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West Australian Opera 2022 - La traviata Photo: Clinton Bradbury


Brookfield Place Koolbardi wer Wardong Mural — Photo: Hybrid Minds.


We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we live, work and create, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation, and we pay deep respect to Elders past and present.

Wesfarmers Arts Commission Koolbardi wer Wardong Regional tour — Photo: Mellen Burns.

Principal Partner Wesfarmers Arts

Wesfarmers is Western Australia’s leading corporate supporter of the arts with a demonstrated leadership position in Australia and is the Principal Partner of the state opera company.

Wesfarmers Arts recognises that opera offers a unique and rich experience involving principal singers, actors, chorus, orchestra, a conductor, director, choreography and high production values including sets, costumes, lighting, and backstage elements: it is indeed a multi-sensory art form.

Wesfarmers and West Australian Opera first worked together in 1998.

Since then the partnership has expanded to embrace production seasons, the commissioning of new work in Noongar language including Koolbardi wer Wardong in 2020 and Wundig wer Wilura in 2022, ongoing annual support, and the Wesfarmers Young Artists program.

In 2009 Wesfarmers became the Principal Partner of West Australian Opera.

This Principal Partnership underpins the ongoing life and vitality of the state opera company in Western Australia. This award-winning partnership is fundamental to the state opera company and is appreciated and valued by the board, management, artists, and audiences.

Andrew Pascoe — Photo: Ammon Photography.

Chairman’s Report

“West Australian Opera is deeply appreciative to our audiences, donors, partners, stakeholders, and governments for the unwavering support given to the state opera company throughout these extraordinary times.”

I am pleased to present West Australian Opera’s Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2022.

We recognised the continuing challenges and impacts of COVID-19 on our communities throughout this year.

We are grateful to you, our stakeholders, patrons, sponsors, and donors, for staying close to us. We are proud to maintain strong partnerships with our supporters all of whom have contributed to our success.

I recognise and acknowledge our Principal Partner Wesfarmers Arts who enabled the Wesfarmers Arts Commission on 2020/21 of Koolbardi wer Wardong (the magpie and the crow) from Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse which was presented this year in Albany, Esperance, and Kalgoorlie. I thank them for supporting the second Williams / Ghouse commission in 2022/3 in a new and beautiful work entitled Wundig wer Wilura.

We are grateful to the Western Australian Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Lotterywest and to the Australian Government through the Australia Council for their ongoing support through the National Performing Arts Framework.

Thank you to patrons who offer personal contributions and continued commitment to the company through the Private Giving Program. We are grateful for leadership donations through the Bendat Scholarship & the Bel Canto Fund and, trusts and foundations who give their support. We are grateful for the gift of FMG shares that we hold. We are grateful for the Joyce E Young bequest recently received.

I thank my fellow directors for their support, time, and expertise. I thank the management and staff of West Australian Opera for their ongoing work, passion, and commitment in bringing opera to the stage.

I acknowledge the new Vice Regal Patron of West Australian Opera, His Excellency the Honourable Chris Dawson AC APM, Governor of Western Australia.


Carolyn Chard AM — Photo: Alana Blowfield

Executive Director’s Report

“The arts enrich our lives, bringing us moments of joy and connecting us with our humanity. I gratefully recognise the support of Principal Partner Wesfarmers Arts who have enabled two new works in Noongar language from Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse through the Wesfarmers Arts Commission.”

I acknowledge the sacred land on which we live, work, rehearse and present opera, the Whadjuk Noongar Boodja, and pay respect to elders past and present.

The dramatic impact of COVID-19 on the live performance sector and the arts in general continued to challenge the presentation of live shows and particularly impacted Carmen (rescheduled to 2023) and cast changes to several shows including Tosca.

We are here to share the joy of opera with many people around the state. There has never been a greater need for the power of the arts to reconnect us to our community, rewire our hearts, and take solace in music and art.

We kept sight of our dream to speak to the heart through the human voice; to share the joy of music through opera and the powerful stories opera tells.

We are very grateful to our staff and artists for their willingness to continue to find new approaches to work in live performance in a safe new way while maintaining passion and energy and commitment.

I acknowledge and thank all of the company’s stakeholders, patrons, donors, partners, sponsors, trusts and foundations. It is the aim of West Australian Opera to deliver excellence both on and off the stage, and I wish to acknowledge and thank the Chairman and Board.

My grateful thanks to Artistic Director, Chris van Tuinen and to staff and colleagues with whom I work closely all year-round at West Australian Opera, His Majesty’s Theatre, Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Arts and Culture Trust, the Australia Council, Lotterywest, Healthway and industry colleagues. Thank you to our collaborators at Opera Queensland and the State Opera of South Australia with whom we created a new production of La traviata this year.


Chris van Tuinen — Photo: Alana Blowfield.

Artistic Director’s Report

"Our focus is always to be a West Australian company, producing work here, supporting artists from here, and engaging audiences here, in performances that compare to the best around the world."

2022 was a year in which we saw the best and worst effects of the pandemic here at West Australian Opera. With the borders reopening and increased restrictions on events and artists we sadly had to cancel our season of Carmen at the WACA Ground. Last minute changes including cast, crew, and musicians in isolation for COVID-19 and uncertainty in the audience appetite made the following seasons of Iolanta, The Duel, and Tosca more challenging to bring to the stage. For example, the July season alone saw over a third of our chorus change personnel during the rehearsals and performances.

That being said, we never missed a curtain up and the quality of work was excellent. By September we were delighted to produce the world premiere of Our Little Inventor and a new production of La traviata. Extraordinary performances in thoughtful productions, showing us again how the artform can move and transform audiences of all types.

Much of the work in 2022 goes towards planning for future years and we’re looking forward to an exciting season of work. Particular highlights will be seeing Carmen take to the stage at the WACA Ground, seeing fantastic Aussie directors in Cameron Menzies and Matt Ward make their debuts with the company, having Jen Winley in the pit for the first time with us, and of course the commissioning and development of Gina and Guy’s new piece Wundig wer Wilura.

Our focus is always to be a West Australian company, producing work here, supporting artists from here, and engaging audiences here, in performances that compare to the best around the world.

And to that end we’re incredibly fortunate to have the calibre of artists, not just singers but musicians, directors, designers, stage managers, marketers and arts leaders living in Perth and leaning into the efforts of the company. To them all I say thank you. To the Board and Carolyn Chard AM, with such considered and thoughtful leadership, the company is in the place it is because of you.


West Australian Opera 2022 - La traviata — Photo: Clinton Bradbury.

West Australian Opera

West Australian Opera was established in 1967 and has been Western Australia’s full-time, professional opera company for over 50 years.

The company presents operas drawn from the mainstream operatic repertoire and increasingly is involved in the commissioning and development of new repertoire.

West Australian Opera presents productions in metropolitan Perth as well as programs throughout regional Western Australia. Other programs offered by the company include Wesfarmers Arts Singing Classes, Primary and Secondary Education work, ancillary concerts, community events, appearances, masterclasses, and mentorship and development through the Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist Program.

It is an incorporated association with a board of nine directors chaired by Andrew Pascoe. The company receives income from federal and state funding, box office revenue, donations, and sponsorship.

The company expresses its gratitude to the federal government and Australia Council, the state government and Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, and the local government through the City Of Perth.

West Australian Opera acknowledges valued Principal Partner, Wesfarmers Arts.

The Board

Andrew Pascoe

Board Director (Appointed December 2017)
Nomination Committee
Risk Committee (COVID19)

Andrew Pascoe is a lawyer, and is a partner in the corporate group of Allens in Perth. Andrew specialises in mergers and acquisitions transactions, and major project and infrastructure development. He also practices in the area of equity capital markets, corporate governance, incorporated and unincorporated joint ventures, foreign investment in Australia, private equity transactions, and a range of commercial contracts and transactions.

Darren Lewsen

Deputy Chair (appointed April 2023)
Board Director (appointed April 2017)
Chair, Finance and Audit Committee
Risk Committee (COVID19)

Darren is the Western Region Assurance Leader for Ernst & Young, where he leads a practice comprising 15 partners and 160 employees. Darren is also a member of EY’s Oceania Assurance Leadership Team. With more than 20 years’ experience providing assurance services and advice across a diverse range of industries, Darren has led audits, due diligence assignments and advisory engagements for a number of Australia's largest listed companies.

Janet Barnes

Board Director (appointed August 2019)
Artistic and Marketing Committee

Janet is currently the Executive, Enterprise, and Government for Telstra. Prior to joining Telstra in 2015, Janet’s diverse industry portfolio included leadership positions within the Pharmaceutical, FMCG, Banking & Financial Services Industry. Janet holds an Executive MBA from UWA, is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (WA), Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and Director of the Australian Institute of Management (WA).

Alison Gaines

Board Director (appointed April 2022)
Artistic and Marketing Committee

Alison leads boutique board and strategy advisory firm Gaines Advisory, following an executive career as global CEO of search firm Gerard Daniels and leader of its international board practice, CEO of the Law Society of WA and Director of the Public Sector Management Office (WA Government). She is also an active NED and chair of boards and remuneration, nomination and governance committees, and finance audit and risk committee member, for over 25 years including as Deputy Chancellor of Murdoch University, President AIMWA, Deputy Chair Australian Institute of Company Directors (WA Division), Deputy Chair of an INSEAD international alumni network and non executive director of Tura New Music Ltd. She is currently chair of Hiremii Ltd, and non-executive director of Blackstone Minerals Ltd and The College of Law Ltd and independent Chair Nominations Committee Hockey Australia. She received an honorary doctorate from Murdoch University for her contribution to the University and the community.

Anthony Gianotti

Board Director (appointed January 2018)
Finance and Audit Committee

Anthony is the Chief Financial Officer of Wesfarmers Limited. He was appointed to this role in November 2017 following his appointment as Deputy Chief Financial Officer in July 2017. Prior to this, he was Deputy Managing Director of the Industrials division from February 2017 and Finance Director from August 2015. Anthony started with Wesfarmers in 2004, and his other roles include Manager, Investor Relations; Finance Director of Wesfarmers Insurance and Managing Director of Wesfarmers Insurance. Anthony began his career with Ernst & Young in business services and corporate finance and has held senior corporate finance roles advising on mergers and acquisitions and corporate strategy with Hambros Bank and Société Générale in Sydney, London and Melbourne. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Curtin University, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investments, is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. He is a director of a number of Wesfarmers Group subsidiaries.

Christiaan Heyning

Board Director (appointed August 2018)
Chair, Artistic and Marketing Committee

Christiaan is Head of Decarbonisation at Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), where he is responsible for realising Fortescue’s decarbonisation commitments across FFI and FMG. Prior to FFI, Christiaan co-founded the Perth office of McKinsey and led its Sustainability and Digital Practices, and the O&G practice in Amsterdam before that. Before joining McKinsey Christiaan started up his own company in eLearning in the late 1990s in Singapore and London, and worked for an IT services firm across Europe. Christiaan Heyning holds a Masters Degree in applied physics with a specialization in Material Science at the University of Groningen.

Ingrid O’Brien

Board Director (appointed 2010)

Ingrid is a Lecturer in the Marketing discipline in the Murdoch Business School at Murdoch University, with a special interest in customer engagement. She also runs her own boutique marketing strategy consultancy. As a specialist in the area of marketing strategy, Ingrid has over 20 years international consulting experience. She has worked in Australia, UK, Europe, USA and China, with a variety of blue-chip companies across a range of sectors such as financial services, resources, not-for-profits, professional services, healthcare, retail, agriculture, government, online marketing and education.

Jan Stewart

Board Director (appointed April 2015)
Artistic and Marketing Committee

Jan Stewart PSM, BA, MSW. HonDLitt.WAsust, FAIM, GAICD held the position of CEO of Lotterywest from 1992 to December 2014 prior to her retirement in 2015. Jan has extensive board experience with a diverse range of organisations, both locally and internationally over many years. These have included that of Senior Vice President on the Executive Committee of the World Lottery Association for more than eight years. She held the inaugural position of President of the Asia Pacific Lottery Association from 1999 to 2004 and was again a member of the Executive Committee of that organization from 2012-14. She was a member of the Hale School Board for 12 years, the board of Save the Children for 5 years, the Board of St Bart's for 5 years and of Mercycare for 5 years and was Chair of the Centre for Social Impact at UWA for 10 years. Currently, apart from the West Australian Opera board she is a member of the Board of the Perkins Medical Research Institute, a trustee of the Feilman Foundation, Chairman of the Raine Study Board and is member of the University of Western Australia’s Sports Advisory Committee.

West Australian Opera 2022 - La traviata — Photo: Clinton Bradbury.

2022 Key Achievements

*COVID19 affected year.

West Australian Opera 2022 - Our Little Inventor — Photo: Rebecca Mansell

2022 Outcomes

The evaluation framework applied by Culture Counts uses a standardised set of outcome metrics called ‘dimensions’ to measure the quality and impact of cultural events. They have been developed through extensive work with the sector, internationally tested and academically validated.

Attendees and participants who accessed West Australian Opera events online and in person, were surveyed about their experience. Surveys included a set of dimensions that were selected in alignment with West Australian Opera’s strategic goals.

Dimensions are responded to using a 101-point sliding scale. Respondents are asked to indicate how much they agree with a statement by sliding the marker between zero (Strongly Disagree) and 100 (Strongly Agree). The resulting data is used to measure the unique cultural, social, economic and place outcomes of West Australian Opera’s 2022 season.

The outcomes chart below shows a selection of average scores for outcome metrics that were asked across West Australian Opera’s attendee and participant surveys in 2022. Also included below is the full list of dimensions featured in the Annual Report 2022, under the 'Outcome Assessment' section.


Outcome Assessment
Domain Dimension Dimension statement
Social Acceptance I felt like I could be myself
Access It gave me the opportunity to access cultural activities
Connection It helped me to feel connected to people in the community
Inclusion It made me feel welcome and included
Wellbeing It had a positive impact on my physical health and mental wellbeing
Economic Diversity It could engage people from different backgrounds
Skills I gained new skills
Cultural Challenge It challenged me to think in a different way
Learning I learned something new
Meaning It moved and inspired me
Relevance It gave me a better understanding of today's world
Civic Belonging It helped me feel part of the community
Arts Quality Authenticity It had a connection to the State/Country we live in
Cultural Contribution It provides an important addition to the cultural life of the area
Local Impact I'm glad that we could do this at school
Presentation It was well produced and presented
Rigour It was well thought through and put together
West Australian Opera 2022 — Photo: Owen Gregory.

Audience and Experience

This report highlights a selection of key audience and experience insights measured throughout the year. The new audience percentage shows the proportion of those that attended WAO for the first time in 2022.

All respondents were asked to rate their overall WAO experience. This percentage shows the percentage of respondents that rated their experience positively (i.e. as good or excellent).

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a standardised metric that measures brand loyalty. A NPS that is positive (above 0) is generally considered to be good, with a NPS of 50+ considered to be excellent. West Australian Opera’s Net Promoter Score is 57. Survey respondents were asked to indicate whether this was their first time attending a WAO event. The ‘New audience (survey)’ percentage reflects the number of respondents that indicated it was their first time attending. Here we’ve compared this to a ‘New audience (ticketing)’ figure, which is based on the percentage of new emails associated with ticket purchases in Tessitura.



Note: The survey 'WAO Our Little Inventor RELAXED PERFORMANCE' (ID: 24483) asked this question with the 'City of Perth' as the smallest location grouping and therefore cannot be combined. It has been excluded for the purposes of aggregation in the above chart.




West Australian Opera 2022 - Iolanta — Photo: Clinton Bradbury.

Season 2022



6, 7, 8, 9 April 2022

His Majesty’s Theatre

Tchaikovsky’s last opera tells the tale of a beautiful woman who falls in love. At least, that’s all it should be about.

Instead, we witness the story of a woman who is held captive, not by her blindness, but by the ignorance and assumptions of those around her.

In a world premiere production, WAO has worked with the vision impaired community of Perth to update the libretto and develop a production that tells the story from Iolanta’s view.

True to the sumptuous beauty of Tchaikovsky’s music, this season will have more than soaring voices and sweeping melodies. The production will take the audience on a journey to discover the lived experience of people with vision impairment, to see the world the way they see it, in a truly immersive event experience.

Composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor Christopher van Tuinen
Director Katt Osborne
Set and Costume Designer Tyler Hill
Lighting Designer Michael Rippon
Sound Designer Jeremy Turner
Creative Development / Libretto Katt Osborne
Creative Development / Libretto Zel Iscel
Setting of Libretto Lea Hayward
Chorus Master Christopher van Tuinen
Repetiteur Lea Hayward
Iolanta Elena Perroni
Queen Iolanta Grace King
Count Vaudémont Matthew Reardon
Brigitte Chelsea Burns
Laura Fiona Campbell
Marta Brigitte Heuser
Duke Robert Lachlann Lawton
King René Adrian Tamburini
Ibn-Hakia (The Doctor) Simon Meadows
Bertrand Callen Dellar
Alméric Ammon Bennett
West Australian Opera Chorus
West Australian Symphony Orchestra




Quality and social outcome metrics performed well for this event, with attendees most likely to agree that it provides an important addition to the cultural life of the area, it gave them the opportunity to access cultural activities, they felt welcome and included and that the production was well thought through and put together.

West Australian Opera 2022 - The Duel — Photo: Flossy Photo.

The Duel

In association with The University of Western Australia Conservatorium of Music.

12, 13, 14, 15 May 2022

Government House Ballroom

Was this music’s greatest competition? In 1786 a standoff was held in one of the world’s most lavish palaces. Joseph II (Holy Roman Emperor) had set his tame composers a challenge, pitting the Italian opera style against the German ‘singspiel’. With both pieces performed on the same night, at stake was more than pride, the winner would be feted with commissions and patrons, the loser, fighting for scraps.

In one corner, the established Antonio Salieri set an opera buffa entitled Prima la musica e poi le parole (First the Music, then the Words) and in the other corner the still upstart Wolfgang Mozart, flying the nationalistic flag with his comedy Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario).

Conductor Christopher van Tuinen
Director/Creative Development Humphrey Bower
Lighting Designer Matthew Nankivell
Composer Antonio Salieri
Donna Eleonora Prudence Sanders
The Maestro Jake Bigwood
The Poet Lachlann Lawton
Tonina Emma Pettemerides
Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mr Cash Matthew Reardon
Madame Heart Prudence Sanders
Mademoiselle Silverclang Emma Pettemerides
Featuring UWA Conservatorium of Music

The Duel was supported by the City of Perth.




The Duel resonated extremely well with audiences, attracting an overall experience score of almost a hundred per cent, an outstanding result.

The program achieved an excellent Net Promoter Score, indicating that if WA Opera presented this program in the future, there is a high likelihood that previous attendees will recommend the event to their friends and colleagues.

West Australian Opera 2022 - Tosca — Photo: Clinton Bradbury.



14, 16, 19, 21, 23 July 2022

His Majesty’s Theatre

What would you do for art? What would you do for love? Would you sacrifice your body and soul for the one you love? Would you risk torture and death over a cause and for the sake of friendship? How far can one person’s evil carry them before revenge strikes?

Tosca asks all these questions in three acts of glorious music, driving the lovers Tosca and Cavaradossi into the clutches of Baron Scarpia in ever increasing circles of dramatic tension.

In a beautiful new production from Opera Queensland, an extraordinary cast of Australian singers bring this masterpiece to life with a feast of singing to move the heart and transport the mind.

Composer Giacomo Puccini
Conductor Rebecca Lang
Director Patrick Nolan
Assistant Director Matt Reuben James Ward
Set and Costume Designer Dale Ferguson
Lighting Designer Mark Howett
Fight Coordinator Nastassja Kruger
Fight Coordinator Mentor Andy Fraser
Chorus Master Christopher van Tuinen
Children's Chorus Master Hugh Lydon
Repetiteur and Organ Tommaso Pollio
Backstage Conductor Kate McNamara
Floria Tosca Maija Kovalevska
Mario Cavaradossi Paul O’Neill
Baron Scarpia Warwick Fyfe (14, 23 July)
Baron Scarpia Douglas McNicol (16, 19, 21 July)
Cesare Angelotti Jake Bigwood
A Sacristan Callen Dellar
Spoletta Matthew Lester
Sciarrone Lachlann Lawton
Maid Jillian Halleron
Gaoler Mark Alderson
Roberti Steve Sherwood
West Australian Opera Chorus
West Australian Opera Children’s Chorus
West Australian Symphony Orchestra




Tosca was one of the year’s best-attended shows, with audiences providing a very high overall experience score and agreeing the most strongly with the ‘Cultural Contribution’ metric, that the event provided an important contribution to the cultural life of the area.

West Australian Opera 2022 - Our Little Inventor — Photo: Rebecca Mansell.

Our Little Inventor

In association with AWESOME Festival, West Australian Young Voices and Western Australian Youth Orchestra.

1 & 2 October 2022

His Majesty’s Theatre

Our Little Inventor tells the story of Nell, a young girl from the countryside who creates a machine to fix the pollution that is choking the big city. Despite her excitement at showing off her invention, the people in charge do not share her enthusiasm to save their environment.

This is a tale for people of all ages to share together, incorporating gentle humour that touches upon themes of climate change, resilience, perseverance, and the importance of family and friends.

Composer & Co-librettist Dr Emma Jayakumar
Original Author & Co-librettist Sher Rill Ng
Conductor Kate McNamara
Director Matt Reuben James Ward
Set & Costume Designer Matt McVeigh
Lighting Designer Kristie Smith
Sound Designer Jeremy Turner
Choreographer Scott Elstermann
Digital Content Creator Roly Skender
Children’s Chorus Master Perry Joyce
Children’s Chorus Master Katie How
Repetiteur Adrian Soares
Nell Grace Chow
Mum / Lao Shi Yann Kee
Mama / Aunty Myra Xiaojia Zhang
Mrs Livingston Li Rachelle Durkin
The Mayor Brett Peart
Di di Jordan Scott
West Australian Young Voices
Western Australian Youth Orchestra

© Sher Rill Ng 2022
Inspired by the book ‘Our Little Inventor’ by Sher Rill Ng, published by Allen and Unwin Publishers, 2019.

Our Little Inventor was supported by the City of Perth. The Relaxed performance was supported by Lotterywest.




Our Little Inventor attracted a mix of new and existing audiences, who were most likely to agree with the dimension statements included under the quality and social domains relating to ‘Inclusion’, ‘Cultural Contribution’, ‘Access’, ‘Rigour’ and ‘Belonging’.

The high overall experience rating for this event is a great example of how WA Opera’s collaboration with fellow arts organisations in 2022 resulted in the launch of exciting new programs for audiences of all ages.

West Australian Opera 2022 - La traviata — Photo: Clinton Bradbury.

La traviata


20, 22, 25, 27, 29 October 2022

His Majesty’s Theatre

One of the greatest romances of all time sees the courtesan Violetta and the aristocratic Alfredo fall into a love that destroys them both. Set against the limits of society’s expectations, and driven by the demands of Alfredo’s father, she makes a decision to save him and sacrifice her love, and in doing so, pays the ultimate price.

Party scenes and virtuosic singing contrast with moments of aching tenderness, constantly moving the action forward with endless melodic invention. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned opera lover, La traviata never disappoints, reminding us that great storytelling with great music is timeless.

Verdi’s masterpiece is lovingly recreated in a brand-new production directed by Australian Sarah Giles and features an extraordinary cast of singers, with Paul O’Neill and introducing Samantha Clarke in her role debut as Violetta.

Composer Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor Christopher van Tuinen
Director Sarah Giles
Assistant Director Janice Muller
Assistant Director Margrete Helgeby Chaney
Set and Costume Designer Charles Davis
Lighting Designer Paul Jackson
Intimacy Director Zoë Warwick
Chorus Master Christopher van Tuinen
Repetiteur Tommaso Pollio
Violetta Valéry Samantha Clarke
Alfredo Germont Paul O’Neill
Giorgio Germont Simon Meadows
Gastone de Letorières Matthew Lester
Baron Douphol Mark Alderson
Marchese d’Obigny Lachlann Lawton
Doctor Grenville Robert Hofmann
Flora Bervoix Fiona Campbell
Annina Brianna Louwen
Giuseppe Ammon Bennett
Messenger Brett Peart
Flora’s Servant Lachlan Higgins
Dancer Luci Young & Macon Riley
West Australian Opera Chorus
West Australian Symphony Orchestra

A Co-Production between West Australian Opera, Opera Queensland and State Opera South Australia




La traviata was extremely well received by audiences in 2022 and this was reflected in the production’s near-perfect overall experience result and high Net Promoter Score.

Attendees felt this program excelled in contributing to the cultural life of the area, that the event was well considered and produced, and the performance moved and inspired them.

West Australian Opera 2022 - Koolbardi wer Wardong, Kalgoorlie — Photo: Mellen Burns.

Koolbardi wer Wardong

Regional Tour 2022

Aliwa yeyi! (Look out now!) Following a sold-out premiere season in Perth (October 2021) Koolbardi wer Wardong will spread its wings with a regional tour stretching across Noongar Boodja.

Koolbardi the Magpie and Wardong the Crow are two very proud, very vain, very jealous brothers. Watch as their cunning, their rivalry and one-upmanship brings them unstuck in spectacular fashion.

We invite you to join us for a journey back to the Nyittiny, the time of Creation, where love, loyalty, betrayal and jealousy are all stretched to their limits. Because pride always comes before the fall.

Award winning songwriters and storytellers, Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse weave magic in this five-star production brought to life under the deft direction of Matt Reuben James Ward. Experience the incredible beauty of the language of this land, as this production promises to delight audiences of all ages.

Composers Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse
Arrangement and Orchestration Dr Chris Stone
Director Matthew Reuben James Ward
Music Director and Repetiteur Adrian Soares
Bendat Family Foundation Artist Movement Director Olman Walley
Set and Costume Designer Matt McVeigh
Lighting Designer Mark Howett
Sound Designer Jeremy Turner

Albany Entertainment Centre, Albany
3 June 2022

Goldfields Arts Centre, Kalgoorlie
12 August 2022

Esperance Civic Centre, Esperance
17 September 2022

Koolbardi wer Wardong is a Wesfarmers Arts Commission.
The tour is supported by Opera in the Regions Partner Minderoo Foundation, DLGSC (Playing WA), Crown Resorts Foundation & Packer Family Foundation and Feilman Foundation.
The Great Southern, Goldfields, and Esperance Children’s Chorus are supported by Lotterywest.
The choreographer is supported by the Bendat Family Foundation.
We also acknowledge the Commonwealth’s support through the Building Better Regions Fund (Albany and Esperance).




Attracting the largest percentage of new audience members in 2022, the Koolbardi wer Wardong production also resonated with attendees who were very satisfied with their overall experience of the performance.

Audiences were the most likely to agree with the metrics in the quality domain, indicating that the program was well thought through and put together, it had a strong connection with the State we live in and it made an important contribution to the cultural life of the area. As the performances were held in regional centres across WA, these three quality metrics provide powerful insights into the outcomes and positive impacts that WAO is achieving in regional areas in WA.

West Australian Opera 2022 - Opera in Narrogin — Photo: Caro Tefler.

Opera in the Regions

West Australian Opera is committed to bringing opera to all Western Australians. Our Opera in the Regions program increases accessibility to opera and enables all community members to experience this artform.

Our regional Gala Concert performances combine soaring arias and extraordinary voices to create a full experience with unparalleled power to move. Thrilling singing and romantic melodies will warm the soul and stir your heart in these special gala performances to delight both the opera lovers and opera novices alike.

Regional Gala Concerts

Narrogin Town Hall, 7 May 2022

Esperance Civic Centre, 11 June 2022

Opera in Regions is proudly supported by WAO Principal Partner Wesfarmers Arts, Minderoo Foundation, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development through Playing WA.




Opera in the Regions achieved the highest possible audience satisfaction score while attracting many new audience members. An outstanding result, proving the popularity and success of WA Opera’s programs in engaging regional audiences who otherwise would not have access to these kinds of programs in their local areas.

Supporting this, respondents were most likely to agree with the access, cultural contribution and inclusion metrics for the Opera in the Regions series.

West Australian Opera 2022 — Photo: Jeremy Tan.

Act Belong Commit Opera in Education

Supported by Healthway.

West Australian Opera provides support for students and teachers to engage with opera. We recognise the place West Australian Opera occupies in the study of music in Western Australia and we work to offer the best possible experience for students.

Through the power of song and voice, WAO aims to reach across social and economic barriers to encourage healthier lives for WA communities. In partnership with Healthway, Minderoo Foundation and Crown Resorts Foundation and Packer Family Foundation, WAO’s Act Belong Commit Opera in Education program provides opportunities for students from across metro and regional WA to connect through the power of the human voice.

Act Belong Commit Opera in Education Programs include:

Act Belong Commit Sing Out Loud!
Ongoing during School Term
This physically charged workshop has been designed with direct links to the Western Australian Music Curriculum. It explores rhythm, tempo, pitch, dynamics, singing in another language and more. Featuring the music of Mozart, Puccini and Gounod. Teacher are offered complimentary access to supporting materials via the Act Belong Commit Learning Hub.

Act Belong Commit Opera Opera Our WA - Livestream performance
Thursday 24 March
Two singers and a pianist share their stories in an intimate musical journey of their life. Featuring popular repertoire sung in different languages and lots of surprises, students are invited to discover our stories as we invite you to also share yours.

Act Belong Commit Hansel and Gretel (An Adventure)
August 2022, Book Week
Hansel and Gretel can’t sleep. They toss and turn before deciding to embark on a midnight adventure into the Forrest. Along the way they meet some curious creatures, learn how to sing in cat language and finally magic their way home. This exciting, interactive, crazy musical adventure is a fresh take on a classic fairy tale. Featuring the works of Rossini, Ravel, Bizet, Humperdinck and more this incursion provides opportunities across multiple curriculum areas.

Act Belong Commit Learning Hub
WAO is proud to offer an ongoing digital resource for educators and students in the form of the Act Belong Commit Learning Hub. This portal houses workshop information as well as support material, downloadable pdfs to accompany in classroom learning and online singing classes.

See more at




Opera in Education provided far reaching benefits across the cultural, social and quality domains and was well received by participants who provided the program with an exceptionally high Net Promoter Score, indicating a strong likelihood that they would recommend the program to their friends or fellow students.

What set this program apart was its thoughtful planning and presentation, the access to cultural activities that it provided and its ability to engage and inspire young people.

Koondoola Primary School — Photo: Perth Video.

Adopt a School Program

Supported by Crown Resorts Foundation and Packer Family Foundation.

The Adopt a School program is a specialised capacity building program that introduces and develops students’ own “personal instrument” – their voice.

West Australian Opera has been working closely with students from Nollamara Primary, Koondoola Primary and Osborne Primary school over 3 years (commenced 2020), using opera to contribute to student well-being, motivation, confidence, communication, and other scholastic achievement outcomes.

The program includes regular singing classes, professional development for teachers, participation in West Australian Opera incursions, and community performances by the students. In total, 394 students from the three nominated schools participated in the workshops, of which 73 were graduating Year 6s.

Due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 the program has successfully pivoted multiple times, and 2022 saw the delivery of a range of different workshops with the three primary schools in the first half of the year. The second core focus of the program’s second year was to work with three groups of graduating Year 6 students from Term 3 onwards. In collaboration with local artists and WAO’s resident singers, the students learned, workshopped and recorded performances of their graduation songs in front of family members and peers. The program involved weekly touch-points and trust-building exercises with the students.

West Australian Opera 2022 - New Wesfarmers Arts Singing Class —

Reach and Accessibility

Wesfarmers Arts Singing Classes

West Australian Opera offers singing classes that immerse participants in a traditional chorus environment. Workshop leader and principal soprano Lisa Harper-Brown provides professional insight into vocal technique and introduces participants to a diverse range of repertoire.

Relaxed Performances & Tactile Tours

Relaxed performances supported by Lotterywest.

The company is committed to providing opportunities for all to enjoy and access opera. West Australian Opera operates tactile tours and audio-described performances per opera season and offers a relaxed performance during the Opera for Young People season. Relaxed Performances are aimed at creating a welcoming environment designed for but not limited to audiences with autism, sensory and communication needs, and learning disabilities.

Artists In Conversation Series

West Australian Opera and UWA Conservatorium of Music are proud to present the Artists In Conversation Series. This series connects key creatives and artists with UWA faculty members to explore the works in WAO program. Be treated to behind-the-scenes insights and thought-provoking conversation in an exciting series held on campus at the University of Western Australia.

Community Events & Activations

West Australian Opera is committed to taking the art form to as many people in Western Australia as possible through the participation of the company in community events, appearances and activations. In 2022 this included a celebration of Opera Week in partnership with Brookfield Place and Christmas in the City in partnership with the City Of Perth.

Children Performance Opportunities

West Australian Opera is proud to nurture the next generation of opera talent. From children’s auditions for mainstage productions to the training and development of local choruses for touring production of Koolbardi wer Wardong to performance opportunities in Opera for Young People, WAO is committed to the development of young voices and creating opportunities for local talent to advance and grow.

Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist Program

The Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist Program offers a mentorship experience for Western Australian artists that includes coaching, masterclasses and performance. The program aims to develop technical skills and stagecraft. The support of Wesfarmers Arts and the Bendat Family Foundation, who support the Bendat Scholarship, has seen graduates build successful careers on opera stages locally, nationally and internationally.


2022’s ‘Reach and Accessibility’ outcomes are based on the data included in the following evaluations Our Little Inventor Relaxed Performance; 2022 Koolbardi wer Wardong Chorus Albany; Participants; Artist in Conversation Series 2022 (Event One); WAO Artist in Conversation Series 2022 (Event Two); and Wesfarmers Arts Singing Classes Semester One 2022.


Over a third of the participants who took part in the WA Opera’s 2022 Reach and Accessibility programs were new audience members. These programs were highly successful in meeting the expectations of participants who provided a near-perfect satisfaction rating and one of the highest Net Promoter Scores of all programs for the year.

The feedback from participants indicated that these programs excelled in the outcome areas associated with ‘Rigour’, ‘Inclusion’, ‘Cultural Contribution’ and ‘Skills’.

West Australian Opera 2022 - Carmen — Photo: Base Imagery.

Support and Company

The Company


His Excellency the Honourable Chris Dawson AC APM

Executive Director Carolyn Chard AM
Artistic Director Christopher van Tuinen
Production Manager Mandy Farmer
Accountant Debbie Byrnes
Artistic Administrator Kate Larkins
Education Manager Terasa Letizia
Philanthropy Manager Catherine Noonan
Marketing Manager Scott Whinfield
Audience & Insights Manager Danielle Barlow
Media Consultant Daniele Foti-Cuzzola
CRM Coordinator Rachel Sait
Financial Consultant Kris Adrian
Stage Manager Karen Farmer
Music Librarian Allison Fyfe


Dario Amara
Richard Bonynge AC CBE
Julie Bishop
Terry Bowen
Frank Cooper AO
Catherine Ferrari
Erich Fraunschiel
Colin Goddard
Warwick Hemsley AO
Francis Landels
Bruce Martin AM
Margaret McManus
Dr Richard Mills AM
Annie Patrick
Marilyn Phillips OAM
Vincent A Warrener AM KHS

Patron, Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist Program Emma Matthews
Wesfarmers Arts Commission Gina Williams AM & Guy Ghouse
2022 Opera for Young People Commission Dr Emma Jayakumar

West Australian Opera 2022 - The Duel — Photo: Flossy Photo.

Private Giving Report

Giving to support the arts can be a civic virtue, whether through bequests, gifts, donations or sponsorships. The generosity of each and every supporter enables West Australian Opera to share stories in our theatres, schools, communities and regions; to take opera to more people; and to nurture the next generation of opera professionals to be trained.

“The arts engender a sense of hope with stories that speak to our hearts and stir our souls. We strive to bring you opera that celebrates the power of the human voice with stories that are relevant to our people and place, all made possible with the generous support of our donors.”

Carolyn Chard AM, Executive Director, WAO

Annual Giving

Annual giving is an important and much appreciated way to support the company and underpins our everyday operations. The Annual Giving Program enables West Australian Opera to keep opera a live and accessible art form in Western Australia.


Bequests to West Australian Opera are preserved as the legacies of their donors, people with vision who understand the importance of the arts to our community. Including a planned gift to West Australian Opera in your Will can help create a sustainable future for the company and give future generations the gift of opera.

Fortescue Metals Group Shares

In 2011 the company gratefully received a major gift from the Forrest Family. Individual giving in the arts is greatly valued. The support that foundations, trusts and donors offer to arts companies has a significant impact on the ability to plan and deliver initiatives. West Australian Opera wishes to acknowledge and thank Andrew and Nicola Forrest for the generous gift of shares. This contribution stands as a testament to their commitment to a strong and vibrant arts sector in Western Australia. This unique and unprecedented gift is vital to the company’s future and success.

“The arts lift people out of their everyday.”

Nicola Forrest AO

West Australian Opera 2022 - La traviata — Photo: Clinton Bradbury.

Cast of Supporters

Dr. David Glance
Warwick Hemsley AO
Dr Robert Larbalestier AO
Leanne and Sam Walsh AO
Anonymous (2)

Marissa Casingal (Saog) &
Martin Woodward (Jangyu)
Dr Dennis Hayward
The Robert Kimpton Family
Yuko Lucas
Dr Bryant Macfie
Annie & Neil Patrick
Angela Roberts
Dr Peter Simpson OAM
Helen & Michael Tuite
Anonymous (1)

BENEFACTOR ($2,500+)
Neil Archibald & Alan R. Dodge AM
Stewart Candlish & Bianca Panizza
Catherine Ferrari
Eleanor John
Dr. Maria Kailis
Francis Landels
Patrick Lilburne
Lisa Stewart
Anonymous (2)

SUPPORTER ($1,000+)
Gaysie Atkinson
Dr Colin Binns & Dr Mi Kyung Lee
David & Lois Black
Dr Peter & Mrs Rae Breidahl
Joan Carney
Helen Carroll
Frank Cooper AO
Michael Cowie
John & Ann Dawson
Michelle Edwards
Lorraine Ellard
Harry Hansen-Knarhoi
Dr Penny Herbert
Kathryn Hogan & Graham Droppert
Ulrich & Gloria Kunzmann
Ross & Fran Ledger
Fiona & Mark Newman
Cathy & Cian Noonan
Karen Parfitt
J. Pinnow
Jennifer Rankin
Bill & Barbara Reid
Kerry Sanderson
Glenice Shephard
Kim & Keith Spence
Clare Thompson
Ruth Thorn
Agatha van Der Schaaf
Karen Venard
Yannis Vrodos
Diana Warnock & the late Bill Warnock
Joy Wearne
Dr Chris & Mrs Vimala Whitaker
Anonymous (10)

FRIEND ($500+)
Tom & Mary-Anne Aram
Cathy Bardon & Bob Cassie
Christine Burson
Carolyn Chard AM
Dr Douglas Clifford
Dr Graham Douglas & Brian Lindberg
Peter Eadington
Peter Edwards
Sue Foster
T & E Gerner
Rosemary Grigg & Peter Flanigan
Dr Rosalind Hampton
Cecilia Hastings
Vivienne Jagger
Jennifer Jones
Sue Joubert
Jock & Jennifer Laurie
Darren Lewsen
Warren & Gillian Lilleyman
Liane Papaelias
Dr. Roger Paterson
Wendy Powles
Wayne Robinson
The Sherwood Family
Diane Smith-Gander
Jan & Alan Stewart
Margaret Stockton
Warren & Katharina Surtees
Tessa Tieleman
Leonard Walker
Dr Peter Winterton
Alison Woodman
Anonymous (6)

DONORS ($200+)
Thank you to all our donors who support us and help us create and present the highest quality of opera in Western Australia.

Bendat Family Foundation
Crown Resorts Foundation
Packer Family Foundation
Wright Burt Foundation
Stan Perron Charitable Foundation
The James Galvin Family Foundation
Feilman Foundation

Thanks to the leadership donors of the Bel Canto Fund.

Anita & James Clayton
Lorraine Ellard
Ailsa West
Anonymous (5)

The Estate of Wendy Scanlon
The Estate of Clive Wannell
The Estate of Joyce E Young - Supporting WAO Education Program

West Australian Opera 2022- Tosca — Photo: Clinton Bradbury.

Partner Acknowledgement

West Australian Opera 2022 - The Duel — Photo: Flossy Photo

Economic Impact Assessment

West Australian Opera events hosted in the Perth metro area and regional WA stimulate visitation and spending that would not have otherwise occurred in these locations, with benefits for local businesses and the wider economy. This is especially true for businesses in the vicinity of the events.

This section of the report includes calculations that estimate the direct impact of West Australian Opera’s 2022 live season across Perth and the rest of the state, and the flow on impacts of this spend. The following analysis presents the findings for four of West Australian Opera’s 2022 shows where economic impact questions were included, Iolanta, The Duel, Tosca and La traviata. The following assessment is therefore a conservative estimate of the economic benefits that West Australian Opera provided for communities across Perth and regional WA in 2022.

Attendee Expenditure

Public survey data has been used to calculate the average spend for visitors of each program. Attendance data supplied by organisers has been used to calculate attendance per visitor type.

Program Attendance

Show Category Attendance Sample Size Attendance Sample Size
Iolanta 2,784 369 17% 20%
The Duel 684 113 4% 6%
Tosca 4,063 461 24% 25%
La traviata 5,372 526 32% 29%
Our Little Inventor 1,691 70 10% 5%
Koolbardi wer Wardong 1,741 255 10% 16%
Opera in the Regions 474 46 3% 3%
Total 16,809 1,840
West Australian Opera 2022- La traviata — Photo: Clinton Bradbury.


Additionality excludes people who indicated that they would have done something else in the area even if they had not attended the event, because it is assumed that expenditure from those people would have occurred regardless of their attendance at a West Australian Opera event. This information is used to calculate the ‘Additionality Adjustment’, which is the weighted percentage of spending that is considered additional.

What would you have done if you didn't attend the event? Iolanta Tosca La traviata
Stayed home or gone to work 86% 86% 87%
Done something not in the local area 7% 7% 6%
Something else in the local area 7% 7% 7%

Event Expenditure

Event Spend Iolanta Tosca La traviata
Average Event/Surrounding Area Spend $58.67 $77.39 $69.65
Additionality Adjustment 93% 93% 93%
Adjusted Spend Per Person $54.44 $72.25 $65.01
Total Impact $151,558 $293,537 $349,238


Koolbardi wer Wardong Regional tour — Photo: Mellen Burns.

Accommodation & Trip Impact

Respondents to a selection of event surveys were also asked whether they stayed overnight as a result of their visit to a West Australian Opera event, and if so, how much they spent on accommodation per night, per person. This data is used to calculate the ‘Accommodation Impact’. The respondents who indicated that they stayed overnight were also asked how much they spent in the area as part of their visit (excluding spending at the event or on event tickets). This is referred to as the ‘Trip Impact’.

Accommodation and Trip Iolanta The Duel Tosca La traviata
Percent who stayed away as part of their visit 5% 7% 8% 8%
Total Attendees who stayed away as part of their visit 146 50 312 417
Primary Reason Adjustment* 65% 62% 80% 64%
Average Nights Stayed 3.0 1.3 2.0 2.7
Average Spend per Night $140.81 $94.35 $129.29 $135.70
Accommodation Impact $40,563 $3,779 $64,105 $97,104
Additional Trip Spend per Night $78.74 $66.24 $56.18 $58.14
Trip Impact $20,039 $7,395 $39,275 $86,707



* The value of total accommodation spend has been calculated based on the share of staying visitors, the average per night spend on accommodation and the length of stay, and adjusted based on if the event was a significant reason for the respondent’s visitation to the area (the ‘Primary Reason Adjustment’).

State Impact Iolanta The Duel** Tosca La traviata
Percent who stayed in other parts of WA 23% 0% 19% 26%
Total Attendees who stayed in other parts of WA 34 - 58 108
Primary Reason Adjustment 65% 62% 80% 64%
Average Nights Stayed 1.7 - 2.9 3.3
Additional Spend per Night $150.61 - $140.00 $201.77
State Impact $9,978 $ - $21,994 $48,488


** The State spending questions were included in the survey for ‘The Duel’, but no respondents indicated that they stayed in other parts of WA as part of their visit.

West Australian Opera 2022- La traviata — Photo: Clinton Bradbury.

Direct and Multiplied Economic Impact

Combining attendee spending at the events where this was measured, accommodation spend (both in the local area and other parts of the state), as well as organisation expenditure, West Australian Opera’s 2022 season is estimated to have provided over $8 million in direct economic impact.

The total expenditure as a direct result of West Australian Opera events also benefits a range of sectors as it flows through the economy. For example, customer spending at venues is then further spent on things such as supplies or staff wages. A simplified method of estimating this involves applying a multiplier to direct economic impact.

Based on this methodology, West Australian Opera’s multiplied total impact for the 2022 calendar year was estimated to be $23.3 million.

For the purpose of this analysis, output multipliers derived from ABS Input-Output Tables 2012-13 have been applied to total direct expenditure.

Direct Impact Multiplier Multiplied Impact
Event $794,333 2.96 $2,351,225
Accommodation $205,551 2.75 $565,266
Trip $153,416 2.92 $447,974
State $80,460 2.86 $230,115
Organisation Expenditure $6,778,653 2.92 $19,793,667
Total Impact $8,012,412 $23,388,246

  1. Event Expenditure scaled by an output multiplier of 2.96, the national Food & Beverage multiplier.
  2. Accommodation Expenditure is scaled by an output multiplier of 2.75, the national Accommodation multiplier.
  3. Trip Expenditure scaled by an output multiplier of 2.92, representing an average of the national Retail, and Food & Beverage multipliers (2.88 and 2.96 respectively).
  4. Organisation Expenditure scaled by an output multiplier of 2.92, an average of the national Retail & Hiring Services multiplier (3.17) and the Australian National Heritage, Creative and Performing Arts multiplier (2.67).
  5. Direct and Multiplied economic impact results are a conservative estimate, representing the impact assessment of four of West Australian Opera’s 2022’s suite of programs (solely).

Financial Report


Financial Report

for the year ended 31 December 2022

View here

Data and Insights by
Report prepared for

This report has been prepared by Claire Hodgson and Jamie McCullough of Culture Counts. The authors would like to thank all stakeholders and staff for their participation in this research.

Approved by: Kristine Royall
Date of Approval: 30 March 2023