Skip to content
Layered smudges of paint
Photo of Mark Campbell

Mark Campbell


Mark Campbell’s work as a librettist is at the forefront of the contemporary opera scene in this country. A prolific writer, Mark has created 38 opera librettos, lyrics for 7 musicals, and the text for 6 song cycles and 2 oratorios. His works for the stage have been performed at more than 90 musical venues around the world and the names of his collaborators comprise a roster of the most eminent composers in classical music and include three Pulitzer Prize winners.

Mark’s best-known work is Silent Night, which received a Pulitzer Prize in Music and is one of the most frequently produced operas in recent history. The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, an audience favorite, received a 2018 GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording. Mark's other successful operas include The Shining, Stonewall, Later the Same Evening, The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare, The Manchurian Candidate, As One, The Other Room, Memory Boy, Empty the House, The Inspector, Approaching Ali, A Letter to East 11th Street, Dinner at Eight, Volpone, and Bastianello/Lucrezia. His musicals include Songs from an Unmade Bed, The Audience and Splendora. He also created a successful new adaptation of Stravinsky/Ramuz's The Soldier's Tale.

Mark has received many other prestigious prizes for his work, including the first Kleban Foundation Award for Lyricist, a Grammy nomination for Best Classical Recording, two Richard Rodgers Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, three Drama Desk nominations, a Jonathan Larson Foundation Award, a New York Foundation for the Arts Playwriting Fellowship, the first Dominic J. Pelliciotti Award, and a grant from the New York State Council of the Arts.

Recordings of his works include: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (Pentatone), Sanctuary Road (Naxos), As One (Bright Shiny Things), Volpone (Wolf Trap Records), Bastianello/Lucrezia (Bridge), Rappahannock County (Naxos), Later the Same Evening (Albany) and Songs from an Unmade Bed (Ghostlight).

Mark is also an advocate for contemporary American opera and serves as a mentor for future generations of writers through such organizations as American Opera Projects, American Lyric Theatre, and Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative. In 2020, he created and is funding the Campbell Opera Librettist Prize, the first and only award for opera librettists. The award will be giving annually and is administered by OPERA America.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mark's 2020 premieres were postponed. They included Edward Tulane for Minnesota Opera (Paola Prestini, composer), A Nation of Others for the Oratorio Society of New York (Paul Moravec, composer), A Sweet Silence in Cremona for the Florence at Villa la Pietra–Continuum Theater, Florence (Roberto Scarcella Perino, composer) and Stone Soup for Ft. Worth Opera (Joe Illick, composer). Future premieres include The Secret River for Opera Orlando (Stella Sung, composer); Supermax for Saratoga Opera (Stewart Wallace, composer; Michael Korie, co-librettists); Bernadette's Cozy Book Nook for Ft. Worth Opera (Joe Illick, composer) and the book for the musical Les Girls (Cole Porter, composer).