The sPark Fund

Opera Saratoga has had a long and robust history of producing new works. Under David Lloyd’s leadership in the 1960s and 70s, the company was one of the country’s pioneers in the commissioning and production of new operas. With Lawrence Edelson’s appointment as Artistic and General Director in 2014, Opera Saratoga has made a renewed commitment to new works. At least one opera every summer festival is now a world or American premiere, and we have built a national reputation for presenting works that shine a light on important contemporary issues. 

This season, we are formalizing this commitment through the creation of the sPark Fund. This is a source of funding dedicated to commissioning new operas with partners across the country to help to ensure these works have a future after their premieres.

Why have we called this the sPark Fund? Our goal is to build upon Opera Saratoga’s unique location in Spa State Park as a catalyst for creativity, community and connection:

  • We are commissioning and producing powerful new operas from diverse composers and librettists. Our 2019 World Premiere, Ellen West, features a score by acclaimed composer Ricky Ian Gordon and a libretto by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Frank Bidart. Our 2020 premiere (to be announced!) will be the first work produced by a female composer at Opera Saratoga - a long overdue milestone.

  • In addition to commissioning and producing new operas, we are creating new programs to open up the creative process to the public, so you can see first-hand how new operas are born.

  • At Opera Saratoga, we believe that opera is a lens through which we can look at the world in which we live. To highlight the stories and themes of the new works we produce, we are creating educational programs for students, as well as community symposia for adults, to enhance the opera-going experience.

  • The new operas we are commissioning are all being developed with partners, to ensure they have a future life. Our 2019 premiere is a co-commission and co-production with Beth Morrison Projects in New York City, who will present the opera in NYC in 2020. We have ongoing collaborations with Tapestry New Opera and American Lyric Theater, which will yield exciting new works for future seasons!

Please help us ignite the sPark!

  • Become a founding member of The sPark Fund by making a donation of $5,000 or more today.

  • By making a donation of $10,000 or more, you have the opportunity to become a commission underwriter.

Please call Jonathan Blalock at 518.584.6018 to learn about exclusive benefits available to sPark Fund members, and for further details about commission underwriting opportunities.


In keeping with IRS regulations, the fair-market value of certain membership benefits and privileges may reduce the tax-deductibility of your gifts. The value of these benefits will be noted in Opera Saratoga’s acknowledgment of your gift. Tax-deductibility will be assessed based on your actual gift.