020 Marcus founded South Side Symphony, which recently recorded the original score for the feature film “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.” starring Regina Hall & Sterling K. Brown, written and directed by Adamma Ebo. South Side Symphony remains the only orchestra that would perform “Back That Thang Up” on the same concert as Beethoven.
Adamma Ebo is American-Nigerian writer/director, who completed her first feature film project HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL. in 2021. The film is produced by her identical twin sister Adanne Ebo, alongside 59% (Daniel Kaluuya’s production company), and starring Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown. She is also writing partners with her producer/twin sister, and together theirRead More
TV writing credits include the upcoming Amazon series MR & MRS SMITH run by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Donald Glover, and Julie Plec’s GIRLS ON THE BUS for Netflix/WBTV. Adamma and her sister are developing their animated pilot spec SUPASHAWTY GIRLS, FUNKAMATIC BANGBANG at 20th Television Animation with Tiffany Haddish producing, and their live action pilot spec SUPPLY, 404 at MRC with Gloria Sanchez producing. They are also writing an episode for the upcoming anthology series STRANGE ADVENTURES with DC Entertainment/WBTV, and Adamma recently directed an episode of FX’s ATLANTA. Adamma is a Spelman College and UCLA Film School graduate. She is also a 2019 Sundance Episodic Lab fellow, and 2019 Sundance Screenwriting fellow.
Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General & Artistic Director
“The diversity of Atlanta—racial, ethnic, cultural—is the reason for the vibrancy and richness of this city. We want diversity to be a vital part of every aspect of our company and reflect the city we call home. This new initiative will achieve two major goals: sharing inspirational stories that reflect the multicultural history of Atlanta and amplifying the voices of diverse artists.”
Frequently Asked Questions
A composition showcase and competition in which teams of composers and librettists have four days to direct and stage completely new and compelling 10-minute operas.
The showcase will be hosted in partnership with Morehouse College, School of Music. The finals will be open to the public and will be held at the Ray Charles Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, June 12, 2023. The finals will include a special commemorative performance.
The Atlanta History Center will assist the opera in providing a compelling story theme for the participating librettists and composers. The theme will be given to the creative teams in advance of the competition with time to engage in collaborative discussion and exploration. The stories will fall into broad categories, paired with applicants based on interests identified in the application.
This year’s competition is designed specifically for composers and librettists from historically underrepresented communities, the 96-Hour Project is only open to those who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, Arab-American, Latin-American or other communities of color. We are only able to accept permanent residents and citizens of the United States for this project.
There is no age range or limit for applying, but composers and librettists who are in the early stages of their careers are encouraged to participate. Artists may have acquired significant skills in academic or professional settings, but have not had works performed regularly.
We’ll provide an option to pair artists, based on their experience and interests.
All participating teams will travel to Atlanta after preparing their works in advance of the program. Travel (airfare or mileage reimbursement), housing, singers, pianists and space will be provided to each composer/librettist team in order to showcase their new mini-operas.
Submissions will be evaluated based off of artistic excellence or the potential for artistic excellence, artistic ability, knowledge of both vocal and orchestral writing (composers), and character development (librettists).
Judges for the competition will be announced soon!
• Day one: Duos of composers and librettists arrive in Atlanta. Introductions and music rehearsal.
• Day two: Rehearsal and staging
• Day three: Coaching, mentorship with judges, and final prep
• Day four: Performance and judging
Artists will work with our Story Partner to refine and explore their story prompts in the month leading up to the event.
We’ll invite the community to witness the performances on Monday, June 12th. The Atlanta Opera Film Studio is working to determine broader distribution.
The Atlanta Opera Film Studio will produce a mini-series that will be released both on our streaming platform and with broadcasting partners.