National Endowment for the Arts Announces Five Recipients of the 2009 NEA Opera Honors
April 27, 2009
Washington, D.C. - Americans turn to the arts for inspiration and solace, especially in times of duress. It is often the work of master artists that conjures the kind of transcendent experiences we seek. The recipients of the 2009 NEA Opera Honors are such individuals, luminaries who have made extraordinary contributions to opera in the United States.
Now in its second year, the NEA Opera Honors is the highest award our nation bestows in opera. This year's class is noteworthy not only for their individual accomplishments but for the very American course of their careers. The honorees are: composer John Adams, stage director and librettist Frank Corsaro, mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, general director Lotfi Mansouri, and conductor Julius Rudel.
NEA Acting Chairman Patrice Walker Powell said, "These artists have garnered international prominence through their many and notable accomplishments at our country's flagship opera companies. Their influences have been profound and their connections to American music, stories, and even political figures have enriched the music world. We salute their achievements."
NEA Opera Honors recipients are nominated by the public and chosen by an NEA-convened panel of opera experts. When the program debuted last year, these were the first new NEA awards in 25 years to celebrate lifetime achievement and individual excellence. In addition to an awards program in Washington, DC at the Harman Center for the Arts on November 14, 2009, the designation includes a one-time grant award of $25,000. OPERA America will work again with the NEA to manage the initiative, and the Washington National Opera will serve as a planning and production partner.
The 2009 NEA Opera Honors are given in five categories. In the category of composer, John Adams is one of the foremost opera composers, renowned for works such as Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, and more recently, Doctor Atomic that illuminate the lives of notable people and events. As a stage director and librettist, Frank Corsaro is long associated with the New York City Opera, among other American opera companies, and is recognized as one of the first directors to incorporate multi-media elements into productions.
As a singer, mezzo soprano Marilyn Horne has performed in all major American opera houses and, with the establishment of the Marilyn Horne Foundation, has been instrumental in the development and championing of young singers. In the category of general director, Lotfi Mansouri was the first to bring supertitles into usage and spent 13 years directing the San Francisco Opera. In the category of conductor, Julius Rudel claims a 37-year relationship with the New York City Opera and was the first artistic director of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Photos and additional information can be found in the NEA Opera Honors section of the NEA web site.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency