National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $25 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $40,000 to Opera Philadelphia for the Philadelphia premiere of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, widely considered the “century’s most successful new opera” (Financial Times). The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.
“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects, such as this one to Opera Philadelphia, are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities and connections the arts bring.”
“We are thrilled to have the support of the National Endowment for the Arts as Opera Philadelphia brings this most extraordinary contemporary opera to our city in a new production with an amazing cast,” said David B. Devan, General Director & President of Opera Philadelphia.
Since its 2012 premiere at the Festival d’Aix en Provence, Written on Skin has proven to be a phenomenal international sensation. Hailed as “the work of a genius unleashed” (New Yorker), “a modern classic” (The Telegraph, UK), and “truly a 21st-century masterpiece” (The Times of London), Benjamin’s first full-length opera has been recognized with a host of honors that include an inaugural International Opera Award. As the UK’s Independent put it, “rarely has a new opera been so universally welcomed.”
Marking its first new staging in the U.S.A., this major new addition to the canon makes its Philadelphia premiere in an original treatment from director William Kerley, starring Lauren Snouffer, Mark Stone, and Anthony Roth Costanzo under the leadership of Jack Mulroney Music Director Corrado Rovaris in four performances at the Academy of Music (Feb 9–18). Written on Skin is also underwritten, in part, by Judy and Peter Leone and by the Wyncote Foundation at the recommendation of Daniel K. Meyer, M.D.
For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.