“Opera’s man of the moment” (The Los Angeles Times) Yuval Sharon today was named a MacArthur fellow. The Opera director will receive the $625,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in quarterly instalments over the next five years. The foundation bestows the Genius grant to individuals whose achievements “manifest promise for important future advances”.

Sharon, the Artistic Director of Los Angeles’ experimental opera company The Industry, said: “I’m a director, not a standalone artist with a canvas. I feel so honored, because I get to be the representative of so many creative people who work with me. I’m excited about the spotlight this provides to the Industry.”

In conversation with The Los Angeles Times, he recalls receiving the nomination:  “It was so surreal. They read back to me why I was selected — and I don’t even have the words to describe what it felt like to hear. I thought, ‘Wow, I guess that’s what I’m doing,’ but you get in the thicket of doing it, and with no warning, you get this bird’s-eye view of the past 15 years.”

Sharon first rose to prominence with the Industry’s 2013 immersive opera Invisible Cities. He followed this with the company’s ambitious Hopscotch which featured an opera performed in 24 cars driving through LA. He was then named the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s first Artist-Collaborator-in-Residence, through which he creates non-traditional projects for the orchestra and opera company.

His acclaimed multi-media production of The Cunning Little Vixen, originated for The Cleveland Orchestra under Maestro Franz Welser-Möst, features animation played on three screens surrounding the singers and is currently on tour in Europe with productions at Vienna’s Musikverein and in Luxemburg.

He tells the Los Angeles Times that the grant money “will allow him the freedom and time to reflect on where he’s been and where he hopes to go.”

He says: “Self-reflection is crucial to artistic work. It’s so easy to get caught up in the machine of producing. The second one project is done, you’re on to the next. How can I intentionally right the balance? That’s why the arts are so important. We have this administration that represents the worst in humanity and cultivates the worst in us, and the arts do the opposite. They are a calling to our highest and best selves.”

Watch the MacArthur Foundation’s Yuval Sharon Video

For more information on Yuval Sharon, please visit yuvalsharon.com