The bluegrass Opera

A 21st-Century Performing Arts Company

why share your work with us?

The Bluegrass Opera is quickly becoming one of the world's top allies for those who write for the musical stage. We've received hundreds of new works from writers and composers throughout the U.S. and more than twenty other countries. As of this season, we will have produced sixteen of them in their entirety (fully staged with orchestra) and presented excerpts from dozens more. There is never a fee to submit your work, nor will we ever reply with a form letter. We believe that writers, performers, and directors form an important team, and we show it with direct feedback from our professional cast and crew, and the highest-caliber performances we can muster. Here's a little of what people are saying about our work:

“The Bluegrass Opera is an excellent organization. They respect the authors and composers and go out of their way to present an intelligent, cogent production of their work. I would recommend The BGO to any musical theatre artists looking for a place to present new musical theatre.”
—Alfred Uhry, Oscar/Tony/Pulitzer-winning playwright (Driving Miss Daisy) and writer of the musical LoveMusik (produced in collaboration with Balagula Theatre, under the leadership of Artistic Director Rachel Lee Rogers)

“What a great pleasure to pay witness to the talented group of artists at the Bluegrass Opera... So good to know that challenging theater supported by terrific audiences is alive and well in Lexington, Kentucky.  I can’t wait to return.” 
—Daniel Kutner, Associate Director at the Harold Prince Organization, New York

"Dechtenberg and his troupe have created something truly remarkable: an unpretentious yet quality forum for presenting new opera with skill and excitement.”
—Tom Schnauber, composer of the opera With Such Friends...

"I was thrilled when...the Bluegrass Opera decided to give A Tree on the Plains its first production by a professional opera company... From start to finish, this was a happy and positive experience."
—Ellen Bacon, widow of Pulitzer-winner Ernst Bacon (composer of the music-play A Tree on the Plains)

"Endless thanks for a magical weekend.  I’m still flying high!"
—Jan Lee, granddaughter of William Diebels & daughter of Maurice Hartmann (composer and librettist of the operetta ILLYRIA)

“The orchestra played with enthusiasm and care, and the singers performed with good humor and beautiful voices.”
—John Bilotta (composer of the opera Quantum Mechanic)

how to submit your work

Any stage work that includes music is welcome at BgO — this includes operas, musicals, and everything in between. If you're not sure where your work fits, contact us and tell us about it — we embrace works that defy categorization. In addition, all writers and composers, regardless of age or nationality, are welcome. There is no submission fee and no limit to the number of works a composer may submit. To sumbit a work, simply follow these guidelines:

1. The principal language of the work is English, and it lasts no more than 2-1/2 hours, including any intermission (150 minutes).

2. We currently can only accept works that do not have a professional performance history. If a portion of the piece has been workshopped, that's fine. If there has been a university or community production, we'll need some info about that production (including a recording if available) in order to determine whether we can accept it.

3. Each piece is judged on its own merits, regardless of the number and type of vocal and instrumental performers required. That said, exceptionally large forces may limit our ability to produce your work, as may exotic or rare instruments (unless you are prepared to provide such an instrument, as well as someone to play it).

4. We ask that you send us the following:
-- A. One copy of the complete work (including all music and text), computer-generated and bound. If your work includes pre-recorded sound (other than sound effects), please include this material with your submission. If your materials are in a format that is difficult to send by mail, contact us and we'll arrange to accept your submission electronically.
-- B. Written proof of permission for any non-original, copyrighted material that is included in your work.
-- C. Some basic info about the piece - no more than 1 page, including a brief synopsis, year of creation, and performance forces (if not clearly listed in the score).
-- D. Some basic info about yourself - educational background, other works for the stage, etc. -- please make sure to include your full name, mailing address, phone number, and email.
-- E. Recordings are not necessary, nor will they affect our programming decisions (except in the special case of #2 above).
-- F. A self-addressed, stamped envelope if you would like your materials returned (though we would rather hang onto them for future consideration).

5. Materials can be submitted via snail mail to the following address:

The Bluegrass Opera
Attn: Lorne Dechtenberg, Artistic Director
P.O. Box 910527
Lexington, KY 40591-0527

The deadline to submit works for the 2017-18 season is December 31, 2016.

Questions? Contact us...