National review of opera

31 July 2014

For the first time the Australian Government will conduct a national review of opera in Australia.

This is a timely opportunity to take a comprehensive look at this important art form in Australia.

I have asked Dr Helen Nugent AO, who chaired the 1999 Major Performing Arts Inquiry, to chair the National Opera Review. Moffatt Oxenbould AM, who is well-known to opera lovers as an artistic director, and Andrew McKinnon, impresario, will also bring a wealth of experience to the panel which will meet for the first time today.

The review will examine the artistic vibrancy, engagement with audiences and financial positions of Opera Australia, State Opera of South Australia, West Australian Opera and Opera Queensland. These organisations are funded by the Australian Government through the Australia Council as major performing arts companies.

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.

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.

I have 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 will provide recommendations for my consideration in early 2015.