"Michael Korie: Greetings. I’m Michael Korie. Together with Mark Campbell, I cochair the Dramatists Guild Opera Committee.
Mark Campbell: Mark Campbell here. 2020 was a challenging to say the least for all of us but I think I can say that our committee was really good at keeping connected with its members. Our biggest news was that we premiered the world premiere of our short video we made called Credit The Librettist. This is a movie to help educate people in the industry on the proper way of crediting the librettists for their work.
We premiered this at Opera America’s New Works Forum in January and we had a panel afterwards, a panel discussion afterwards with industry professionals. It went really well and we’ve already begun to see some very nice affects that this video has brought about.
Michael Korie: This year, the committee’s focus is on the national membership’s interest in writing and composing new operas. As opera companies recognize the need for strong, dramatic structure, they want to commission playwrights who can make the leap to some through theater with works that challenge expectations. The question is, how do playwrights go about learning the ropes? Finding collaborators? Getting commissions? Learning the terms? How to negotiate a contract. Get proper credit and a fair split.
Opera companies themselves haven’t figured out standard practices so writers and composers have a hard time figuring out what is a square deal. Now the Opera Committee is working together with the Guild’s Dramatist Magazine on an issue this coming November addressing these questions and providing how-to guides and links to resources.
In conjunction with the magazine, we are planning a panel of playwright librettists and composers in a webinar we’re calling, So You Want to Write and Opera open to the membership for questions and answers. Watch for the date this coming autumn.
Mark Campbell: ___ significant event in 2020 for our committee was the creation of the first Opera Librettist Prize in History. I went to Opera America and proposed that we create this prize. I’m also funding it. And I’m happy to report that we had 104 applicants for this first year. It will be awarded every year and I think it will go a long way in helping raise the profile of the opera librettists in the industry."