For Immediate Release
Contact: Patricia Kiernan Johnson; PKJohnson@operaamerica.org
www.operaamerica.org


March 7, 2006

Opera Conference 2006: Connectivity
To be held in Seattle , Washington , May 3-7
Opera Field to Focus on the Importance of Connectivity
Highlights Include Keynote Address by Metropolitan Opera's Peter Gelb


New York, NY - OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, announces that Opera Conference 2006 will be held in Seattle, Washington , from May 3-7. Exploring the theme “Connectivity, ”Opera Conference 2006 is hosted by Seattle Opera and will be held at the Westin Seattle Hotel, 1900 Fifth Avenue in the heart of downtown Seattle . OPERA America 's annual conference is the largest gathering of opera professionals in the world, with more than 500 attendees expected from around the globe. Coinciding with conference activities, Seattle Opera will present a new production of Verdi's Macbeth opening at the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall on May 6.

Opera Conference 2006: Connectivity will respond to the urgent need of the field to produce art that captures the public imagination. Sessions will identify ways to harness the power of the best new technologies to reach current and prospective audiences, gain support from donors, and enrich the lives of children and adults who have access to an enormously varied selection of entertainment choices.

“OPERA America's annual conference is, above all, a forum for new and good ideas that help opera leaders to improve the quality and creativity of productions and reach new audiences,” stated Marc A. Scorca, President and CEO. “This year, we are making a special effort to draw on experience and expertise from outside the opera field in the belief that robust connections to the world around us will strengthen the field. Seattle is a city at the center of new technologies. Seattle Opera sets a standard for excellence nationally and internationally. Opera Conference 2006 will provide new insight and inspiration for all who attend.”

Seattle, in addition to being home to Seattle Opera, is home to eleven professional theater companies, Seattle Public Library, winning professional sports teams, and five Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft, Amazon.com, and Starbucks—a stimulating setting for the five days of seminars and sessions.

Keynote Address
Peter Gelb, newly appointed General Manager of The Metropolitan Opera, will open Opera Conference 2006: Connectivity with the Keynote Address. The Metropolitan Opera is the world's largest nonprofit performing arts institution and exerts a powerful influence over the entire field of opera. Mr. Gelb will speak about his vision for the Metropolitan Opera and some of the innovations he proposes to advance this great institution, the field, and the art form.

Sessions and Seminars
Plenary sessions have been designed to explore the many ways that opera companies connect with their audiences and communities. Exploring both traditional and new techniques in reaching constituencies, these sessions will provide an opportunity for conference participants to hear experts in technology and cultural behavior discuss ways in which today's technological advances provide new opportunities for connecting with current and potential audiences. Additional sessions have been designed in the areas of Artistic/Artist Training, Development, Education, Finance/Administration, Governance, Marketing/Public Relations, and Technical/Production.

New Works Sampler
The New Works Sampler , on Friday, May 5, provides a unique opportunity to witness the cutting edge of opera creation. Artists from Portland Opera, Tacoma Opera, and Vancouver Opera will perform excerpts from works in progress and recent premieres by OPERA America member companies. The New Works Sampler will be held at the magnificent new Seattle Public Library, which was designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and opened in May 2004.

New Works Open Mic Night/Publishers' Opera Showcase
Opera Conference 2006 will feature a new event to showcase performances of excerpts from new works created by member composers— New Works Open Mic Night will be featured on Friday, May 5. Publishers' Opera Showcase provides an opportunity for OPERA America Business Members to introduce new operas and composers to conference delegates. The Showcase is scheduled for Saturday, May 6.

Closing Breakfast: Celebrate Opera!
Opera Conference 200 6 delegates will convene for closing remarks by internationally-acclaimed soprano Jane Eaglen and OPERA America's presentation of the only national opera awards that honor people, programs, and organizations. OPERA America Awards include Business of the Year Awards , acknowledging corporate support of opera; the Spotlight on Opera Award , honoring a media organization for outstanding commitment to the promotion of opera; Success Awards , recognizing opera companies that increase opera awareness and attendance through innovative projects; Artist Advocate Award spotlighting an artist who has displayed exceptional commitment as a public advocate for opera and a particular company; Educator of the Year Award honoring a teacher who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to using opera in aK-12 classroom; and the Diversity Award applauding an innovative project that advances diversity in the field.

New Production of Verdi's Macbeth
The production unites stage director Bernard Uzan and designer Robert Israel for the first time and introduces Nicola Luisotti, one of the most exciting conductors in Europe, to Seattle audiences. The opening night cast features Andrea Gruber, singing her first Lady Macbeth, and Gordon Hawkins; the Sunday cast features Elena Zelenskaya and Louis Otey.

Support
OPERA America is grateful for the support of the National Endowment for the Arts; DCM Telemarketing and Telefundraising, LTM Artists, Target Resource Group; Arts Consulting Group, CCS Fundraising, Cygnus Applied Research, Inc., Denham Wolfe Real Estate Services, Inc., Schuler Shook, TayLar Development; Arts Marketing, Inc., and the City of Seattle .

For more information on Opera Conference 2006, visit www.operaamerica.org/conference, or call 212-796-8620.

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ABOUT OPERA AMERICA

OPERA America leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera.

  • Artistic services help opera companies and creative and performing artists to improve the quality of productions and increase the creation and presentation of North American works.
  • Information, technical, and administrative services to opera companies reflect the need for strengthened leadership among staff, trustees and volunteers.
  • Education, audience development and community services are designed to enhance all forms of opera appreciation.

Founded in 1970, OPERA America’s worldwide membership network includes nearly 200 Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and more than 16,000 subscribers to the association’s electronic news service. In 2005, OPERA America relocated from Washington, D.C. to New York as the first step in creating the first-ever National Opera Center. With a wide range of artistic and administrative services in a purpose-built facility, the Opera Center is dedicated to increasing the level of excellence, creativity and effectiveness across the field.

OPERA America’s long tradition of supporting and nurturing the creation and development of new works led to the formation of The Opera Fund, a growing endowment which allows OPERA America to make a direct impact on the ongoing creation and presentation of new opera and music-theater works. Since its inception, OPERA America has made grants of nearly $11 million to assist companies with the expenses associated with the creation and development of new works.