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Atlanta Opera to move to suburbs

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FAT LADY WARMS UP AS OPERA GETS CLOSER TO COBB CENTER MOVE

By TOM SABULIS , PIERRE RUHE

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 01/26/2006

For perhaps the first time ever, one of Atlanta's major arts institutions looks like it's moving to the suburbs.

Hampered for years by the lack of suitable venues inside the city, the Atlanta Opera on Wednesday came one step closer to moving its performances lock, stock and baritones to the $145 million Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre (CEPAC) under construction near the intersection of I-75 and 285.

The opera's board of directors voted unanimously to enter official negotiations to begin performances at the 2,750-seat facility in fall 2007, about the same time the facility is scheduled to open to the public.

If it happens, the opera's move would take some of the luster off Atlanta's cultural renaissance, which includes the new Georgia Aquarium and the expanded High Museum of Art, as well as the campaign to build a new concert hall for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

But it also would underscore the growing importance of the suburbs in metro Atlanta's performance landscape, with the success of the Gwinnett Arena, Spivey Hall in Clayton County, and now the Cobb Energy Centre.

The rest of the article can be found here:

http://www.accessatlanta.com/news/content/...126lvopera.html

Is this move a smart move for the Atlanta Opera? How do you think it will affect Atlanta's cultural identity?

With the recent emergence of big suburban entertainment venues (Gwinnett Arena, Spivey Hall, and Cobb Energy Centre) competing with venues in the city, is Atlanta falling behind in the race to host entertainment shows? Or is this the natural progression of suburban areas becoming more urbanized and populated, thereby creating more demand for entertainment venues in general?

Will this change anyone's plans in the future to see an opera performance if its not located in downtown?

IMHO, this further validates the role of suburban counties in the metro Atlanta cultural/entertainment landscape, as the article said. Cobb County can offer the opera better space and probably for less rent than its city counterparts.

This is a clear example of how the city relies on the suburbs for support, and vice versa. Of course we know that Atlanta's suburbs couldn't survive without Atlanta. But Atlanta couldn't survive without its vast suburbs to give it the economic/international clout it currently enjoys.

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Personally, I am saddened by this development. While it probably serves the Opera's interests in the short term, I think it will limit them in the future.

Currently their options are poor. The Fox is stunning, but they can't get the dates there. The Civic Center is enormous and lacks charm. So, in a way, I can see why they are doing this. Also, a greater percentage of their patrons are going to be on the North side of town.

Long term, however, I think they would be best served by being in town. The central location would help them attract people from all over the metro area. (Indeed, the Cobb location will probably greatly reduce the chances that I'd see one of their future performances.) Plus, there will probably be more options as far as venues in the future. (Anyone know what will become of the Woodruff Symphony Hall once the new ASO building is built?) There is also something to be said for the critical mass of arts institutions all in Midtown.

Perhaps they wil change course after a few seasons in the 'burbs. Particularly if intown continues it's renaissance.

PS: You're going to get in trouble from the moderators for posting the whole article. :whistling:

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I hate to admit it, but I've only been to the opera twice in Atlanta. I've only made a contribution once, and I don't think I've ever volunteered my time. So unless they get public money, I probably have no business saying anything about it one way or the other.

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Atlanta has an opera!?

Yes...........and a very good one at that.

As to the move....

I agree with what Newnan Eric said. I don't think this is a good move for the Atlanta Opera. I am a northsider and I had no problem is going to town to see a performance. I have been a patron for many years....which is probably why they do Mozart's "Don Giovanni" (on of my favorites) so often. BTW, happy 250th birthday to Mozart. Anyway, one of my gripes with the Atlanta market is the lack of interest in the performing arts. Overall for a metro of this size, the numbers at most of the playhouses and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is embarrassing. Perhaps the Atlanta Opera will one day be granted a nice performance hall. For anyone who has not been to a performance of the Atlanta Opera, you will be pleasantly surprised.

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So, will it be renamed the Marietta Opera or the Smyrna Opera or the Formerly Atlanta opera? ;)

I don't like what they aredoing, even though it will probably serve their best intersets right now. However, will it continue to do so in the future?

Cobb County doesn't need two Big Chickens. ;)

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This is part of the trend of bringing the culture out the suburbs. I have heard of suburbs creating their own cultural organizations but I have not heard of an established organization moving out of the city.

It makes sense in a way because the opera will be closer to the people that probably go to it but it does hurt the cultural scene of namesake city.

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I think they would have been better to move to the Perimeter Center area than to the Galleria/Cumberland area. It's centrally located and accessible to public tranportation....not that that would be a plus since I can't imagine anyone taking a subway to the theater.....

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Atlanta has an opera!?

I think this perfectly underscores Atlanta's problem. It has no "definition." People don't know what it has or doesn't have, what it can offer the visitor, the explorer, the new resident. It is a relatively "new" American city, so it is having trouble competing effectively with more famous, established cities like New York and Chicago. People should know by now that it's not a southern backwater where people say Y'all and eat grits anymore (although some sure do and theres nothing wrong with it). It may take time for a city to establish itself as a sophisticated metropolis. I'm sure other cities had these problems at first. I do think the tide is turning because of the increasing numbers of celebrities and wealthy people knowing about it and visiting. They aren't coming for nothing. Elton John chooses to live there part time, so that tells you something!

Still, I don't like the sound of this. I think the opera outta be downtown, where it belongs. I hate to see everything move to suburbs. Good for Cobb, I guess... :unsure:

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Not to be too picky about this, but the mailing address for the Cobb Energy Centre will be Atlanta, GA 30339. My office window has a fantastic view of this facility right by the building that I work in.

So, technically, it will still be the Atlanta Opera in Atlanta, GA. You could literally hit a golf ball from the Cobb Energy Centre parking deck into Fulton County. Seriously. It's that close. We are arguing about semantics.

Would the Atlanta Opera be better served long-term in the downtown/Midtown core? Absolutely. Will this (most likely) temporary move hurt anyone? No way.

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Not to be too picky about this, but the mailing address for the Cobb Energy Centre will be Atlanta, GA 30339. My office window has a fantastic view of this facility right by the building that I work in.

So, technically, it will still be the Atlanta Opera in Atlanta, GA.

I find it interesting that Cobb County allowed Atlanta's name to be attached to one of it's zip codes. Then that zip code happens to be the one where all of the new awe-inspiring (from a suburbanite's view) urban development is occuring. Especially, considering how much the County historically tried to distance itself from the city.

Back to the subject, it is sad that the Opera is moving to Cumberland but if they didn't have a decent home in the city then you can't really blame them. However, I don't know much of their history. Hopefully, the 'burbs won't steal away anything else from the city.

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I have seen an Atlanta Opera performance, Don Giovani I believe - not the biggest fan of opera though. Nonetheless, at the Fox it was quite a thing to experience.

But as for the move, I am slightly puzzled since it was just 5 years ago they moved into a new facility. But the bigger problem is that they didn't have their own performance facility, sharing the Fox is a bit too much. But I can't blame them, the opera isn't fully respected in this city.

Regarding the zip codes - no county is in control of that - it's all up to the Post Master. Since there are very few municipalities in the metro, it's a common problem. So - most businesses request an Atlanta zip code, which is why Cumberland, Perimeter, & Northlake all have Atlanta addresses. Even though much of Cumberland borders Smyrna, much of Perimeter is in Sandy Springs & Northlake is closer to Doraville.

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Even though much of Cumberland borders Smyrna, much of Perimeter is in Sandy Springs & Northlake is closer to Doraville.

As a side note, will that still be possible for Perimeter to have Atlanta addresses now that Sandy Springs is incorporated?

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Yes, because much of the area around Perimeter (at least the mall / Ashford-Dunwoody Road area) is actually closer to Dunwoody than to Sandy Springs.

Also... I used to work in that area, and trust me, no one WANTS the Atlanta address. Most of them have Atlanta zip codes, yet still tell everyone they're in Dunwoody (even going so far as to have an Atlanta zip code while still writing their mailing address as Dunwoody.) It was almost as if "Atlanta" was a four-letter word to them.

I look forward to a hopeful future where for people OTP, Atlanta isn't a bad word.

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I look forward to a hopeful future where for people OTP, Atlanta isn't a bad word.

But for a business operating on any sort of national scale, isn't the name-recognition of "Atlanta" a huge plus?

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I used to work in that area, and trust me, no one WANTS the Atlanta address.

I would have to disagree. Although some may prefer a Dunwoody mailing address, I don't believe that feeling is universal at all. Having an Atlanta address is an important consideration for some businesses, including some which are located in the Perimeter area.

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Yeah, I totally disagree too. I work out there, and most of the companies we deal with are not based in the U.S. Trust me, they all know where Atlanta is - but Dunwoody? Don't think so.

For people that don't get to this area often, you would not believe how rapidly it's urbanizing. I see a lot of good things happening around Perimeter on a daily basis.

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