Opera Philadelphia

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Published22 Jan 2024

Opera Philadelphia says “Toi Toi Toi” to David Devan as he prepares for his next act

Special fundraising event on Saturday, March 9 features performances by Will Liverman, Daniela Mack, and John Holiday, and celebrates the era of innovation under the longtime General Director 

“Toi toi toi!” It is what we say in opera to wish an artist success in an upcoming performance. On Saturday, March 9, 2024, Philadelphia’s arts and culture community will say it to Opera Philadelphia’s longtime General Director & President David B. Devan as he prepares to conclude his tenure with the company and move on to his next act.

“Toi Toi Toi” is a fundraising event celebrating Devan’s remarkable contributions to the company, the impact his commitment to new and innovative works has made on the city and operatic landscape, and the exciting future of Opera Philadelphia. In honor of his commitment to this organization and his unwavering endeavor to propel opera forward, the proceeds from this special fundraising event will support Opera Philadelphia's new works practice.

“David has transformed Opera Philadelphia,” said Dr. Stephen Klasko, Board Chair and “Toi Toi Toi” Co-chair. “His championing of new works helped energize the industry and made the company a major player in American opera.”

The event will take place at Philadelphia's grand 23rd Street Armory and will feature a seated dinner and a variety of exciting performances by special guest artists who have performed frequently with the company, including Will Liverman (10 Days in a Madhouse), John Holiday (We Shall Not Be Moved), Daniela Mack (Carmen), Ashley Marie Robillard (La bohème 2019) and Joshua Blue (La bohème 2023).

The evening will be designed and directed by James Darrah, who lent his vision to several operas during Devan’s tenure including Festival O19’s Semele, 2016 world premiere of Breaking the Waves by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek, and the award-winning film of David T. Little’s Soldier Songs. Jarbeaux, theater artist and founder of Bearded Ladies Cabaret, will serve as the host and emcee for the evening.

Devan joined Opera Philadelphia in January 2006 and was appointed General Director of the company in 2011. Since his arrival, he has worked closely with the Board of Directors and administration on strategic planning initiatives and building partnerships within the community and the opera world.

“I’ve witnessed a transformation of Opera Philadelphia under David’s leadership,” said “Toi Toi Toi” Co-chair and Opera Philadelphia Board Member Sarah Marshall. “David and his team have infused new energy and creativity into the art form. Opera Philadelphia has reimagined classics with modern relevancy and magnificent staging. As a bold champion of new works, founder of our Composer in Residence program, and the brainchild behind our O Festival format, David has brought worldwide recognition and praise to Opera Philadelphia. Along the way, he has helped to launch and further countless careers. He has become a dear friend and truly believes in ‘opera for all.’”

Devan guided the company through a transformative period of innovation that led Opera News to describe it as “one of the leading instigators of new work in the country” and the New York Times to describe Opera Philadelphia as "a hotbed of operatic innovation." Under his leadership and artistic vision, Opera Philadelphia has become a company of international stature and a favorite co-producing partner with companies across the globe, developing fresh productions of classic works as well as new works by today’s leading composers. Under David's leadership, the company established the annual Festival O in 2017, launching each season with an immersive, multi-day festival featuring multiple operatic happenings in venues throughout the city including numerous world premieres.

“Leading Opera Philadelphia has been the honor of a lifetime” Devan said. “This event is meant to be a celebration of creativity, both of this company and this city I’ve made my home.”

Single tickets for the event are now on sale starting at $500, with a special discount for members of VIVACE, Opera Philadelphia’s community for young friends. 

A one-of-a-kind event to honor David B. Devan
Saturday, March 9, 2024
7:00 – 11:00 p.m.
23rd Street Armory 

Designed and directed by James Darrah, with host and emcee Jarbeaux. Featuring performances by John Holiday, Will Liverman, Daniela Mack, Ashley Marie Robillard, and Joshua Blue.

Frederick R. Haas and Rafael Gomez
Marguerite Lenfest

Stephen K. Klasko, M.D., M.B.A.
Sarah Marshall

Mrs. Sandra K. Baldino
Sarah and Brad Marshall

Rajant Corporation
Barbara Augusta Teichert

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