Application Due: July 3, 2024, by 11:59pm

Experiments in Opera welcomes applications to the fourth cycle of our Writers’ Room project, a dynamic collaborative experience that invites artists interested in opera to take on a large-scale project with the support of a peer community and guidance from the EiO Artist Leaders Jason Cady, Kamala Sankaram, Aaron Siegel and Shannon Sindelar.

The Writers’ Room started in 2019 as a way of rethinking the development process for new opera.  EiO assembled a group of playwrights, librettists, storytellers and composers to collaborate on a single large-scale opera.  This new collaborative format allows for an efficient developmental timeline and a new, collaborative model of authorship, rather than the traditional one composer/one librettist. We have produced three new works through the Writers’ Room: Everything for Dawn, Aqua Net & Funyuns and the forthcoming Five Ways to Die.


EiO has a clearly defined set of criteria for artist selection to the Writers’ Room.  With every application, we ask ourselves and our assembled panel of guest writers and composers the following questions:

— Is the artist embracing new sounds and ideas? Are they willing to stretch as an artist? — How does the artist demonstrate their craft in their work? — Can the artist articulate clearly their interest in opera and musical storytelling? — Is the artist willing to ‘play well with others’ in a collaboration?  — Is the artist interested in feedback from the EiO Artist Leaders and the full community of artists?

Artists must not be currently enrolled in any degree-granting program and must be able to be present in NYC for the specified dates. Otherwise, artists may be of any age or nationality. Visa support is not currently available for international participants.


For composers: — Can the composer show their interest in setting text for voice? — We are interested in work that uses a wide range of instruments and not just traditional orchestral instruments.

  • We ask for a couple of short responses and two work samples (audio and score), with at least one sample featuring vocal writing.

For writers: — Can the librettist construct an original plot? — We are particularly interested in writing that includes a demonstration of lyricism.

For all artists: — We highly recommend you listen to our past work to get a sense of the kind of work we support


Work in the Writers’ Room happens in two phases:

In Phase One, writers and composers are paired up and commissioned to create a single 2-5 minute work for voice(s) and instruments.  Artists in the community will provide feedback and support to these collaborations, which will be shared as part of an open rehearsal.  Based on the above criteria, artists in the room will be eligible to take part in the second phase of work in the Writers’ Room.  Our expectation is that all of the artists we have selected for the project will continue on with the work in Phase Two.  If this collaborative methodology isn’t working for some of the artists (which sometimes is the case), we will consider the end of Phase One as the end of the project for select artists.

In Phase Two work will begin on the larger full-opera. The collaborative pairs may or may not be shuffled depending on the preferences of the involved artists.  Writers will work in an intensive period to draft and edit their full librettos in collaboration with the other writers and with input from the composer cohort. Once the librettos are complete, the composers will begin work with the expectation of at least two workshops for the full work before a premiere production in the second year of the project.

PROJECT DATES (Subject to Change):

April 15, 2024 -Application for Writers’ Room Available to the public

July 3, 2024 – Deadline for Writers’ Room Application

August 1 – 13, 2024 – Interviews with Applicant Finalists (remote)

August 16, 2024 – EiO will notify all artists of their application status

September 28-29, 2024 – Two-Day, In-Person Kick Off Meeting and Orientation.  This meeting is mandatory for all selected artists. (in-person NYC)

October 20, 2024 – Monthly Meeting with full Writers’ Room (remote)

November 17, 2024 – Phase One Commission Performance (in-person NYC)

December 2024 – Phase One Reflection and Holiday Party

January – February, 2025 – Writing Intensive period (in-person NYC) for the Phase Two libretti

March 16, 2024 – Full Writers’ Room meeting and libretto reading; handoff of libretto to composers (remote)

July 2025 – Workshop with orchestra and singers (in-person NYC)

Fall 2025 – Full Writers’ Room meeting to discuss edits and revisions (In-person NYC)

November 2025 – Second Full Opera Workshop (in-person NYC)

Spring 2026 – Premiere Production

Note: Experiments in Opera is commissioning the collaborative work, and creative artists will grant permission for the premiere production. Any additional productions will be negotiated with the creative artists. All creative artists retain the full ownership of their contributed material.


Artists participating in the Writers’ Room will receive a fee of $3500.00 for their work as part of the project. Further funding for travel is not available.