The Federal Minister for the Arts, Senator George Brandis has announced a national review of opera in Australia, examining the artistic vibrancy, engagement with audiences and financial positions of Opera Australia, State Opera of South Australia, West Australian Opera and Opera Queensland.
These four organisations are funded by the Australian Government through the Australia Council as major performing arts companies, which together receive more than $32 million annually in government funding.
In announcing the review, the Senator said it is a timely opportunity to take a comprehensive look at this important art form in Australia.
“The purpose of the enquiry is to ensure that Australian audiences continue to enjoy opera of the highest quality and that the opera companies can operate in a financially sustainable way,” said Brandis.
“Public consultation will be a key part of the review and I encourage those in the arts sector and anyone who enjoys opera to make a submission.”
Dr Helen Nugent AO, who chaired the 1999 Major Performing Arts Inquiry, has been asked chair the National Opera Review, while Moffatt Oxenbould AM, well-known to opera lovers as an artistic director, and impresario Andrew McKinnon, who also brings a wealth of experience, rounds out the three member panel.
The Senator has also written to state arts ministers, whose governments also invest in these companies, to seek their comments on the terms of reference for the review. Once finalised, the terms of reference will be available from the Ministry for the Arts.
Details on the public consultation component of the review will also be available in due course. The panel is expected to provide recommendations to the Senator for his consideration in early 2015.
Image: Opera Australia’s production of The Turk in Italy – photo by Lisa Tomasetti