NationalEndowmentArts 2018 Square LogoChautauqua Institution has been awarded a $15,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the Chautauqua Opera Company’s 2020 Opera Festival, entitled “The Women’s Suffrage Centennial: Claiming a Voice, Claiming a Vote.”

As part of Chautauqua Institution’s nine-week summer assembly season, Chautauqua Opera Company produces more than 30 operatic events, including three mainstage operas. The company’s 2020 season celebrates the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment with a trio of operas, each of which revolves around a powerful female figure who is fighting to forge her own path and have her voice heard.

Puccini’s Tosca depicts one woman’s struggle for love, art, and freedom in a male-dominated world at the turn of the 19th century. Kamala Sankaram and Susan Yankowitz’s inspiring chamber opera Thumbprint celebrates the life of Mukhtar Mai, a contemporary real-life warrior for women’s rights in Pakistan. And for one performance only, the Chautauqua Amphitheater will once again ring with the voice of Susan B. Anthony in The Mother of Us All, Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein’s homage to the suffrage movement in America.

Chautauqua Opera Company’s mainstage season will conclude with the 2020 Opera Festival, featuring performances of all three mainstage operas on consecutive evenings, July 30-August 1, 2020. Alongside these performances, audiences will be able to partake in special lectures, talk-back sessions with the respective creative teams, and a large variety of offerings as part of Chautauqua Institution’s Week Five programming, themed “The Women’s Vote Centennial and Beyond.”

In conjunction with this funding, noted opera director and choreographer Keturah Stickann has been announced as Festival Curator and Artistic Advisor for Chautauqua Opera’s 2020 Opera Festival. Stickann last joined the company as stage director for Chautauqua Opera’s productions of La Traviata (2016) and L'Orfeo (2017).  In addition to her Festival Curator role, she will stage direct The Mother of Us All this season.

“I am thrilled to come back to Chautauqua this summer, both as the director of The Mother of Us All, but also in my expanded role as Festival Curator and Artistic Advisor,” Stickann said. “Having the opportunity to celebrate and connect the stories of these three fascinating women, as well as work with so much talent at Chautauqua Opera Company and the Institution at large, is exciting indeed, and I can’t wait to get started."

Overall, the National Endowment for the Arts approved 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million in the first round of fiscal year 2020 funding to support arts projects in every state in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. 

The Art Works funding category supports projects that focus on public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation; the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence; learning in the arts at all stages of life; and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life.

“The arts are at the heart of our communities, connecting people through shared experiences and artistic expression,” said Arts Endowment chairman Mary Anne Carter. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support projects like Chautauqua Opera Company’s 2020 Opera Festival.”

“Bringing the voices of Susan B. Anthony and the suffrage movement back to Chautauqua was the inspiration behind our 2020 season,” said Steven Osgood, Chautauqua Opera’s General and Artistic Director. “This support from the NEA allows us to build out a rich festival which will investigate women throughout history who have fought to have a voice, as well as the ongoing battle for human rights that connect them.”

For more information on projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit

Four, six and seven-day overnight packages for the 2020 Chautauqua Opera Festival are available at the Athenaeum Hotel. Individual opera event and Festival ticket-only packages are also available. Visit for details.  Hotel packages are available now.  Single event tickets go on sale April 1.

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