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


April 24, 2006

Connectivity Theme for Opera Conference 2006 In Theory and Practice
Web Broadcasts and Blogging Demonstrate New Media Application for the Opera Field


New York , NY – April 26, 2006: When 500 opera administrators and artists assemble in Seattle May 3-7 for Opera Conference 2006: Connectivity , the means by which opera connects with audiences will be explored in many ways, including new media. Embracing the theme through sessions and practical application, OPERA America will make available on its newly designed Web site www.operaamerica.org three new features, all accessible from links on the home page on Wednesday, April 26th.

* Insider and Outsider Perspectives on the Conference

Two conference participants have been selected to create blogs during the conference. Postings will begin on Wednesday, May 3 at 9:00 a.m. PDT and continue through Wednesday, May 10 at 5:00 p.m. EDT. The bloggers were chosen for the different perspectives they will bring to the conference. Susan Ashbaker was until recently the Director of Artistic Administration for the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Frank Grebowski is a businessman with a master's degree in management from MIT and a volunteer for the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera. (http://operaamerica.blogspot.org)

Peter Gelb , newly appointed general manager of the Metropolitan Opera , will deliver the Keynote Speech on Thursday morning. He will speak about his vision for the Met and some of the innovations he proposes to advance. Video of his speech will be available for download or real-time viewing as of noon, Friday, May 5.

To expand the audience for the content-rich concurrent sessions held at the conference, audio of two Friday sessions will be posted to the Web site by 7 p.m. PDT on Friday, May 5.

“New technology has such great potential to engage and expand the audience for opera,” said OPERA America President and CEO Marc A. Scorca, “Yet adaptation of this technology is happening very slowing in the opera field. We hope that by both discussing new means for connectivity and demonstrating their use, we will encourage opera companies to move boldly into experimenting with technology.”

OPERA America has also used the Internet to connect with audiences through its distance learning program, which was begun in 2000. Most recently, a course on Verdi's Macbeth has been conducted during April, in anticipation of the Seattle Opera's production of that opera during the conference.

The OPERA America Web site offers a spectrum of resources for the public, including a searchable database of operas performed by member companies (the Season Schedule of Performances), a graphic interface allowing for quick searches for lists of opera companies by state, and a wealth of background information on the most popular operas. For members, OPERA America 's Web site focuses on professional development for opera company staff and opera artists.

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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.