Opera Philadelphia Director David Devan on Going Digital and “Inclusive and Equitable Artistic Practice”


David Devan. Photo by Gene Smirnov.

In this series of interviews with Center grantees, we offer a look inside the practices and philosophies of Philadelphia’s cultural leaders to discuss how they and their organizations are addressing this moment’s unique challenges and their ambitions for enhancing the city’s cultural life in the future.

David Devan has been with Opera Philadelphia since 2006 and is the company’s general director and president. In 2017, with support from a Center grant, Opera Philadelphia launched O17, its first ever opera festival, which continues annually. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company is presenting its 2020–21 season digitally through its recently launched Opera Philadelphia Channel.

For Opera Philadelphia’s latest Center-supported project, composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek are creating a new work called The Listeners, which is set to make its US premiere in 2023.

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David Devan Q&A Block 1

David Devan Q&A Block 2

David Devan Q&A Block 3

Thinking about your organization’s post-pandemic future, what are you most optimistic about?

The results of expanded, inclusionary, and equitable artistic practice and the opportunities of our digital streaming channel to provide new artistic expression and widen participation. As an organization, we have made innovation a central part of our mission and our work, and I am looking forward to applying that dynamic power to lead true change that is in relationship and in step with Philadelphia and the opera community.

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