Pittsburgh Opera general director Mark Weinstein said, "We are going to work more closely together to develop new audiences for opera." Pittsburgh Opera will help promote Opera Theater's abridged performances of Wagner Ring cycle this summer. Pittsburgh Opera will also include a 2007-08 Opera Theater production in its subscription package.
The Pittsburgh Opera recently announced its 2006-07 season, which will include a new production of Gounod's Rom_o et Juliette, as well as Britten's Billy Budd and Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, rumors of a merger have circulated since Pittsburgh Opera announced that its new production of Mozart's The Magic Flute will be directed by Jonathan Eaton, artistic and general director of Opera Theater.
The Pittsburgh Opera, which was founded in 1939, has a budget of $7.5 million. Opera Theater was founded in 1978 and operates with a budget of $750,000. While it might seem that the smaller company has more to gain from the collaboration, Weinstein told PlaybillArts, "It's not just about money, but about raising the visibility of opera in Pittsburgh. We both gain if opera becomes more important here."
Mergers and collaborations are becoming more common among cash-strapped organizations; the Cleveland Opera and Lyric Opera Cleveland recently approved a plan to consolidate their organizations.