Palm Beach Opera and Kravis Center Discuss Possible New Venue

Classic Arts News   Palm Beach Opera and Kravis Center Discuss Possible New Venue
Kravis Center and the Palm Beach Opera officials are discussing the possibility of building a new West Palm Beach concert hall, the Palm Beach Post reports.

The 1,200- to 1,500-seat venue, which would accommodate the opera company, the center's presentations, and performances by renter groups, would be built on a two-acre drainage area on the Kravis Center's property, and would likely cost more than $50 million.

According to the Post, the center has intended to build an additional venue since it bought the land in 1998, but the idea has acquired new intensity since Palm Beach Opera board chair Bob Montgomery resigned last week, citing his frustration at the lack of rehearsal and performance time for the opera company.

The company's incoming chair, Jim Beasley, said of the idea, "We all think it's very much worth exploring."

Where the money will come from for the project is still unclear, and successful fundraising would probably require a combined effort from both Palm Beach Opera and the Kravis Center. Alex Dreyfoos, the Kravis Center's founding chair, said that the most likely scenario to jump-start the fundraising campaign would be a major financial commitment from the opera company, which in turn would guarantee a number of performance dates in either the new venue or the center's 2,198-seat theater.

The two organizations, however, have had a difficult relationship in the past. Before the economic downturn following September 11, the opera company had planned to build its own $80 million downtown venue, which would have competed directly with the Kravis Center.

Montgomery, before he resigned, had offered the center an additional $5 million for more performance and rehearsal time, an offer the center's board rejected.

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