Discipline: Theatre – libretto

Donna DiNovelli

Discipline: Theatre – libretto
Region: Brooklyn, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 1989, 1991, 1993

Donna Di Novelli has a writing career that spans film, opera, music-theater, and stage. Di Novelli was the co-writer on the lauded Madeline’s Madeline directed by Josephine Decker and premiering at Sundance Film Festival, the Berlinale, and BAMCinemaFest in 2018. Distributed by Oscilloscope, it is available across digital platforms and was recently nominated by Gotham Awards as Best Film and Breakout Artist. Her first screenplay, Stag, was made into an award-winning short film by Kevin Newbury. Stag screened at a dozen film festivals (winning “Best of New York”) and is now available on iTunes and Amazon. The Good Swimmer, a song cycle featuring the pop music of Heidi Rodewald sold-out in its premiere at BAM’s 2018 Next Wave Festival, after having been presented as a theatrical work at Prototype Festival in 2016, directed by Newbury. With long-time collaborator, Randall Eng, she wrote the genre bending, jazz-infused opera Florida, which premiered at UrbanArias in April 2018. Her collaboration with Eng continues with Before the Night Sky, recently seen at Manhattan’s Town Hall in a presentation by Opera America. With Paola Prestini she premiered a concert version of Oceanic Verses, at the Barbican Theatre after a presentation at the Kennedy Center and River to River Festival NYC in June 2012. Heart of a Soldier, written with Grammy-nominated composer Christopher Theofanidis, was commissioned by the San Francisco Opera and premiered in September 2011. Di Novelli wrote text and translated Latin hymns for Hildegard: A Measure of Joy, commissioned by the San Francisco Grammy-winning vocal ensemble, Chanticleer. Di Novelli has written text for the Los Angeles Modern Dance and Ballet’s Twelve Dancing Princesses and her radio plays have been broadcast on the BBC and NPR. Her stage play, The First Eff (Mark Taper Forum) was excerpted in New Monologues For Women; By Women (Heinemann Press). She has won commissions and fellowships from the Manhattan Theater Club, ASCAP, Mabou Mines, Houston Grand Opera, the Rockefeller Foundation’s residency at Bellagio, Italy, the National Musical Theater Conference, MacDowell, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. In addition, her work has been presented at the New York City Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, the Public Theater, Le Poisson Rouge, and on several occasions at Joe’s Pub. Besides teaching libretto writing in the Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, she was a visiting professor at Brown University, where she earned a master’s degree in playwriting, studying with Paula Vogel.


Van Zorn (formerly Kirby)

Donna DiNovelli worked in the Van Zorn (formerly Kirby) studio.

Constructed thanks to a bequest from Sarah L. Kirby, Kirby Studio was the last new building to be erected during Mrs. MacDowell’s leadership (1907-1951). The load-bearing masonry walls were laid by local mason Augustus Beaulieu atop a fieldstone foundation. A 1995 renovation preserved the brick fireplace with wooden mantel and…

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