How do composers approach writing music for opera vs. musical theatre?

In August 2021, composers experienced in both opera and theatre writing came together for a roundtable discussion that explored the pivotal role of the composer in originating and creating new operatic works for both the traditional operatic stage and new experimental venues. The composers also spoke about how opera composers find librettists, what they look for in an opera libretto, and what they believe librettists ought to know, or learn, in order to serve the specialized needs of an operatic score.


  • Nicolas Lell Benavides
  • Paola Prestini
  • Scott Davenport Richards
  • Huang Rho
  • Kamala Sankaram
  • Stephen Schwartz

Moderated by Lila Palmer

This roundtable was conceived by the Dramatists Guild's Opera Committee, in affiliation with The Dramatist's November/December 2021 Opera Issue. To read the edited version of the roundtable transcript in the online version of The Dramatist magazine, please click here.

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