National Opera Review: 1. Introduction and Discussion Paper

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The National Opera Review was instigated by then Commonwealth Arts Minister, George Brandis, in 2014. While named the National Opera Review, it took in only the four largest companies funded as “major” companies by the Commonwealth: Opera Australia, the “national company”, and the state companies of Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland. It thus excluded activities by all other companies including the Victorian Opera, excluded only by happenstance from funding as a major company and a number of smaller but excellent companies that make up a large part of the cutting edge of opera in Australia.

The Review Panel was supposed to report after about half a year but nothing was heard from it. There was much political uproar provoked by some actions of Brandis and it began to be assumed that when he was dismissed as Minister, the Review had sunk with him.

But then suddenly appeared the Discussion Paper. It gave a wealth of previously unavailable information and set off a sequence of actions. We follow these through here. Together, they give a pretty good sense of how opera works in Australia.

There are three government papers – numbers 1, 3, 5 in our sequence: the Discussion Paper, the Final Report of the Review Panel, and the Government’s Response to the Report. These are interleaved by a submission by The Music Trust to the Review, Richard Letts’s response to the Final Report and finally, his commentary on the Government’s Response.

To begin the sequence, please click through to the Discussion Paper at

Articles in this series

National Opera Review: 1. Introduction and Discussion Paper

National Opera Review: 2. Submission by The Music Trust

National Opera Review: 3. Final Report of the Review Committee

National Opera Review: 4. Response to the Final Report

National Opera Review: 5. Response to the Final Report by the Government

National Opera Review: 6. Response to the Government by The Music Trust


National Opera Review Panel

DATE Published September 2015, Uploaded April 5 2018

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