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Delaware Valley Opera Company Seeks Orchestra

Our goal is to hire small chamber orchestras for our 2015 Summer Opera Festival, which consists of three fully staged operas, to be performed at the brand-new Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center in Manayunk.

About the Company

The Delaware Valley Opera Company, located in Philadelphia, PA, mounts three fully staged operas in its annual Summer Opera Festival. For 35 years it has been DVOC’s mission to provide young and emerging singers with engaging performance opportunities as they hone their craft.

DVOC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All funds raised through DVOC concerts and activities are used to cover Summer Festival expenses for performance space rental, accompanists, stage directors, a costumer, set construction, a moving truck, marketing, and of course, singers. No one on the board of directors is paid, and many have more than one area of responsibility, from building sets, to writing grant proposals, and even operating smoke machines, to name just a few.

For the 2015 Summer Opera Festival DVOC seeks to add a chamber orchestra for its productions of Strauss’s Die Fledermaus; Mozart’s The Magic Flute; and Puccini’s Tosca, all to be performed in the brand-new, 250-seat Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center.

Raja Vaidya as Papageno in the 2015 production of "The Magic Flute." Photo by John Sturgis Photography
Raja Vaidya as Papageno in the 2015 production of “The Magic Flute.” Photo by John Sturgis Photography

About the Project
A chamber orchestra will add to the audience’s enjoyment of the DVOC’s 2015 Summer Opera Festival and provide the singers and instrumentalists with a greater musical experience, which is in keeping with DVOC’s mission.

In 2013 DVOC used crowd-funding to hire an orchestra for one of the three festival operas programmed that year. Audiences and singers alike loved the addition, but were disappointed in 2014 when they learned that the festival would be performed with piano only.

For 2015 DVOC wants to present its entire Summer Opera Festival with orchestra; never in its 35-year history has DVOC done this due to cost. But orchestral accompaniment would enhance the unique character of the three operas programmed for the 2015 Summer Opera Festival. Die Fledermaus is a Viennese comic gem filled with waltzes and exotic gypsy tunes that are best brought to life by strings. The Magic Flute relies on the orchestra to describe each character as they enter the scene–be they comic, tragic, good or evil. And the high flung drama of Tosca falls short without an orchestra.

In its early days DVOC performed outdoors with a digital piano. Unpredictable weather and changes in humidity made an electronic instrument the most practical option. Over the last 10 years, DVOC has moved to indoor venues, greatly increasing the production value and opportunities for creativity in the orchestra pit. In recent seasons a harpist joined an acoustic grand piano for a production of Amahl and the Night Visitors, and a Hansel and Gretelproduction was played by four hands at the piano instead of two, to better interpret Humperdink’s lush score.

The 2013 orchestra gave DVOC singers, instrumentalists, and audiences a vision of what could be. For 2015 DVOC wants to make that vision a reality. An orchestra will give the audience a more multi-dimensional opera experience, and will very likely draw more viewers to DVOC’s 2015 Summer Opera Festival productions. Because DVOC is supported primarily through ticket sales, both of these factors are very important.

Most importantly an orchestra would be a valuable teaching tool for the singers and instrumentalists. With an orchestra DVOC could provide an authentic rehearsal and performance experience that will better prepare our emerging singers and instrumentalists to work with larger opera companies that regularly utilize an orchestra.

The 2015 Summer Opera Festival also marks DVOC’s return to the Manayunk/Roxborough section of Philadelphia. The company would love to come back with a bang, stepping onto a brand-new stage, complete with a chamber orchestra.

DVOC plans to hire members of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra (SPSO) to play for Die Fledermaus in June and for Tosca in August. For The Magic Flute in July, DVOC plans to hire students and alumni participating in the Philadelphia International Music Festival (PIMF). SPSO (originally known as the North Penn Symphony) was founded in 1972 by Leonard Murphy, and is currently under the baton of nationally-known conductor Allan R. Scott. SPSO’s mission is to “entertain, educate, enrich and expand the cultural lives of the residents of the area,” making it a logical collaborator with DVOC. PIMF is a 14-day immersive summer music program based at Bryn Mawr College that draws students of all ages and skill levels from the U.S. and abroad. Students study with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and participate in a variety of solo and ensemble performance opportunities. DVOC is thrilled to offer selected students and alumni the opportunity to play in an opera orchestra, a unique artistic and educational experience that will add to their experiences at PIMF.

Laurice Kennel as Floria Tosca in the 2015 production of "Tosca." Photo by John Sturgis Photography
Laurice Kennel as Floria Tosca in the 2015 production of “Tosca.” Photo by John Sturgis Photography

About the Performances
DVOC will present three fully-staged performances of the three operas programmed for the 2015 Summer Opera Festival: Die Fledermaus, June 13, 17 at 8pm & 28 at 3pm; The Magic Flute, July 11, 15 at 8pm & 19 at 3pm; and Tosca, August 8, 12 at 8pm & 16 at 3pm. All performances will take place at Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center, located at 7 Lock Street, Philadelphia, PA 19127.

About the Rewards
– Program listings will appear immediately on opening night of the 2015 Summer Festival.

– All admissions will be printed on the Festival Guest List at the door. Just show up, and check for your party’s name.

– Donors who will receive tickets to any Southeastern PA Symphony Orchestra (SPSO) performance will be contacted by SPSO staff to make arrangements.

– Reservations for dinners and pre-show tours must be made with DVOC at least 2 weeks in advance of the desired performance.

– Recital programs are available between October 2015 and May 2016. All recitals must be scheduled no later than September 1, 2015.

Katie Dufendach as Adele in the 2015 production of "Die Fledermaus." Photo by John Sturgis Photography
Katie Dufendach as Adele in the 2015 production of “Die Fledermaus.” Photo by John Sturgis Photography


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