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Seattle Opera.

Jane Lang
Creation Lab

Jane Lang Davis Creation Lab

Experiment. Collaborate. Create.


Seattle Opera seeks to cultivate the next generation of opera composers and librettists in Washington State through our Creation Lab. Beginning in the 2020/21 season, Seattle Opera will present eight new works by eight Washington State composer and librettist teams. These short operas will tell the diverse stories of our region through new compositions by local artists.

Composers, songwriters, librettists, and lyricists of all genres are encouraged to apply to create new operas that tell compelling, resonant stories through vocal music. Selected participants will develop a 20-minute opera to be presented in a concert format for a public audience in Tagney Jones Hall at the Opera Center in 2021. Each opera will undergo a development process that includes a table reading, music workshop, and rehearsal prior to the public performance. The creative teams will receive support from professional composers and librettists as they develop their work. 

Seattle Opera will provide creative mentors, cover the costs of printing materials for rehearsals and performances, provide support for table readings and music workshops, hire musicians, promote events, and provides professional support and feedback.



  • Artist must be a Washington State resident.
  • Artist must be between 18 and 30 years of age as of July 1, 2020. Proof of age will be required.
  • Composers may write in any musical genre that features the voice as the primary instrument to tell a story.
  • Librettists may be from any discipline (playwright, poet, scriptwriter, etc.) that displays a keen sense of storytelling.


How to Apply

Applications to Creation Lab closed on September 15, 2020.  


To ensure that the finalists represent a wide range of sounds and stories, a diverse panel of arts advisors, across diverse disciplines and communities, will select the participants. The panel will rate application materials based on creative compositional styles, strength of storytelling through vocal music, and unique storytelling that ranges from comedies to dramas.

Review panel

Seattle Opera Artistic staff
Jennifer Zeyl (Artistic Director, Intiman Theater)
Kathy Hsieh (Actor/Writer/Director)
Dr. Stephen Newby (Professor of Music at Seattle Pacific University, composer, conductor)
Orlando G. Morales (musician, educator, songwriter)


Program participants will be notified on or around September 21, 2020. Composers and Librettists selected to participate will each receive $1,500 stipend. Artists are expected to work within the timeline defined by Seattle Opera from October 1, 2020 to June 15, 2021. 

Each team will create a 20-minute work for up to four singers and up to four instrumentalists (with a maximum of six musicians) to be performed in concert. Artists must have access to their own equipment and software, as needed. Seattle Opera will cover the costs of travel and accommodations for artists as needed.


Seattle Opera will pair participants with mentors working as librettists and composers in the field. The mentors will guide and support the artists as they create their new work. Our mentors for 2020/21 will include Jerre Dye (librettist), Aishé Keita (actress), Zach Redler (composer), Kamala Sankaram (composer), and Tazewell Thompson (librettist).

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should apply to Creation Lab?
Creation Lab is open to young composers, songwriters, librettists, and lyricists living in Washington State. To help bring more perspectives to our storytelling, we especially encourage artists of color, female-identifying artists, and LGBTQ+ artists to apply.

Are there age restrictions?
Yes. Artists must be between the ages of 18 and 30 (inclusive) on July 1, 2020.

I'm still in school. Can I apply?
Yes, as long as your schedule is compatible with the required program dates for Creation Lab and you are between the ages of 18 and 30 on July 1, 2020.

I have never written an opera/libretto before. Should I apply?
Yes! We want to hear from composers and librettists that will use new and varied perspectives to inform their works. Creation Lab's mentors, all working professionals, will provide guidance throughout the process of creating your opera.

I have a writer/composer with whom I regularly work. Can we apply as a team?
Yes! Each of you will need to apply in full to the program. There is a space on the application form to indicate who your creative partner will be. Seattle Opera will consider each member's application, and will admit either both applicants or neither.

Do I need to live in the greater Seattle area to participate?
No. However, you will need to travel to Seattle two to three times during the duration of the program if you are selected. Seattle Opera will provide transportation and lodging for travel to Seattle.


Still have questions? Email us at with any questions about Creation Lab or your application.