Use your keyboard arrow keys to navigate
Download Report


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 pay deep respect to Elders past and present. Kalyakoorl, ngalak warangka (forever we sing).

Koolbardi wer Wardong — 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 and in 2009 Wesfarmers became Principal Partner of West Australian Opera. This Principal Partnership underpins the ongoing life and vitality of the state opera company in Western Australia.

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

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 partners, stakeholders and governments for the unwavering support given to the state opera company.”

I am pleased to present West Australian Opera’s Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2023.

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, each of whom having contributed in a profound way to our success.

I recognise and acknowledge our Principal Partner Wesfarmers Arts who enabled the Wesfarmers Arts Commission with the second Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse commission in a new 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 Creative Australia 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 Annual Giving Program. We are grateful for all Trusts and Foundations who give their support including the Galvin Family Foundation, the Wright Burt Foundation, the Minderoo Foundation, the Stan Perron Charitable Foundation and the Feilman Foundation. We thank our generous donors who enable the Bendat Scholarship and the Bel Canto Fund. We are grateful for the gift of FMG shares which we hold and from which we benefit through ongoing dividends. We recognise the generous gift enabling the Roberts Emerging Artist Program and support of the Artistic Director Circle donors.

I thank my fellow directors for their support, time and expertise. Above all, I express my deep thanks to the management and staff of West Australian Opera. I remain in awe of their passion and commitment in bringing opera to the stage.

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


Hon. Dr 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 Guy Ghouse and Gina Williams 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 deep 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 attendance at live shows and particularly impacted Carmen which was rescheduled from 2022 to 2023 and played to capacity audiences as well as streaming through Australian Digital Concert Hall in a first collaboration for us.

We are here to share the joy of opera with as many people around the state as possible. We were particularly proud to work with local regional children’s choruses to learn, rehearse and perform Koolbardi wer Wardong in Noongar language.

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, 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, Creative Australia, Lotterywest, Healthway and industry colleagues. Thank you to our collaborators at Opera Queensland with whom we created a new production of La bohème this year.

I am very grateful to the University of Western Australia for the tremendous privilege of being awarded an Honorary Doctorate in music in July this year.


Chris van Tuinen — Photo: Alana Blowfield

Artistic Director’s Report

"Each operatic endeavour continuously illustrates our unwavering commitment to fostering local talent, producing world-class performances, and elevating the West Australian Opera experience to a level that rivals the best in the world."

The echo of our performances in 2023 can still be felt, resonating with unforgettable notes of majesty, drama, and sheer melodic joy. This year we witnessed the unforgettable production of Carmen at the WACA Ground, we welcomed accomplished Australian director, Cameron Menzies, to West Australian Opera with his award-winning production of Into the Woods. We were proud to stage Harry Kupfer’s epic production of Otello and premiere a new co-production of La bohème. We celebrated the talents of emerging composer Lachlann Skipworth with his debut work and collaborated with colleagues and students at UWA Conservatorium of Music on a project that filled Winthrop Hall with united voices. We were also proud to continue work on the commissioning and development of Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse’s new opera, Wundig wer Wilura.

Each operatic endeavour continuously illustrates our unwavering commitment to fostering local talent, producing world-class performances, and elevating the West Australian Opera experience to a level that rivals the best in the world.

In this process, we’ve been blessed with a symphony of immensely talented individuals whose passion and dedication shine upon our stages. Musicians, singers, directors, designers, stage managers, marketers, and arts leaders residing and working tirelessly here in Perth that altogether shape the image, quality, and experience of our opera company. Their commitment and passion are the backbone of our success and to all of them, we express our deepest gratitude.

We cannot let this moment pass without acknowledging the dedication of our Board and Executive Director, Carolyn Chard AM. Under their thoughtful leadership, West Australian Opera has thrived, creating a legacy of talent and production that is both unique to our region and recognised across Australia.

As we present our 2023 Annual Report, I invite you to join us in looking back fondly at last year’s achievements, while eagerly looking ahead for what is to come. We, once again, extend the invitation for your continued support. By doing so, you enable us to keep our spotlight on local talent and continue producing breathtaking performances that inspire and uplift.


The Board

Andrew Pascoe

Board Director (appointed 2010)
Chairman (appointed 2017)

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. Andrew is also a member of the Legal Services Council.

Darren Lewsen

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

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)
Finance & Audit Committee

Janet is an experienced executive with vast strategic and large-scale operational experience across complex and highly regulated industries including FMCG, Pharmaceuticals, Banking & Finance, and more recently Telecommunications. 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 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 Director 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)
Retired December 2023

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

Ms Jan Stewart BA, MSW, PSM, Hon D Phil (UWA), GAICD joined the Board of West Australian Opera in 2015. Ms Stewart held the position of CEO of Lotterywest from 1992 until December 2014.

Ms Stewart is a social worker by profession, having graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s Degree in Social Work. Her career prior to Lotterywest included 8 years as Chief Social Worker at Perth’s major paediatric teaching hospital. Ms Stewart has held many voluntary board positions both locally and internationally including that of Senior Vice President on the Executive Committee of the World Lottery Association for more than eight years and was the inaugural position of President of the Asia Pacific Lottery Association from 1999 to 2004.

Previous boards include Hale School, Save the Children, MercyCare, St Barts and the role of Chair of the Centre for Social Impact at UWA for ten years. She serves currently on the Board of the Perkins Medical Research Institute, the Feilman Foundation and recently stepped down from the role of Chair of the Raine Study, a position she held for 5 years. Ms Stewart has served as advisor and CEO to the Malka Foundation since 2019.

La bohème — Photo: West Beach Studio

2023 Key Achievements

Carmen — Photo: Base Imagery

West Australian Opera

West Australian Opera was established in 1967 and is Western Australia’s state opera company presenting opera drawn from the mainstream operatic repertoire and increasingly is involved in the commissioning and development of new repertoire.

West Australian Opera presents opera in His Majesty’s Theatre and runs Wesfarmers Arts Singing Classes, education workshops in schools, concerts, community events, and masterclasses, and offers mentorship and development through the Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist Program, the Bendat Scholarship and the Roberts Emerging Artist Program.

It is an incorporated association with a board of nine directors chaired by Andrew Pascoe, and is led by Executive Director Carolyn Chard AM and Artistic Director Chris van Tuinen. 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 Creative Australia, 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.

Carmen — Photo: Base Imagery

2023 Outcomes

The Culture Counts evaluation framework utilises a standardised set of outcome metrics called ‘dimensions’ which are an effective means to measure the outcomes achieved by cultural activities and events. The dimension framework features over a hundred statements that have been academically validated and developed through consultation with the arts sector, and tested by organisations both in Australia and overseas.

In 2023, West Australian Opera sought to gain a holistic understanding of the impact of its programs on the arts sector and the wider community in Western Australia. Over the course of the annual program of events, the organisation utilised a set of Culture Counts dimension statements aligned to the organisation’s strategic goals to evaluate audience and participant experiences, for both online and in-person events.

Each dimension features a 101-point sliding scale that allows survey participants to demonstrate the extent of their agreement. Respondents are asked to indicate how much they agree with a statement by sliding the marker between zero (Strongly Disagree) and 101 (Strongly Agree). The resulting data can then be aggregated and the findings showcased in charts that clearly articulate the unique cultural, social, economic, quality and environmental outcomes of West Australian Opera’s 2023 season and the positive impact these activities have on the community.

The outcome infographics below showcase a selection of average scores for outcome metrics that were asked across West Australian Opera’s audience and participant surveys in 2023.


Top 10 scoring dimensions shown only (minimum 20 responses).

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
Belonging It helped me feel part of the community
Connection It helped me to feel connected to people in the community
Contribution I felt like my contribution mattered
Confidence I feel more confident about doing new things
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
Collaboration It provided opportunities for collaboration
Opportunity It opened up new opportunities for me
Practice development It contributed to the development of my arts practice or business
Profile It raised the profile of the artists
Cultural Challenge It challenged me to think in a different way
Learning I learned something new
Meaning It moved and inspired me
Motivation They feel motivated to do more creative things in future
Relevance It gave me a better understanding of today's world
Place Place It made me feel proud of my local area
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
Distinctiveness It was different from things I've experienced before
Innovation It was introduced to the audience in a new way
Local Impact It's important that it's happening here
Presentation It was well produced and presented
Rigour It was well thought through and put together
Carmen — Photo: Base Imagery

Audience and Experience

This report showcases a selection of key audience and experience insights measured throughout the year. The charts below have been compiled by utilising the survey data gathered by WAO across all programs that were evaluated in 2023.

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 who indicated it was their first time attending a WAO production or activity.

Below the survey results for ‘New audience (survey), are featured alongside the ‘New audience (ticketing)’ figure, which has been derived from the percentage of new emails associated with ticket purchases in Tessitura. All respondents were asked to rate their overall experience at the event or activity they participated in. This overall experience chart 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 2023 Net Promoter Score is 58, an exemplary result.

The inclusion of demographic questions in evaluations provides organisations with the ability to gain insights into the audience groups that are engaging with their programs. The charts below provide an overview of the aggregated audience demographic data in relation to location, age and gender for all WAO programs that were evaluated in 2023.



Note: For the purposes of aggregation 'City of Perth' has been reassigned to the 'Perth Metro Area' category, and 'Kalgoorlie-Boulder' has been reassigned to 'Elsewhere in WA'. These choices were used in 2 and 1 surveys, respectively.




Carmen — Photo: Base Imagery

Season 2023


In association with Perth Festival and City of Perth
Supported by Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund.

24 & 25 February 2023

WACA Ground

In a large-scale outdoor arena spectacular, Bizet's masterpiece, Carmen was performed by over 150 singers and musicians. The historic WA cricket grounds, the scene of many epic conflicts, plays host to the loves, betrayals, celebrations and tragedies of one of opera's greatest stories.

Carmen is a bold, daring working-class woman, a free spirit. She sets her sights on Escamillo inciting jealousy in Don José. Hatching a plan to end this epic love triangle, will the fiery Carmen outsmart Don José or will her betrayal lead to shocking consequences?

Featuring the West Australian Opera Chorus, the WAO Children's Chorus and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

Carmen was supported by the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund - an Australian Government initiative.

24 & 25 February

With the support of Lotterywest, a FREE livestream was made available in real time. Regional centres supported the Livestream with viewing events in:
Margaret River, Geraldton, Merredin, Esperance, Narrogin, North Midlands, Toodyay, Walpole, Kalgoorlie Boulder and Beverley.

Sunday 26 February

Australian Digital Concert Hall hosted a delayed livestream on Sunday 26 February at 4pm AWST.

Composer Georges Bizet
Conductor Dane Lam
Director Stuart Maunder
Video and Lighting Designer Sean McKernan
Sound Designer James Hewgill
Fight Coordinator Nastassja Kruger
Chorus Master Hugh Lydon
Repetiteur Tommaso Pollio
French Language Coach Helen Brown
English Dialogue by Tabatha McFadyen
Carmen Ashlyn Tymms
Don José Paul O'Neill
Escamillo José Carbó
Micaëla Prudence Sanders
Frasquita Emma Pettemerides
Mercédès Brigitte Heuser
Moralès Lachlann Lawton
Zuniga Jake Bigwood
El Dancaïro Mark Alderson
El Remendado Matt Reuben James Ward
Lillas Pastia Callen Dellar




Carmen attracted the largest attendance of all events in 2023, with the series also seeing a greater number of new audience members when compared with the majority of 2023 activities.

The Quality domain outcomes ‘Local Impact’, ‘Cultural Contribution’, ‘Rigour’ and ‘Innovation’ resonated the most strongly with participants, indicating that attendees felt it was important it was happening here, it provided an important addition to the cultural life of the area, the program was well thought-through and put together and that they found the production to be innovative, as it was introduced to the audience in a new way.

Carmen also received high audience overall satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores indicating that the majority of attendees had a positive experience and would recommend the event to others.

Into the Woods — Photo: West Beach Studio

Into the Woods

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine

23 March - 1 April 2023

His Majesty's Theatre

Be transported into the woods of enchantment and entanglement, of wishes and wonder as fairytale characters reveal their most human selves.

A baker, his wife, Cinderella, Jack, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Witch all wish for something but what will be the consequences if their wishes are all granted? Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Tony-Awarding-winning musical Into the Woods is a spectacle for all to enjoy as we find ourselves at the intersection of beloved fairy tales in a darkly entertaining comedy.

The Times London called these performances “the genius of Sondheim in an irresistible production” from Northern Ireland Opera. Witness dazzling staging and costumes as this season sees a talented cast from around the country joining forces with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra to share in this musical masterpiece.

*Licensed exclusively by Music Theatre International (Australasia)

A Northern Ireland Opera production first premiered on 9 February 2022 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.*

Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
Originally Directed on Broadway by James Lapine
Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Music Director Jen Winley*
Director Cameron Menzies
Movement Director Jennifer Rooney
Set & Costume Designer Niall McKeever
Lighting Designer Kevin Treacy
Sound Effects Designer Russell Goldsmith
Repetiteur Tommaso Pollio
Narrator / Mysterious Man Peter Coleman-Wright AO
Cinderella Claire Lyon
Jack Matt Hourigan
Baker James Millar
Baker's Wife Samantha Clarke
Cinderella's Stepmother / Granny / Voice of the Giant Brigitte Heuser
Florinda Emma Pettemerides
Lucinda Mia Simonette
Jack's Mother Nicole Youl
Little Red Ridinghood Sophia Wasley
Witch Maria Mercedes
Cinderella's Father Robert Hofmann
Rapunzel / Cinderella's Mother Prudence Sanders
Wolf / Cinderella's Prince Lachlann Lawton
Rapunzel's Prince Joshua Firman
Steward Cal Silberstein
Snow White Emma Haines
Sleeping Beauty Brittany Carter

Featuring West Australian Symphony Orchestra

* Appeared courtesy of WASO




Receiving a very high overall satisfaction result, the audience response to Into the Woods was extremely positive.

Participants were most likely to agree with the ‘Rigour’ outcome area, indicating that they found the production to be well thought through and put together. This was followed by the outcome results for ‘Local Impact’, ‘Cultural Contribution’ and ‘Meaning’, with audiences feeling it was important the production was happening here, that it positively contributed to the cultural life of the area and that it moved and inspired them.

Additionally, the production’s high Net Promoter Score, indicates that if WAO presented this program in the future, there is a high likelihood that attendees will recommend the event to their friends and colleagues.

Oratorio — Photo: West Beach Studio


In association with UWA Conservatorium of Music

20 – 22 April 2023

Winthrop Hall

Pure-voiced chants will echo among the arches of Winthrop Hall, leading the way to divine celebration. Prepare to be moved as the Hall resonates with the wonderful sounds of young performers in collaboration with West Australian Opera principal artists in this special event.

Bach’s Easter Oratorio evokes the resurrection of Jesus, shifting from solo melodies to the triumph of the orchestra as the singers’ voices intertwine with each other in this rich and whirling score.

Joining the Bach, responding to its text and the architecture of the space, is a new commission from Australian composer Lachlan Skipworth. The new with the old will be linked together in this world premiere season of WA's brightest talent.

West Australian Opera presents Oratorio in association with The University of Western Australia Conservatorium of Music.

Composers Johann Sebastian Bach, Lachlan Skipworth
Conductor Christopher van Tuinen
Director Margrete Helgeby Chaney
Lighting Designer Mark Haslam
Soprano Bella Marslen
Alto Jillian Halleron
Tenor Ry Charleson
Bass Jake Bigwood

Featuring UWA Symphonic Chorus and UWA Symphony Orchestra




Oratorio achieved the highest result for ‘Innovation’ when compared to all WAO programs in 2023, demonstrating that the production’s dynamic format appealed to audiences who were most likely to agree that the production was introduced to them in a new way.

Additionally, attendees felt enthusiastic about the event overall, with high results received for the program’s overall experience and Net Promoter Score.

Otello — Photo: West Beach Studio


20 - 29 July 2023

His Majesty’s Theatre

A spectacle of rich storytelling and powerful vocal prowess in Verdi's opera, inspired by Shakespeare’s famous play.

The brave, noble general Otello, his beautiful wife, Desdemona, and the villain, Iago, are tested in a tale of greed and jealousy. Otello shows how we can poison our judgment and the collateral damage when our worst impulses triumph over our better selves.

A gripping tale that brought Verdi out of retirement and saw rapturous reviews and over 20 curtain calls at its premiere at La Scala in 1887. Tension and heart-breaking drama share the stage in this grand production of Otello from acclaimed director Harry Kupfer.

This production brings Verdi’s outstanding score to life with impossibly beautiful arias and vivid, explosive tension

This production of Otello is presented by arrangement with Opera Australia.

Composer Giuseppe Verdi
Librettist Arrigo Boito
Conductor Christopher van Tuinen
Original Director Harry Kupfer
Revival Director Miranda Summers
Set Designer Hans Schavernoch
Costume Designer Yan Tax
Lighting Designer Toby Sewell
Repetiteur Tommaso Pollio
Backstage Organ Burhan Güner
Backstage Conductor Pia Harris
Otello Paul O'Neill
Desdemona Naomi Johns
Iago José Carbó
Emilia Ashlyn Tymms
Cassio Nicholas Jones
Roderigo Matthew Reardon
Lodovico Mark Alderson
Montano Brett Peart
A Herald Lachlan Higgins
Featuring West Australian Symphony Orchestra and West Australian Opera Chorus.




Otello audience members were likely to have attended a WAO event previously and to respond positively to the outcome areas in the Quality domain, with ‘Local Impact’, ‘Cultural Contribution’, and ‘Rigour’ achieving the most positive agreement results. ‘Place’ in the Environmental domain also scored highly, demonstrating that attendees felt the program made them feel proud of their local area.

The production’s high overall satisfaction and Net Promoter Score results demonstrate that the vast majority of attendees had a positive experience at the event and would recommend Otello to others.

La bohème — Photo: West Beach Studios

La bohème

19 – 28 October 2023

His Majesty’s Theatre

La bohème is a story of friends and idealists, living freely as they pursue their dreams, tangled up in love’s highs and lows. At the heart of the story are Rodolfo and Mimì, filled with youthful hope and a love that could last forever, but their optimism is soon shattered as they face poverty, illness, and loss.

Beautiful melodies and spine-tingling performances envelop you in the tenderness of young love, and offer deep reflection on the moving moments in our lives that unite us all.

A West Australian Opera and Opera Queensland Co-Production.

Composer Giacomo Puccini
Librettists Luigi Illica, Giuseppe Giacosa
Conductor Christopher van Tuinen
Director Matt Reuben James Ward
Assistant Director Laura Hansford
Set and Costume Designer Charles Davis
Lighting Designer Christine Felmingham
Repetiteur Tommaso Pollio
Rodolfo Paul O'Neill
Mimì Elena Perroni
Marcello Samuel Dundas
Musetta Rachelle Durkin
Colline Jake Bigwood
Schaunard Lachlann Lawton
Benoit/Parpignol Brett Peart
Alcindoro Mark Alderson
Custom House Officer Brett Peart
Sergeant Kyle Garces
Prune Man Perry Joyce

Featuring West Australian Symphony Orchestra and West Australian Opera Chorus and Children’s Chorus.




WAO’s production of La bohème achieved the highest outcome results of all 2023 programs.

Outcomes from the Quality domain ‘Local Impact’, ‘Rigour’ and ‘Cultural Contribution’ resonated strongly with audiences, while Cultural outcome ‘Meaning’ also achieved a high agreement result. These findings indicate that audiences felt strongly that the production needed to be happening here, that it was well thought through and put together, that it positively contributed to the cultural life of the area and that it moved and inspired them.

Almost the entire group of survey respondents agreed that they had a positive experience at the event, an exceptional result. The enthusiasm felt by audience members is also reflected by La bohème’s Net Promoter Score, which is the greatest result achieved across WAO’s 2023 program, indicating a very high likelihood that participants would recommend the program to friends or colleagues.

Opera in Margaret River — Photo: Ovis

Opera in the Regions

Goldfields Arts Centre, 4 November 2023

Margaret River Heart, 1 December 2023

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.

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

Opera in Kalgoorlie

Soprano Rachelle Durkin
Mezzo Soprano Ashlyn Tymms
Tenor Paul O’Neill
Baritone Brett Peart
Music Director Tommaso Pollio
Percussionist Luka Humich
Choral Director Pia Harris
Regional Choral Director Rosalie Scott
Regional Choral Director Molly Johnson

Featuring Goldfields Youth Chorus supported by Lotterywest

Opera in Margaret River

Soprano Rachelle Durkin
Mezzo Soprano Ashlyn Tymms
Tenor Paul O’Neill
Baritone Brett Peart
Music Director Tommaso Pollio




WAO’s Opera in the Regions program saw the greatest impact on audiences' sense of wellbeing, with attendees most likely of all programs to agree that taking part had a positive impact on their physical health and mental wellbeing.

Opera in the Regions attendees strongly agreed with the ‘Local Impact’ and ‘Rigour’ metrics, demonstrating they felt that it was important the production was happening here and that it was well thought through and put together.

Of those who attended, almost the entire survey sample indicated that they had a positive overall experience, while the series’ Net Promoter Score was also one of the highest results achieved in 2023.

Koolbardi wer Wardong — Photo: Mellen Burns

Koolbardi wer Wardong

4 - 5 August 2023

Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre

Koolbardi the magpie and Wardong the crow are very proud, vain, jealous brothers. Their cunning, rivalry and one-upmanship brings them unstuck in spectacular fashion. Journey back to the Nyittiny, the time of Creation, where love, loyalty, betrayal and jealousy are all stretched to their limits.

Award-winning songwriters and storytellers, Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, weave magic in this beautiful tale where pride always comes before the fall.

A Wesfarmers Arts Commission. Regional Tour supported by Minderoo Foundation and Playing WA. Southwest Children’s Chorus supported by Lotterywest. Movement Director supported by the Bendat Family Foundation.

All music composed by Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse ⓒ 2020 Wanjoo Pty Ltd. All rights administered by Perfect Pitch Music Publishing (APRA), on behalf of Wanjoo Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Composers Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse
Arrangement and Orchestration Dr Chris Stone
Director Matthew Reuben James Ward
Music Director/Piano Joshua Haines
Bendat Family Foundation Artist Movement Director Olman Walley
Set and Costume Designer Matt McVeigh
Lighting Designer Mark Howett
Sound Designer Jeremy Turner
Regional Children’s Chorus Director Danielle Bond
Assistant Regional Children’s Chorus Director Charmaine Councillor
Regional Chorus Pianist Roslyn Pilbeam
Wardong Jarred Wall
Koolbardi Jarrad Inman
Djidi Djidi Tyrone Brownley
Miss Djidi Djidi Natasha Eldridge
Ngaank Boodja Gina Williams AM
Guitar Guy Ghouse
Double Bass Dr Nick Abbey
Percussion Dr Daniel Susnjar

Southwest Children's Chorus supported by Lotterywest.

Participant Feedback

"It was a life-changing experience for our family."

"I loved being able to learn Noongar language through a local elder Charmaine Counsellor. She was very patient and inspired me to enjoy learning the language of country, and it's a beautiful language that should continue to be shared with the community."

"I think it was really fun to get on stage and it was great to meet all the crew members. Liked that it was in Noongar. Liked that we learnt Acknowledgement to Country as well. Gave me the confidence to do more stage productions. Appreciate being a part of this experience which was here in Bunbury and not Perth-based."

"It was an absolute honour to be part of this amazing production. Thank you!"

"This beautiful production has helped me to build up my confidence in singing and becoming my character the best I can. thank you so much for the opportunity to do my magpie call in the opening."

"It was the most incredibly inspiring experience!"

"Being involved in WAO production has been one of the best experiences, living in Regional WA it gave me an amazing opportunity to be involved without having to travel to the city, living in Dunsborough opportunities are very limited in the Arts scene. Participating in an indigenous production was extra special!"

"It was a wonderful experience to be involved in Koolbardi wer Wardong, in so many different ways. Thank you!"

"It was an amazing experience and I think the music is so beautiful. So glad it was in Noongar and not English. I learnt so much!"

Audience Feedback

"The fabulous effective set and costumes and the high calibre of the dancers and singing and of course Gina was brilliant and her performances continue to surprise as her voice and stage presence and craft grow. Gina has so much to give us all.”

“It was great to see such a diverse audience attending the production. It felt very inclusive.”

“I absolutely loved the opera- I had never been to the opera before but it was funny and brilliant! And I got to see my daughter having such a great time on stage while learning about and teaching us about Noongar culture!”

“All of it. The music style, the story, the dancing. It was a privilege and a joy to experience."

“It was just beautiful from beginning to end. It had great humour and the actors were superb.”

“It was so delightful, a mesmerising and uplifting experience that provided an accessible into to opera and Noongar language.”

Opera in Education — Photo: Owen Gregory

Opera in Education

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.

See more at

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, 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.


Only dimensions with more than 5 responses are included.


The majority of students participating in WAO’s Opera in Education program were likely to feel positive regarding their overall experience and to agree with the ‘Local Impact’ outcome area, demonstrating that they were glad the program was happening at school.

The series received positive results for ‘Learning’, ‘Inclusion’ and ‘Confidence’, indicating that students learnt something new, they felt welcome and included and that the program made them feel more confident about trying new things. These results demonstrate WAO’s Opera in Education program’s exceptional ability to engage, inspire and build confidence in school-aged children through music-based programs.

Act Belong Commit Community Outreach — Photo: Chantel Benjamin

Act Belong Commit

Community Outreach

Supported by Healthway

West Australian Opera together with our Participation Partner Healthway are committed to providing opportunities for children and young people to participate and engage with the many dimensions that come together to create an Opera.

Act Belong Commit Community Outreach Program supported by Healthway is a new initiative that has seen us work with the City of Cockburn, City of Gosnells and North Midlands Project to deliver a series of workshop programs especially created for each community hub that integrates key mental health and wellbeing messages.

Our team have welcomed the opportunity to connect with each of these community hubs through their Youth Advisory Councils, team leaders, and youth centres to find out what matters to them and devise individual workshop series including singing, prop-making, lighting, audio and choreography.




The 2023 results for WAO's newly introduced Act Belong Commit Community Outreach Program indicate that the program is effectively reaching its goals of encouraging youth engagement in opera, while creating a learning environment that prioritises inclusivity and positively impacts individual wellbeing. This is reflected in the findings for 'Inclusion' which received the highest average dimension score, indicating participants felt welcome and included. 'Wellbeing' also achieved positive results, while the program received an exceptionally high overall satisfaction result. This, along with the positive results for 'Rigour' demonstrates that the majority of participants enjoyed engaging with the program, they felt the workshops were well thought through and put together, and that participating had a positive impact on their physical and mental wellbeing.

WAO Young Artists — Photo: Alana Blowfield

Accessibility & Reach

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.

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.

Audio Description, Tactile Tours & Relaxed Performances

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 a relaxed performance during the Opera for Young People season. In 2023 this was Koolbardi wer Wardong, Bunbury supported by Lotterywest.

Children's 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 Carmen and La bohème, WAO is committed to the development of young voices and creating opportunities for local talent to advance and grow.

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.

Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist Program

The Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist Program is committed to nurturing the next generation of opera talent.

The 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.

The 2023 Wesfarmers Young Artists were Bella Marslen (soprano), Jillian Halleron (mezzo soprano), Ammon Bennett (tenor) and Jake Bigwood (bass).

The Roberts Emerging Artist Program

The Roberts Emerging Artist Program empowers early and mid-career artists to develop their craft through professional development opportunities, mentorship, specialist coaching, role preparation and training support.

The visionary support of The Roberts Emerging Artist Program has enabled this program to come to fruition and support aspiring artists.


2023’s ‘Reach and Accessibility’ outcomes are based on the data included in the following surveys: '2023 WAO - Wesfarmers Arts Singing Classes - Semester One', '2023 WAO - Wesfarmers Arts Singing Classes - Semester Two', '2023 WAO - Opera in Kalgoorlie Participant survey', '2023 WAO - Koolbardi wer Wardong Participant Survey', and '2023 WAO - Artist Participant Survey ORATORIO'.


WAO’s Reach and Accessibility programs were very successful in attracting new audiences and achieved the highest new audience result in 2023.

Participants responded most positively to dimensions in the Social and Economic domains ‘Inclusion’, ‘Collaboration’, ‘Access’ and ‘Wellbeing’. These results indicate that WAO’s 2023 Reach and Accessibility programs provided outstanding benefits for those taking part, with participants most likely to agree they felt welcome and included, that the programs provided opportunities for collaboration, they had a positive impact on their mental and physical wellbeing, and that they gave them access to cultural activities.

Otello — Photo: West Beach Studio

Private Giving Report

Contributing to the arts assists in creating a vibrant and thriving arts sector in Western Australia. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, West Australian Opera can continue to tell stories in theatres, schools, communities and regions, to reach more people with opera, and to train the next generation of opera professionals.

Annual Giving

Individual giving in the arts is truly valuable. The support and commitment from our donors through the Annual Giving program allows us to plan and deliver opera.


Bequests to West Australian Opera are very much appreciated and valued. Bequests leave a legacy that will impact the lives of future audiences.

Fortescue Metals Group Shares

In 2011 the company gratefully received a gift of FMG shares which provide an income stream through dividends each year.

Wesfarmers Arts Singing Classes — Photo: Owen Gregory

Thank you, Donors

The Roberts Emerging Artist Program

Bruce & Charmaine Cameron

Jock & Kate Clough
Dr Robert Larbalestier AO
Ulrich & Gloria Kunzmann
Margaret & Rod Marston
Leanne & Sam Walsh AO
Anonymous (1)

Stewart Candlish & Bianca Panizza
Warwick Hemsley AO
The Estate of Robert Kimpton
Francis Landels
Yuko Lucas
Dr Bryant Macfie
Annie & Neil Patrick
Dr Peter Simpson OAM
Helen & Michael Tuite

BENEFACTOR ($2,500+)
Gaysie Atkinson
Neil Archibald & Alan R. Dodge AM
Catherine Ferrari
Dr Maria Kailis
Eleanor John
Patrick Lilburne
Ruth Thorn
Joy Wearne
Anonymous (2)

SUPPORTER ($1,000+)
Dr Carol Anderson
Cathy Bardon & Bob Cassie
Prof Colin Binns AO & Dr Mi Kyung Lee OAM
David & Lois Black
Christine Burson
Joan Carney
Helen Carroll
Frank Cooper AO
Tim & Wendy Davis
John & Ann Dawson
Dr Graham Douglas & Brian Lindberg
Michelle & Bill Edwards
Lorraine Ellard
Harry Hansen-Knarhoi
Dr Rosalind Hampton
Steven Heath
Dr Penny Herbert
Kathryn Hogan & Graham Droppert
Ross & Fran Ledger
Andreas W. Merk
M.A & F.A Newman
Cathy & Cian Noonan
Karen Parfitt
John Paterson
Jennifer Rankin
Bill & Barbara Reid
Wayne Robinson
Kerry Sanderson AC CVO
Glenice Shephard
Lindsay & Suzanne Silbert
Kim & Keith Spence
Robyn Tamke
Clare Thompson
Tessa Tieleman
Agatha van Der Schaaf
Yannis Vrodos
Diana Warnock & the late Bill Warnock
Dr Chris & Mrs Vimala Whitaker
Anonymous (9)

FRIEND ($500+)
Tom & Mary-Anne Aram
Danielle & Myles Barlow
Carolyn Chard AM
Dr Douglas Clifford
Janina Ivy Cusack
Peter Eadington
Peter Edwards
Sue Foster
T & E Gerner
Dr Barry Green
Rosemary Grigg & Peter Flanigan
Enid Hopps
Vivienne Jagger
Jennifer Jones
Dr Susan M Joubert
Jock & Jennifer Laurie
Warren & Gillian Lilleyman
Hamish McGlashan
Liane Papaelias
Roger Paterson
Steve & Jane Sherwood
Diane Smith-Gander AO
Jan & Alan Stewart
Margaret Stockton
Warren & Katharina Surtees
Sue Thomas
Leonard Walker
Peter & Hilary 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.


The generous gift of FMG shares supports a strong and vibrant arts sector in Western Australia.

Neil Archibald & Alan R. Dodge AM
Warwick Hemsley AO
The Kimpton Family
The Kailis Family
Dr Robert Larbalestier AO
Annie & Neil Patrick
Helen & Michael Tuite
The Roberts Emerging Artist Program
Anonymous (1)

Thanks to the leadership donors of the Bel Canto Fund.

Cassandra Charlick & Stepan Libricky
Anita & James Clayton
Lorraine Ellard
Shane Pavlinovich
Ailsa West
Anonymous (5)

The Estate of Wendy Scanlon
The Estate of Clive Wannell
The Estate of Joyce E Young

Into the Woods — Photo: West Beach Studio

The Company

His Excellency the Honourable Chris Dawson AC APM, Governor of Western Australia

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

*Maternity Leave
**A/Philanthropy Manager (From May 2023)


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 AO
Annie Patrick
Marilyn Phillips OAM
Vincent A Warrener AM KHS

Patron, Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist Program
Emma Matthews AM
Wesfarmers Arts Commission
Gina Williams AM & Guy Ghouse

Oratorio — Photo: West Beach Studio

Thank you to our Partners

La bohème — Photo: West Beach Studio

Economic Impact Assessment

In 2023, WAO held events across the Perth metropolitan area and regional WA, which attracted attendee visitation and spending that would not have occurred otherwise. The economic stimulus generated by these activities contributed to the local economies where the programs took place and when aggregated, demonstrate the positive economic impact that WAO’s activities have on the communities they engage with.

The following Economic Impact Assessment compiled by Culture Counts outlines the direct and multiplied impacts of WAO’s 2023 live season across Perth and WA. It focuses on event evaluations where economic impact questions were posed, encompassing six key programs, Carmen, Into the Woods, Oratorio, Otello, La bohème and Opera in the Regions. It is worth noting that as WAO produced additional programs in 2023 that were not assessed, this economic impact assessment can be viewed as a conservative estimate of the economic benefits that the organisation provided for communities across WA in 2023.

Additionally, the total audience attendance figure was 74% higher in 2023 when compared with the 2022 assessment. This increase not only signifies heightened public engagement but also translates into a more substantial economic footprint when juxtaposed with the previous year’s assessment.

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
Carmen 9,734 1,169 33% 41%
Into the Woods 7,020 539 24% 19%
Oratorio 1,083 130 4% 5%
Otello 4,342 426 15% 15%
La Bohème 5,665 517 19% 18%
Opera in the Regions 1,403 60 5% 2%
Total 29,247 2,841
Opera in the Regions — Photo: Ovis


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? Carmen Into the Woods Oratorio Otello La Bohème Opera in the Regions
Stayed home or gone to work 68% 87% 82% 86% 87% 50%
Done something not in the local area 15% 5% 4% 5% 6% 25%
Something else in the local area 16% 8% 13% 9% 7% 25%

Did the event influence your decision to travel to the local area? Carmen Into the Woods Oratorio Otello La Bohème Opera in the Regions
Yes it was the main reason 79% 63% 50% 69% 75% 47%
Partly, it was a contributing factor 13% 15% 17% 4% 7% 6%
No, but I changed or extended my original plans 0% 8% 0% 4% 5% 6%
No, but I did know about the event 7% 10% 33% 8% 9% 31%
No, I was not aware of the event 1% 5% 0% 15% 5% 9%
La bohème — Photo: West Beach Studio


Event Expenditure

Event Spend Carmen Into the Woods Oratorio Otello La Bohème Opera in the Regions
Average Event/Surrounding Area Spend $54 $73 $26 $59 $70 $44
Additionality Adjustment 82% 90% 86% 89% 92% 56%
Total Event Impact $424,078 $451,910 $22,743 $227,193 $363,007 $37,484


Accommodation & Trip Expenditure

Respondents to a selection of event surveys were asked whether they stayed away from home overnight while attending the West Australian Opera event, how many nights they stayed and how much they spent on accommodation per person, per night. This data is used to calculate the ‘Accommodation Impact’. Respondents from outside of Western Australia 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 Carmen Into the Woods Oratorio Otello La Bohème Opera in the Regions
Percent who stayed away as part of their visit 18% 10% 6% 9% 10% 24%
Average Nights Stayed 3.7 1.8 1.3 1.8 2.4 2.8
Total Nights Stayed 3,055 832 60 523 839 606
Average Spend per Person per Night $161 $119 $27 $229 $219 $37
Accommodation Impact $296,282 $103,180 $3,756 $106,146 $158,875 $28,797
Average Trip Spend per Person $403 $289 $167 $264 $215 $21
Trip Impact $575,922 $103,507 $4,929 $40,699 $65,799 $15,004



* 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’).

Expenditure Impact Summary

Five of the six events assessed were held in Perth, while Opera in the Regions was also assessed in Margaret River and Kalgoorlie. The table below shows the spending impact in Perth from the five metropolitan events, along with the spending in the WA regions for the Opera in the Regions events. These are combined to show the total audience expenditure impact for WA.

Expenditure Type Perth WA Regions Total WA
Event Spend $1,488,930 $37,484 $1,526,414
Accommodation Spend $668,239 $28,797 $697,036
Trip Spend $790,855 $15,004 $805,859
Total Spend $2,948,025 $81,285 $3,029,309
Otello — Photo: West Beach Studio

Direct and Multiplied Economic Impact

At the events where this was measured; attendee event spending, accommodation spend and other trip spending, combined with organisation expenditure generated an estimated $11.7 million in direct economic impact from West Australian Opera’s 2023 season.

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 2023 calendar year was estimated to be $32.8 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 $1,526,414 3.04 $4,640,299
Accommodation $697,036 2.83 $1,972,612
Trip $805,859 2.95 $2,377,285
Organisation Expenditure $8,665,488 2.75 $23,830,092
Total Impact $11,694,797 $32,820,288

  1. Event Expenditure scaled by an output multiplier of 3.04, the national Food & Beverage multiplier.
  2. Accommodation Expenditure is scaled by an output multiplier of 2.83, the national Accommodation multiplier.
  3. Trip Expenditure scaled by an output multiplier of 2.95, 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 2.75, 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 six of West Australian Opera’s 2023 suite of programs (solely).

Financial Report


Financial Report

for the year ended 31 December 2023

View here

Data and Insights by
Report prepared for

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

Approved by: Laura Doyle
Date of Approval: February 2024.