The cover of The Opera Issue of The Dramatist
The Golden Age (?) of Opera
Photo collage from four different opera productions
Left to right: The 2016 world premiere of The Shining at Minnesota Opera, photo Ken Howard; the 2019 world premiere of The Central Park Five at Long Beach Opera, photo by Keith Ian Polakoff; the 2021 world premiere of The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson at The Glimmerglass Festival, photo by Karli Cadel; the 2017 world premiere of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs at Santa Fe Opera, photo by Ken Howard.

many pundits in the opera world have christened the last two decades or so “The Golden Age of American Opera.” Of course, it’s usually centuries after the fact when pundits choose to alloy eras to exceptional periods of artistic history—and for all we know we may be living in “The Leaden Age of American Opera.” But this statistic from OPERA America, the national service organization for the industry, does indeed support the notion that there has been a dramatic upsurge in the number of new operas produced in this country:

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Mark Campbell
Mark Campbell

s Pulitzer and Grammy Award-winning work includes 39 opera librettos, lyrics for seven musicals, and text for six song cycles and three oratorios. He recently created the first prize in the history of opera designated specifically for opera librettists: the Campbell Opera Librettist Prize.