The Anne d’Harnoncourt Award for Artistic Excellence is bestowed upon an artist who has achieved national or worldwide acclaim, embodies artistic achievement and serves as an inspiration to the Greater Philadelphia region both as an artist and a leader. Due to his strategic guidance of Opera Philadelphia through a transformative period of innovation, we’re proud to bestow David B. Devan with this prestigious honor.
Opera Philadelphia has recently been called “one of the leading instigators of new work in the country” by Opera News and described as “a hotbed of operatic innovation” by the New York Times. Under David’s leadership and artistic vision, Opera Philadelphia has grown to become a company of international stature and a favorite co-producing partner with companies all over the globe, developing fresh productions of classic works as well as premieres written by today’s leading composers. The company has engaged and energized both established and emerging artists, providing opportunities for important role debuts for singers like Lawrence Brownlee, Eric Owens, Nathan Gunn, Stephanie Blythe, Christine Goerke, Leah Crocetto, and Lisette Oropesa. As The Daily Beast recently commented, “Opera Philadelphia has been at the forefront of commissioning new operas with contemporary subject matter and an innovative, genre-blending sensibility to snare a younger audience and revitalize opera for the 21st century.”
Key achievements include the establishment of the Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater, an extremely popular and highly-subscribed opera series at the Kimmel Center’s intimate 550-seat Perelman Theater; the establishment of the nation’s first ever collaborative Composer in Residence Program with New York partner Music-Theatre Group, a comprehensive program supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, designed to foster the growth of tomorrow’s great operatic composers; the creation of the American Repertoire Program in 2011, solidifying Opera Philadelphia’s role as a national leader in the creation of new works; and the creation of the site-specific Opera in the City series.
Under David’s leadership, the company established the annual Festival O in 2017, launching each season with an immersive, 12-day festival featuring multiple operatic happenings in venues throughout the city. Opera Philadelphia also presents additional productions each spring, making it the first U.S. opera company to open a year-round season with a dynamic festival.