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About Opera Bites

Opera Bites is Boston Opera Collaborative’s two-year-long micro opera commissioning program and post-educational residency, culminating in a final performance of compelling 10-minute "bite-sized" operas.


Founded in 2014, the program was created to increase accessibility and reduce entry barriers to new music by supporting up-and-coming composers and librettists. We will provide mentorship, resources, and support to write for the operatic stage through this program.


Having commissioned nearly 30 Opera Bites since 2014, Boston Opera Collaborative invites proposal submissions from composers, librettists, or composer/librettist teams to create our next 6 new Opera Bites for premiere in the 2025-2026 season during BOC’s 20th anniversary

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We are most interested in stories and themes that are most relevant to today’s society. Submissions are welcome from all composers and librettists who are eligible to work in the United States. In collaboration with Boston Opera Collaborative, the selected composers/librettists will develop the Opera Bites through a series of workshops leading up to a performance in 2026.

The application cycle for the 2024-2026 is NOW OPEN.

 Applications will be accepted until July 15. Click HERE to apply.

If you have questions about the Opera Bites Commission process, please email tony.solitro@bocopera.org

Previous World Premieres

By centering the experiences of new storymakers and artists in Opera, we are shaping a more diverse and inclusive future for this art form.

Recent works from our Opera Bites Workshops include:

Performance: 2017

Tony Solitro, Composer

Jane Martin, Librettist

Love triangles are never easy, but Joyce isn’t concerned. She knows exactly how to handle the situation. When she learns the “other woman” is a goddess, she begins to unravel. How can she compete with that?

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The Battle of Bull Run Always Makes Me Cry

Performance: 2018

Jonathan Bailey Holland, Composer & Librettist

Dating can be so awkward. Especially when that hot guy is – really?? – a Civil War fanatic.

Performance: 2023

Jordan Kuspa, Composer

Dan McGeehan, Librettist

Capturing a heartfelt vignette of a woman who suffers from Alzheimers and her return to lucidity for a fleeting moment.

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Performance: 2023

John Greer, Composer

Sheri Wilner, Librettist

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APPLICATION PROCESS

DOWNLOAD FULL APPLICATION INFORMATION AS PDF

 

Composers will be paired with a librettist to write an Opera Bite. If you would like to apply as a composer/librettist team, both team members must apply individually and be accepted to the program.
 

Each Opera Bite will be 10 minutes long and written for 2-4 singers of varying voice types (typically young professionals who have completed graduate work in vocal performance). Composers may score their piece for two violins, viola, cello, and piano, or any subset of those five instruments.
 

All selected composers and librettists will be awarded a commission fee, dramaturgical support, workshop and development resources throughout the process and a high-quality video recording of the final 2026 performances.

ELIGIBILITY

Our Opera Bites commission program is designed to elevate the voices of developing composers and librettists, providing them with the support, mentorship, opportunities, and experiences needed to forge a career in the arts. There is no age limit or required experience to apply. Boston Opera Collaborative is an equal opportunity employer, and we especially welcome applications from BIPOC artists and other underrepresented groups.


While we are open to applicants from across the globe, many aspects of this commission process take place in person. Boston Opera Collaborative cannot provide housing or transportation for out-of-state artists.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please review our FAQ page and/or contact Opera Bites Program Manager Tony Solitro at tony.solitro@bocopera.org.

DEADLINES

May 25, Application Opens

July 15, Application Closes

August 30, Application notification

WORKSHOP & PERFORMANCE TIMELINE
(subject to change)

Late September 2024: In-Person Meet and Greet + Welcome Sessions

Mid-October, 2024: In-Person and Virtual Workshop Cohort Primer Sessions

Mid-November, 2024: In-Person Libretto Workshop (2 days)

December 15, 2024: Final Libretto Due

August 1, 2025: Piano-Vocal Score (PV) Draft #1 Due

September 1, 2025: PV Workshop

October 1, 2025: Full Score, PV, and Parts Due 

January - February 2026: Opera Bites Production and Performance 

(with orchestra sitz/workshop taking place two weeks prior to the performance)

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Alexis Peart

Executive Director & Producer

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Tony Solitro

Program Coordinator & Composer

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Ken Yanagisawa

Music Director

Opera Bites
Commissioning Committee

TIPS
  • BOC encourages you to propose original stories. Adaptations of existing stories will be considered. If you wish to propose an adaptation of a work under copyright, you must secure adaptation and text-setting permissions prior to applying.

  • Each opera bite should be performable by 2-4 singers.

  • You may suggest voice types for characters if you wish. Decisions about casting will be determined in consultation with the composers and BOC's creative team.

  • Write your synopsis in present tense and describe only what happens on stage during your 10-minute opera. 

  • Avoid unnecessary exposition / back-story.

  • Preference will be given to proposals that can be realized using simple design elements (sets, costumes, and props).

 

For Example:

  •  instead of: “Lauretta sings an aria about . . .”
    try this: “Lauretta proclaims her intention to marry Rinuccio and persuades her father to stay.”

  • Word Limit: 250 words

  • What production elements?

FAQ

Q. As a librettist, am I able to submit treatments to more than one idea?

A. Yes, but please no more than two

 

Q. Can I submit ideas for adaptations of works that are still under copyright?

A. If you propose to adapt a work under copyright, you must secure adaptation & text setting permissions prior to applying. We encourage you to come up with original ideas and preference will be given to that, if you decide to adapt something, you will be responsible for securing the copyright.

 

Q. As a composer, should I submit as a work sample?

A. Show us your best work (in any style, genre, or medium) — especially pieces that showcase your distinctive voice. Submit two or three work samples.  If possible, please include samples that demonstrate relevant skills, such as composing for voice, text-setting, dramatic pacing, and orchestration. While live recordings are encouraged, we will also accept MIDI files of your work.

 

Q.  I’m a composer and want to write my own libretto. Can I apply for both?

A. Yes, but we will ask you to apply as both a composer and librettist. You can list yourself in response to the question “Is there a specific librettist you'd like to collaborate with?”

 

Q. Are there any limitations on production elements I can include in my treatment or idea?

A. While we don’t want to limit your creative ideas, we are looking for stories whose narrative and musical language is the primary driving force of the Opera Bite. Opera Bites often live on in many different forms, including as touring pieces, so we’re looking for works that can be versatile in an array of performance settings. If your opera requires specific set pieces, costumes, or props, please indicate that in your proposal. 

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