Opera Philadelphia’s O Festival is on Hold

By Francisco Salazar

Opera Philadelphia is putting its O Festival on hold.

The news comes as the company announced its 2024-25 season, which included three opera productions.

In a statement to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Opera Philadelphia general director and president David B. Devan said, “It worked for a time, and then COVID happened and it’s not working the way it once did. We need to think about something that might work better.”

The news comes as the company is facing economic hardships. Last year, Opera Philadelphia announced it was cutting its budget and eliminating five positions and Devan would be stepping down from his position.

According to the Inquirer, many of the hardships began post-pandemic as audiences didn’t return in the numbers expected. According to the article, 2019 saw 12,000 tickets distributed for the O19 festival and in 2022 only 6,970 were purchased while in 2023 only 7,600 were distributed which was about 59 percent of seats filled.

While the company has not decided what will happen to the festival during the 2024-25 season, there were suggestions that it may move to another time slot instead of September or it may remain in hiatus for the entire season.

Devan did note that he doesn’t believe that a permanent cancellation will happen but it will be up to his successor to see what the future of the festival will be.