National Endowment for the Arts Awards
More Than $27.6 Million Across Nation

Includes $15,000 grant to OperaDelaware

WILMINGTON, Del. – The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded OperaDelaware $15,000 to support the company’s production of the East Coast staged premiere of Amleto (Hamlet), a work by Franco Faccio and Arrigo Boito. This opera was revived and painstakingly reconstructed by Maestro Anthony Barrese, who discovered the work hidden in Italy after 145 years. 
OperaDelaware is one of two organizations - and the only presenting arts organization -- in the state to receive an ArtWorks grant this year.
“We are delighted that NEA is supporting OperaDelaware and Amleto,” said Brendan Cooke, general director of OperaDelaware.  “This was a highly competitive process involving hundreds of organizations nationwide.  In granting this award to us, NEA recognizes the presentation of Amleto is a once in a generation opportunity by a growing and increasingly vibrant opera company. This will not only mark our return to full-scale grand opera productions at the Grand Opera House, but also will put our company on the national stage.”
In its first 50 years, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded more than $5 billion in grants to recipients in every state and U.S. jurisdiction, the only arts funder in the nation to do so. The NEA announced awards totaling more than $27.6 million in its first funding round of fiscal year 2016, including the Art Works grant to OperaDelaware.
The Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields.
NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The arts are part of our everyday lives – no matter who you are or where you live – they have the power to transform individuals, spark economic vibrancy in communities, and transcend the boundaries across diverse sectors of society. Supporting projects like the one from OperaDelaware offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”
Amleto will be presented at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington on May 14, 20, and 22.  Maestro Barrese will conduct the OperaDelaware Orchestra and E. Loren Meeker will direct.  Joshua Kohl has been cast in the lead role of Hamlet; Sarah Asmar is Ofelia; OperaDelaware favorites Tim Mix, Lara Tillotson, and Ben Wager perform the roles of Claudio, Geltrude, and Lo Spettro respectively.  Wager, now an international opera star, began his singing career in the OperaDelaware chorus.
The festival, which runs during two weeks in mid-May, also will feature two performances of Verdi’s Falstaff, starring Steven Condy in the title role and soprano Sharin Apostolou, soprano Victoria Cannizzo, and tenor Ryan MacPherson in the roles of Nanetta, Alice, and Fenton, respectively. OperaDelaware’s professional chorus also will feature local talent, including boys and girls from the Wilmington Children’s Chorus. Maestro Giovanni Reggioli returns to OperaDelaware to conduct, and Dean Anthony will direct.
Festival ticket prices start at $29 and can be purchased at
To join the Twitter conversation about the NEA announcement, please use #NEAFall15. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to