Opera Australia appoints first female CEO Fiona Allan



Ahead of the Alexandria sale, OA fired 56 staff, including 16 musicians, a move that drew widespread condemnation and turned into a disaster for the company’s public relations.

Ms Allan said she was not intimidated by the challenge the company faces, highlighting her experience with the Hippodrome, which has not been able to host live performances for 18 months.


“These are challenges that I have taken on and for which I have found solutions,” she said. “I wouldn’t have accepted the job if I hadn’t thought I would have a good chance to make things more stable and better. I think opera is in a good position to get back on its feet.

One of the innovative solutions that Ms Allan found to generate income in her theater was to remove all seats in the auditorium and organize a digital exhibition. Van Gough alive. Operating under the rules of the art gallery rather than the theater, the show attracted some 63,000 visitors.

When the last round of blockades returned to Sydney, OA was forced to give up most of its winter season, but clung to the hope that juggernaut Andrew Lloyd Webber The Phantom of the Opera would still open on September 3 in Sydney and Melbourne on November 14. However, those two seasons were scrapped last month, leaving $ 20 million in advance ticket sales hanging.


At the time, art director Lyndon Terracini said he felt OA was “at war”.

“The theater is now on its knees,” he added. “There is no way forward.”

Terracini’s dramatic plea for federal government intervention seemed to fall on receptive ears when it was announced in late July that he would receive a $ 4 million donation from the COVID-19 Arts Sustainability Fund.

With the final production remaining on OA’s schedule, a season of The ring scheduled for Brisbane in October, is hanging by a thread. Management is desperately looking for a location outside of Sydney to host rehearsals in a COVID-safe ‘bubble’ but have nowhere found anywhere, and with the rehearsal window for Wagner’s epic work closing quickly, doubts are growing as to whether this will continue this year.

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