10 August 2016

Pacific Opera Company, after 13 years of providing unique opportunities for emerging young opera singers to participate in its Young Artists Program and fully-staged opera productions, will close its doors. The Board has resolved that in an environment where future funding is challenging and the Company has achieved its purpose, it is an appropriate time to wind the company down in an orderly way.

At a private function for supporters held in Sydney last night, the Chair of Pacific Opera Company, Ms Trish Carroll, announced, “2016 is Pacific Opera Company’s final year.”

The company’s Young Artists Program has helped more than 120 singers, of whom approximately 70 have gone on to become members of Opera Australia, state opera companies and overseas opera companies. A highlight of the Program was its annual fully-staged opera production, which until the last few years provided a rare opportunity for young artists to experience the whole creative and performance process. Last year it staged The Cunning Little Vixen with 80 performers and the Sydney Youth Orchestra. This was its most ambitious project – creatively, financially and logistically.

“The Young Artists Program is provided on an almost free basis as young singers simply do not have the means to pay for the type of coaching, mentoring and engagement with industry gurus that the Program provides, and without recurring funding, we just cannot continue. Despite the generosity of many individuals, our Gala Dinner fundraising event this year fell short of its target, and all attempts to secure funding from a variety of sources, public and private, keep drawing blanks.”

On a positive note, Ms Carroll points out, “In the last five or so years, many new opera companies have sprung up, such as Blush Opera, Opera Projects, Western Sydney Opera, Opera Prometheus and Bare Bones Opera, and these companies provide performance opportunities for emerging singers that just weren’t there a few years ago.” While the Pacific Opera Company Board members are all saddened by the need to close the Company, they also feel the Company has largely achieved its purpose – it has created a model for other small performance companies to follow by encouraging young singers and opera creatives to strike out on their own, seek funding from private donors and supporters, and make their own performance opportunities.

As George Palmer, long-time Chair of Pacific Opera and now its Patron, said at last night’s function, “I feel proud of what Pacific Opera has achieved and everyone associated with the company should also feel proud as we have helped so many young singers and contributed to creating a vibrant young opera culture as witnessed by the many companies that are springing up now, many led by Pacific Opera alumni.”
Ms Carroll told last night’s audience, “I’m sure the industry will miss the pipeline of talent Pacific Opera has helped nurture, as no other company is fulfilling that role, but without substantial donors, we just cannot continue.”

This month, our Young Artists are participating in Master classes with various industry gurus, including US-based Chuck Hudson. These Master classes conclude the Program for 2016 and the Company’s activities, unless the Company secures $100,000 in funding before 30 September 2016.