96-Hour Opera Project

Applications are now open to composers and librettists!


Now in its third season, the 96-Hour Opera Festival celebrates the artistry of emerging creative talents and offers a path into the art of opera. Launched as the 96-Hour Opera Project, the Festival expanded from the original composition competition to include developmental workshops and incubator performances of works by past competition winners. The competition remains the heart of the Festival and pairs composers and librettists to write ten-minute operas. Bringing their completed works to Atlanta, the creative teams are allowed 96 hours to rehearse and develop their productions with guidance from specialists in the field from June 14 through 17, 2024.

On Monday, June 17, 2024, a public showcase will present the ten-minute operas at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse College, and a winning team is selected by a distinguished group of judges. All selected participants will receive a $1000 honorarium. The Atlanta Opera presents the Antinori Grand Prize to the winning team — a $10,000 award and an Atlanta Opera commission for a new work to be produced and performed in an upcoming season.

The 96-Hour Festival also features presentations of the works in development by previous competition winners. Tickets and a full schedule of public opportunities to view these world premieres will be released in March 2024.

Designed specifically for composers and librettists from historically underrecognized communities, the 96-Hour Opera Competition is open to those who self-identify as part of a demographic that has been under-presented in the creative pantheon of opera.

The Atlanta Opera provides singing talent, and a pianist as collaborators to bring the new works to life. Story partners based in Atlanta will assist The Atlanta Opera in providing a compelling story theme(s) to be presented to the selected teams. The story prompts form the basis of the plot lines of the submitted works.


The deadline to apply has passed. Please check back for updates and news.

Save The Date

Monday, December 4, 2023 – Applications open

Monday, February 12, 2024 – Application deadline

March 2024 – Announcement of selected participants

Friday, June 14, 2024 -96-Hour Festival begins

Monday, June 17, 2024 – Competition Public Showcase


The Antinori Foundation Grand Prize


About the Competition


“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 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

Artistic Advisor

Morris Robinson

Internationally renowned bass, GRAMMY Award winning vocalist and Atlanta native Morris Robinson will serve as the artistic advisor again for this year’s competition, working with creative teams throughout the competition as well as serving as one of the judges. 

“The level of talent here is stunning. I cannot wait to hear and see what they prepare over the coming months.”


Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General & Artistic Director

Tomer Zvulun

“The rich history of Atlanta rests not only in the lives of the most famous, but in the courage and strength of even the most unacclaimed people,” said Tomer Zvulun. “Our goal is to lift up the inspirational stories that reflect the multicultural history of Atlanta and to amplify the voices of a diverse group of talented emerging creators.”


Frequently Asked Questions

What is The 96-Hour Opera Festival?

Now in its third season, the event launched as the “96-Hour Opera Project” has expanded to include developmental workshops and incubator performances of works in production in addition to a composition competition.

The competition, in which teams of composers and librettists have four days to workshop and stage completely new and compelling 10-minute operas, is the heart of the festival. Each team presents its work in a showcase before an audience and a panel of judges.

Winners from the previous year’s competition will have the opportunity to present their developed works in an incubator setting and, the following year, as a more developed workshopped opera.

What is the location of the performance?

In 2024, the 96-Hour Opera Festival will commence on Friday, June 14 and conclude with the competition showcase. The showcase and all public workshops will be hosted in partnership with Morehouse College, School of Music. The competition finals will be open to the public and will be held at the Ray Charles Center for the Performing Arts located at 900 West End Ave, SW in Atlanta on Monday, June 17, 2024.

What are "Stories that Resonate"?

Story partners will assist The Atlanta Opera to provide a compelling story theme or themes for the participating librettists and composers. The story prompts will be provided to the creative teams in advance of the competition with time to engage in exploration and research on the subject with the story partners.

Who should apply?

Designed specifically for composers and librettists who have been historically underrecognized in the opera field, the competition is open to composers and librettists who self-identify as part of a demographic underrecognized in opera composition.

There is no age range or limit for applying, but composers and librettists in the early stages of their careers are encouraged to participate. Creators may have acquired significant skills in academic or professional settings, but have not had works performed regularly.

What if a librettist doesn’t have a composing partner or vice versa?

We will provide an option to pair artists, based on their experience and interests.

What resources does the competition provide to participants?

All participating teams will travel to Atlanta after preparing their work in advance of the program. Travel (airfare or mileage reimbursement), housing, singers, pianists, and preparation space will be provided to each composer/librettist team in order to showcase their new mini-operas.

What are the judging criteria for the applications?

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).

Who are the judges for the competition?

Judges for the 2024 competition will be announced soon.

What is the four-day structure?

• Day 1: Fri, June 14, 2024:  Introductions and music rehearsal.
• Day 2: Sat, June 15, 2024:  Rehearsal and staging
• Day 3: Sun, June 16, 2024: Coaching, mentorship with judges, and final prep
• Day 4: Mon, June 17, 2024:  Dress rehearsal, Showcase performance and judging

(Travel days will occur before Day 1 and after Day 4, on 6/13 and 6/18 so composers and librettists should be available 6/13 to 6/18 to participate.)

What are your plans for community participation and digital distribution?

Artists will work with our Story Partner to refine and explore their story prompts during their writing process. 

We’ll invite the community to enjoy the performances on Monday, June 17, 2024. The Atlanta Opera Film Studio will capture aspects of the preparation and the competition showcase. Specific use of the video and audio recordings will be determined by the needs of The Atlanta Opera.  


Past Participants

2023 Competition

Judges’ Choice Winner: Dave Ragland | Selda Sahin with Steele Roots
Judges’ Choice Runner Up / Audience Favorite: Nathan Felix | Anita Gonzalez with Faces In The Flames

Edward Shilts

Laura Barati

Omar Najmi

Catherine Yu

Nathan Felix

Anita Gonzalez

Dave Ragland

Selda Sahin

Jorge Sosa

Alejandra Martinez

2022 Competition

Winner: Marcus Norris | Adamma Ebo with Go On With That Wind

Jorge Sosa

Alejandra Martinez

Johanny Navarro

Deborah D.E.E.P Mouton

Marcus Norris

Adamma Ebo

Roydon Tse

Marcus Yi

Samah Shahi

Isabella Dawis

Carlos Castro

Diana Solomon-Glover

Media Inquiries

Please contact
Michelle Winters, Director of PR and Communications