The USA’s National Endowment for the Arts awarded the organization $25,000 in support of the southern premiere of an opera centered on racial injustice
The New Orleans Opera Association (NOOA) has been announced as a recipient of the $25,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
This grant will support the southern premiere of Tony Award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori and NAACP Theatre Award-winning librettist Tazewell Thompson’s two-act opera, Blue, with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.
Focused on the topic of police violence, the opera outlines a tragedy in an African-American family in Harlem amid the son’s growing outrage over police intimidation of young black men.
The opera premiered at the 2019 Glimmerglass Festival and was the recipient of the Music Critics Association of North America (MCANA) 2020 Award for Best New Opera.
“Blue, an all-too-timely story of one family’s devastating loss—the teenage son of a black police officer is killed by a white police officer—is given universal resonance by Jeanine Tesori’s gripping, accessible music and Tazewell Thompson’s poignant, unflinching libretto,” reviewed the MCANA committee. “We hope that this important work will see many more performances in the future.”
NOOA’s production of Blue is among 1,130 projects across the country, totaling over $31 million, that was selected in the second round of Grants for Arts Projects for funding in the 2023 fiscal year.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to support a wide range of projects, including New Orleans Opera Association’s production of Blue, demonstrating the many ways the arts enrich our lives and contribute to healthy and thriving communities,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson. “These organizations play an important role in advancing the creative vitality of our nation and helping to ensure that all people can benefit from arts, culture, and design.”
“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the [NEA] for their generous support of our November production of Blue,” added NOOA’s general and artistic director Clare Burovac. “The NEA’s commitment to fostering artistic excellence and promoting cultural enrichment has played a pivotal role in identifying great American opera, and we are truly honored by their invaluable contribution.”
NOOA’s production of Blue can be seen at the Mahalia Jackson Theater in New Orleans on November 10 and 12, 2023.
A trailer for the opera can be viewed below.