Utah Symphony and Utah Opera: A Merger Proposal
The Utah Symphony (USO) and the Utah Opera (UOC) Merger was a union that was brought forth by the leadership committee at the USO in Salt Lake City. The proposal was an opportunity to strengthen a struggling symphony with a financially sound opera company. Although mergers between opera and symphony companies in the United States had been successfully in the past, the merging of a two major companies had yet to materialize (Delong & Ager, 2005, p. 2). William Bailey, Chairman of the Board for the Utah Opera Company had motivation to move forward with the merger. Successfully combining the two companies the size of Utah’s Opera and Symphony Orchestra would be a first in the nation, and set precedence for others to follow. If the merger were successful, the proposed name of the new organization would be the Utah Symphony & Opera (USUO), and with its potential draw, it had the power to elevate the Opera to the national stage making it a tier-one organization, affiliating it with other such powerhouses to the likes of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In comparison to other major operas, its viability to increase the current combined annual endowment 10 fold was a likely probability. The merger did not come without opposition. Carolyn Abravenal, widow to the longstanding maestro and music director to the USO publicly denounced the new company. Scott Parker, Chairman to the Utah Symphony is best suited to discuss the merger with
Mrs. Abravenal to gain her support so that the symphony could achieve the true potential her husband had envisioned. Her husband had given 32 years of his life to the USO building it from a part-time ensemble to a world-class symphony (Delong & Ager, 2005, p. 4). Mrs. Abravenal’s main concern was that the symphony would take a back seat to the opera, conversely, it would lead in name with the new company, the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera. Parker might consider sharing with Mrs. Abravenal that...
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