NEA Opera Honors Celebrates Diverse Artists

Oct 30, 2011

On October 27, 2011, the National Endowment for the Arts presented the 2011 NEA Opera Honors to recipients John Conklin, Speight Jenkins, Risë Stevens, and Robert Ward. The NEA Opera Honors celebrate visionaries and luminaries who, by making extraordinary contributions to opera in the United States, have become cultural treasures. Since its establishment in 2008, several diverse artists have been honored, including: Martina Arroyo, Lotfi Mansouri, Leontyne Price, and Eve Queler.

Martina Arroyo - 2010 Opera Honoree

BiographyVideo Tribute

"If they don't want to hear me sing because of my color, then get someone else. That is your problem. You are the one missing my voice. On the other hand, if you do like me, I'll give you my best."

Lotfi Mansouri - 2009 Opera Honoree
Stage Director and Impresario

BiographyVideo Tribute

"Iran - in the time I was born - was very much traditionalist. Men were not supposed to have anything to do with the arts, especially music."

Leontyne Price - 2008 Opera Honoree

BiographyVideo Tribute

"Achievement has nothing except what it is. It has nothing to do with color. It has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with you and your God given talent."

Eve Queler - 2010 Opera Honoree
Music Director

BiographyVideo Tribute

"Eve certainly was one of the first women conductors in the New York, or even the American, music scene. I don't think that Eve thinks about it. I think that Eve just lives and breathes music and opera, and if she were born a giraffe, she would still be doing this."

- Erica Kiesenwetter

Over the years, seventeen opera legends have received an NEA Opera Honor. These recipients, not only represent minority groups, they comprise varied professions. How they each came to the arts is different. Many have worked across arts disciplines. Artists have performed a variety of genres; composers have written different styles and created works that celebrate, and speak to, different audiences. Impresarios have worked to attract diverse audiences through technical innovations and new work. A commonality of all recipients is their passion for opera and their commitment to the next generation of artists, administrations, and audiences.

All NEA Opera Honorees:
John Adams, Martina Arroyo, John Conklin, Frank Corsaro, David DiChiera, Carlisle Floyd, Richard Gaddes, Philip Glass, Marilyn Horne, Speight Jenkins, James Levine, Lotfi Mansouri, Leontyne Price, Eve Queler, Julius Rudel, Risë Stevens, Robert Ward 

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Sub Categories

DIVERSITY: Leadership
DIVERSITY: Diversity and the Arts
DIVERSITY: Production
DIVERSITY: African American / Black Community
DIVERSITY: Generations