Media Release - Pacific Opera Facing Shock Closure

Tuesday, 25 October, 2016


One of Australia’s most important and successful programs for exceptional performers is under threat. Long the provider of emerging singers of excellence to Opera Australia and numerous other international companies, PACIFIC OPERA is at risk of closure after its primary source of funding, private donations, have all but ceased.

A highly regarded and well-managed company, PACIFIC OPERA is a critical support platform that has launched the careers of many young singers.

Described as ‘the young artist’s opera company’, PACIFIC OPERA in Sydney is facing shock closure. This would devastate Australia’s opera scene, depriving young talent of the opportunities they have worked many years to achieve. It is the operative equivalent of closing an elite sporting program without notice.

The popular company, founded by former Opera Australia principal Christine Douglas, has successfully developed more than 120 singers over the past decade — more than 70 of whom have become professional singers with Opera Australia and other esteemed international companies.

After suggestions of closure were made public there was a groundswell of support from well-known figures and companies in the arts sector here and overseas, including leading establishments like Sydney Opera House and Opera Australia, with many of OA’s current performing company also alumni of PACIFIC OPERA. Opera star and alumna Eva Kong said, “Without Pacific Opera for the young opera singers, there is not much opportunity for them.”

Craig Hassall AM, Chief Executive of Opera Australia, has urged all opera lovers to support PACIFIC OPERA, highlighting that OA has “relied on the pipeline created by PACIFIC OPERA for many years”.

“For the opera sector in Australia to remain a successful one, it’s important that companies like PACIFIC OPERA are supported and encouraged,” Mr Hassall said. “Between us all, we can ensure that this important Australian organisation continues to be a strong part of our industry.”

Artistic Director Simon Kenway says the company has no plans to rest on its laurels, and has taken many steps to accumulate support including launching a crowdfunding campaign, a new donor drive, as well as hosting fundraising opportunities with some of the program’s best and brightest.

“We will not go quietly into the night. We will fight for our survival and reach out for the help needed to continue to develop Australia’s performers today,” says Mr Kenway. “So few opportunities exist for this post tertiary development, it would be a tragedy to see it disappear.”

“Opera forms a crucial chapter in Australia’s history, with one of our most beautiful landmarks the Sydney Opera House,” Mr Kenway added. “We must foster our great talent or risk seeing a part of our artistic heritage slip through our fingers, along with the dreams of many talented performers.”

In order to continue our mission to support young opera performers, PACIFIC OPERA will launch a major fundraising campaign on 20 October, 2016. Their goal is to raise $100,000 by 29 November, 2016. 

Those interested in donating should contact PACIFIC OPERA before the funding deadline of 29 November 2016 (details below).






Pamela Andrews, Operations Manager, Pacific Opera

P:  0409 217 191      E:                                                                    


Notes for Editors

Pacific Opera was established in 2003 as a company limited by guarantee, with former Opera Australia principal, Christine Douglas, as Artistic Director and a board of prominent business and professional people. It has long had Deductible Gift Recipient status (DGR) so that donations to the company are tax deductible. During our 13 years of operation we have established an important position in the Australian opera landscape. Now an established company with a growing reputation, we offer young singers the chance to develop their vocal and performance skills to advance into the international opera arena. The company also serves as training ground for a variety of emerging performing arts professionals hoping to carve a career in directing, orchestra, design, lighting design and arts administration.

Letters of Support

Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation

Opera Australia

Sydney Opera House

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