MARCH 2023; WASHINGTON DC. Deborah will serve as the 2023 Librettist Mentor to Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative at the Kennedy Center, with Kamala Sankaram who will serve as the Composer Mentor. The American Opera Initiative is a comprehensive commissioning program founded in January 2012. It was created to stimulate, enrich, and ensure the future of contemporary American opera by providing talented emerging composers and librettists with mentorship and opportunities to write for the stage. This year, the program will commission three new works that will premiere on January 19, 2024. Composers Laura Jobin-Acosta, Elizabeth Gartman, and Joy Redmond, and librettists Sam Norman, José G. Alba Rodríguez, and Melisa Tien were selected from a field of more than 130 hopefuls. Applications were reviewed by WNO artistic leaders and three industry leaders who will mentor the writing team through the development process.