Utah Symphony and Utah Opera: a Merger Proposal
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
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Lockhart expressed concern that had the orchestra not believed in his leadership; they had the ability to render him ineffective as a conductor (Delong & Ager, 2005, p. 9). This exposed a window of opportunity for Ewers to sidestep Lockhart should she feel his efforts were counterproductive. Ewer could meet with the musicians without the presence of Lockhart and share with them that the symphony would not be taking a backseat to the opera, and it was the symphony they depended on for performances due to their year round schedule. The new direction could potentially allow for expansion of the symphony if they were to become the sole orchestra for the opera. This could allow for either growth in headcount, or increased pay from the additional productions. If they were successful in becoming a Group I orchestra, this would give them national exposure and perhaps advancement onto grander stages. This approach for power and affiliation might be the key to motivate. The final obstacle Ewers faced was overcoming the concerns of the opera trustees, full-time staff, along with the artists. What Ewers had in her favor was that the each entity in its own was net positive in their income statements for 2000-2001, and both were
forecasting the same in 2001-2002 (Delong & Ager, 2005, p. 15). The symphony was operating without a CEO, which made it easy for the opera leadership to take step in and take charge.