A Performing Arts Powerhouse
In 2012, leadership of the Dayton Opera, Dayton Ballet, and Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra created a groundbreaking and innovative merger, forging these three art forms into one organization named the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. This merger is the first of its kind in the nation—in no other city can performing arts lovers experience the dramatic collaboration with the range and depth of experiences being offered in the Dayton community. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, with Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Ballet, and Dayton Opera as its three crown jewels, has carefully planned for future success by creating a single management structure and business operating unit while preserving and promoting the integrity and identity of each of its three art forms. This alliance, unique in the nation, emulates the model of highly successful European performing arts organizations, taking artistic collaboration to a new level.
A Collaboration of Minds, Businesses, and Artistic Visions
In early February of 2012, the Merger Agreement was approved individually by each of the arts organization’s respective governing boards. In February and March of 2012, the Dayton Ballet and Dayton Opera associations’ membership, respectively and per those organizations’ by-laws, also approved the Merger. As of July 1, 2012, the three organizations became a single entity.
Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra (DPO) presents masterpieces from the broadest range of composers and explores boundaries with exciting new experiences. Founded in 1933, the DPO has a distinguished place in the Gem City’s history as one of the Miami Valley’s oldest and longest-standing cultural institutions. A regional orchestra with 83 contracted musicians and a rich artistic tradition, the Dayton Philharmonic is proud to call the world-class, state-of-the-art Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center its home. Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman inspires each listener’s imagination with his unique programming, in-depth comments, easygoing style and infectious enthusiasm for music. His focus is to make symphonic music readily available to, as well as appreciated by, people of all musical tastes. The DPO proudly presents a wide variety of genres throughout each season, including Masterworks, SuperPops, Classical Connections, Chamber, Family, and Rockin’ Orchestra programs, totaling over 45 varied and unique performances every season.
Dayton Ballet presents the holiday favorite The Nutcracker, classic story ballets, and captivating repertory performances with creative new works. The second-oldest ballet company in the United States, Dayton Ballet proudly celebrated its 80th season with the 2017–2018 season. Dayton Ballet is known nationally as “The Company of Premieres,” being one of the top three dance companies in the nation that produces and presents new work, as well as the only dance company to establish a fund designated specifically to create new full-length 21st-century ballets. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Karen Russo Burke, Dayton Ballet hosts a season of four to five performances that includes familiar traditional story ballets, such as Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, and Swan Lake, the classic family-friendly holiday staple The Nutcracker, and new and innovative works. The historic 1,139-seat Victoria Theatre and the state-of-the-art 2,300 seat Schuster Center are both home to the Dayton Ballet.
Dayton Opera prepares a daring, bold, and wide-ranging season of song and staged works. From the first meetings of its founders in the fall of 1960, Dayton Opera has enriched the cultural life of the Miami Valley. Dayton Opera’s nearly 60-year history began when Dayton Opera performed its first season in 1961–1962. In 2003, Dayton Opera moved to its new home at the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center, enabling the company to produce bigger and better productions in an acoustically superior theatre. Artistic Director Thomas Bankston and Dayton Opera present four programs each season over eight dates, including a Season Opening Spectacular, engaging operas from the classic repertoire, such as The Barber of Seville, Otello and Madame Butterfly, groundbreaking new works from thought-provoking 20th-century composers, such as The Consul and Dead Man Walking, and grand sweeping operatic events, from Aida to La bohème to Carmen. Dayton Opera has proven itself as a world-class opera company, attracting richly talented vocalists and stage directors from across the country and around the world.