David B. Devan Appointed General Director of Opera Company of Philadelphia

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In an appointment that completes a five-year leadership transition strategy, Opera Company of Philadelphia Board Chairman Stephen A. Madva is pleased to announce the appointment of David B. Devan as General Director of the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

In an appointment that completes a five-year leadership transition strategy, Opera Company of Philadelphia Board Chairman Stephen A. Madva is pleased to announce the appointment of David B. Devan as General Director of the Opera Company of Philadelphia. The new leadership structure, common within the opera industry, allows for the unified management of the Opera Company’s programming and business functions, and creates an ideal environment for long-term planning and stability. Devan’s new contract will run for five years.

“David Devan has been critical to the transformation of the Opera Company of Philadelphia over the past five years and we are grateful that the continuity of the company from both a leadership and creative standpoint will be maintained,” Madva said. “From the earliest moments of the search, Robert Driver, Corrado Rovaris, my fellow board members and I hoped that we could identify the right person to enable this company to flourish and move into a new era with strength and vision. David has worked seamlessly with all of us to achieve fiscal stability, long-range planning for the future, and to launch a number of new creative initiatives that have advanced the mission and recognition of the Opera Company of Philadelphia both locally and nationally.

Artistic Director Robert B. Driver, who was instrumental in bringing Devan to Philadelphia, shared Madva’s sentiments, saying, “We have been so fortunate to have a career opera professional like David in Philadelphia. He has masterfully tackled the economic challenges that we have faced while working with us to advance the artistic quality of our productions. I am very proud to have worked with Steve Madva and our board of directors to bring David here, and now to ensure his future with our company, allowing me to fully focus on our artistic priorities.”

Devan, a native of Canada who was identified in 2005 through an international search generously funded by the William Penn Foundation, joined OCP in January 2006 as managing director, and was then appointed executive director in 2009. In his new role, he will provide strategic and artistic direction for the company while managing senior staff charged with six core areas of artistic, production, finance, development, marketing, and education/outreach.

“I am grateful to our very dedicated board of directors, led by Steve Madva, for their ongoing confidence and support,” Devan shared. “Having the opportunity to get to know these individuals, who are so deeply engaged in the preservation and advancement of opera in Philadelphia, has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my tenure here.

“I am also extremely grateful to our Artistic Director Robert Driver. Robert’s leadership of this company has consistently focused on the dual goals of artistic excellence and fiscal health, and it is his ongoing commitment to OCP’s future that has paved the way for my position and the work we have done together. I look forward to continuing to advance the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s mission with Robert, Corrado and the entire OCP team.”

Upon his 2006 arrival, Devan immediately set to work on strategic planning initiatives and the creation of partnerships within the community. Despite a challenging downturn in the U.S. economy, key achievements over this period have included:

  •     The Today for Tomorrow campaign, a successful $5 million fundraising campaign supporting the company’s artistic goals.
  •     Careful financial stewardship which has been matched by uncompromised artistic quality met with audience and critical acclaim.
  •     The successful association of the Opera Company of Philadelphia with Curtis Institute of Music and Kimmel Center Presents to produce a fully-staged opera each season at the Perelman Theater with joint marketing strength.
  •     The establishment of the Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater, creating a second venue for intimate chamber opera programming.
  •     The successful development of a new committee structure for the Board of Directors, resulting in a greater level of engagement and participation.
  •     The reorganization of the Opera Company staff and office structure, focusing on lean and efficient business practices
  •     The Fueling Artistic Excellence campaign, a $10 million, three year initiative launched in May 2010 to support forward artistic commitments and initiatives, of which $4.6 million has been raised.

In addition to his work with the Opera Company, Devan holds board positions with OPERA America, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and the Academy of Vocal Arts, and is a member of the Mayor’s Advisory Council on the Arts. Devan also often provides strategic planning assistance to other arts and non-profit organizations. A frequent guest speaker at universities and associations around the region, Devan is also a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pennsylvania.

Prior to coming to Philadelphia, Devan’s posts included Executive Director of Pacific Opera Victoria for nine years, and previous positions as director of marketing for Opera Ontario, Toronto’s Canadian Opera Company and Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. Devan is a graduate of Brock University in Ontario and Stanford University’s Business Executive Program.

The Opera Company of Philadelphia’s 35th Anniversary Season continues with Romeo & Juliet, running February 11, 13m, 16, 18 & 20m and Tosca (April-May) at the Academy of Music, and at the Perelman Theater, performances of Curtis Opera Theatre’s The Cunning Little Vixen in association with Kimmel Center Presents (March) and OCP’s U.S. Premiere of Phaedra (June). The 2011-2012 Season, featuring Carmen, The Abduction from the Seraglio, Manon Lescaut, the new co-commission Dark Sisters and Curtis Opera Theatre’s Elegy for Young Lovers in association with Kimmel Center Presents goes on sale Monday, February 7, 2011 at operaphila.org.


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