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National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors Award Ceremony Takes Place on October 27, 2011 in Washington, DC

by National Endowment for the Arts

September 22, 2011

Tickets available on Monday, September 26 at 10:00 am EDT

Event kicks off National Opera Week

Awards ceremony to be webcast live at

Washington, DC — For those interested in learning more about American opera, the 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors award ceremony offers an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with four of our country’s master artists. The award ceremony takes place on Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. EDT at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW in downtown Washington, DC.

Tickets for the award ceremony are free and will be available on Monday, September 26 at 10:00 a.m. through the Shakespeare Theatre Company box office. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is pleased to partner with OPERA America in presenting this celebration which also serves as the launch for National Opera Week, October 28 through November 6, 2011.

The NEA Opera Honors is the nation’s highest award in opera recognizing outstanding artists for their lifetime achievements and contributions to opera in America.  This year’s honorees are stage designer John Conklin (Boston, MA), general director Speight Jenkins (Seattle, WA), mezzo soprano Risë Stevens(New York, NY), and composer Robert Ward (Durham, NC). Bios and photos of the artists are available at

The award ceremony features video tributes celebrating each of the honorees. These six minute tributes are a collage of interviews with the honoree, his or her colleagues, and opera experts, along with photos and music clips. The evening’s program also includes musical segments by tenor Lawrence Brownlee and mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson, and an onstage conversation with the honorees moderated by a guest host.

Tickets are free but must be reserved through the Shakespeare Theatre Company. There are three ways to reserve tickets; call the box office at 202.547.1122, visit the web site, or visit the box office at 610 F Street NW, across from the Verizon Center. We strongly recommend that you make your reservation as soon as possible after 10:00 a.m. on the 26th as tickets go quickly.

If you are not able to attend the event, you can watch it live via webstream at the NEA web site. The webcast will be archived shortly after the event and can be accessed at

Dozens of opera companies, schools and organizations across the United States will celebrate the third National Opera Week by offering free, accessible events to their communities. National Opera Week demonstrates the vibrancy of opera in America today and brings the inventiveness and excitement of opera to a national audience. Activities range from flash opera events, open houses, online activities, lecture/demonstrations and community performances. For a full list of all National Opera Week events, visit Follow the conversation on Twitter with #OperaWeek and on Facebook, National Opera Week is organized by OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, with support from the NEA.

About OPERA America

OPERA America leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera. It provides artistic services for companies and individuals; information, technical, and administrative services to companies; and education, audience development and community services. Founded in 1970, OPERA America’s worldwide membership network includes nearly 200 Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and more than 16,000 subscribers to the association’s electronic news service. For more information, visit

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