Opera Philadelphia

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Published15 Jan 2014

Opera Philadelphia Studying the Needs of Today's Arts Consumers with Help from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage

Opera Philadelphia is developing new programs and strengthening its response to the changing needs of contemporary audiences with the help of an inaugural Advancement Grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

The $500,000 Advancement Grant will support Opera Philadelphia’s efforts to bring opera to a variety of audiences in unconventional places and in unexpected ways, such as through Opera in the City, which takes opera into unexpected venues. With the Center’s grant, Opera Philadelphia will also conduct in-depth audience research that will help the organization devise strategies to further enhance the impact of all of its programming. The research project has also been supported by a $75,000 Planning Grant from The Barra Foundation.

“Over the past several seasons, Opera Philadelphia has invested in increasing the quality of our stage productions at the Academy of Music and in the Aurora Series at the Perelman Theater, while developing new artistic experiences like Opera in the City and our upcoming collaboration with the Philadelphia Orchestra,” said David B. Devan, General Director and President of Opera Philadelphia. “We strive to make Opera Philadelphia a brand that links highly differentiated artistic experiences to unwavering promises of innovation, connection, and transcendence. The research that we have now embarked upon will help us to better understand what motivates people to engage with Opera Philadelphia. Our world is changing rapidly, and data suggests that people are less likely to purchase under old subscription models. We have to adapt our business model in order to engage people on their terms. We are incredibly grateful to The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage for investing in Opera Philadelphia’s artistic mission. We also thank the Barra Foundation for its support. We could not chart a future without them.”

During the grant period, Opera Philadelphia will continue to ascend along its strategic plan trajectory from an energized turnaround to a position of sustainable market leadership by maintaining its high level of artistic quality. Productions taking place during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 Seasons include one World Premiere, two East Coast Premieres, two Company Premieres, and several new co-productions. They feature a bevy of international opera stars, including Frederica von Stade, David Daniels, Lawrence Brownlee, Eric Owens, Michelle DeYoung, and Heidi Stober. The company’s 40th Anniversary Season will be announced on Feb. 18, 2014.

The Opera will also invest in attracting new and existing audiences through two new programs: the site-specific Opera in the City series which launched in November 2013 with the American Premiere of Svadba-Wedding by Ana Sokolović; and a collaborative production of Richard Strauss’s Salome with the Philadelphia Orchestra in May 2014. These programs, along with community engagement initiatives like Opera on the Mall, Opera’s annual HD broadcast on Independence Historical National Park, and Family Day at the Opera, among others, will heighten Opera Philadelphia’s relevance in the diverse Philadelphia community.

The Opera also seeks to redefine the way it relates to the public by understanding the motivation, values, and consumer experience of current and potential audiences, in order to simultaneously meet new consumer needs and propel its artistic mission. Over a two-year period, Opera Philadelphia will engage consultants with deep expertise in consumer insight from outside the arts and culture field to conduct a two-phased consumer segmentation research study. The Contextual Segmentation Research Study will be led by Maureen Craig of MoStrategy and Randy Shumway, CEO of the Cicero Group.

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