2012 Chamber Made Opera Annual Report

Page 1

Annual Report 2012

Your key to the edge of Opera

The Minotaur Trilogy, performed with unwavering conviction by the cast, is a fearless creative act full of imagination and unforgettable imagery‌ as challenging for its pace and length as it is extraordinary for unabashedly roaring headlong into the new with the scale and emotion befitting opera. RealTime

‘SKRRRRRK. Mwarkkk. GrglBANG. Ooooooooooooh (sung, rising and falling very slowly). Xwgerk! There, you don’t need to go to the Minotaur Trilogy, you’ve just performed it to yourself!’

The Age

The Box ‘is not simply a piece of musical theatre in an intimate setting – the space is a central component of the composition. RealTime

Another Lament… ‘[a] remarkable little opus’ The Australian

‘a remarkable show’ Herald Sun

‘beautiful and beguiling theatre’ The Age

Contents Message from the Artistic Director 12 Message from the Chair 15 Management 16 The Year at a Glance 17 Artistic Program 2012 18 International Program 30 Research & Development 35 The Keyholder Program 38 Audience & Marketing 39 Communications & Branding 40 Media & Publicity 41 Financials 42 Social Media 43 Supporters & Partners 44 World Premieres 45

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012


Message from the Artistic Director David Young

Walk-outs and standing ovations have frequently characterised audiences’ reactions to Chamber Made Opera’s work, most spectacularly during ‘The Minotaur Trilogy’ in the Melbourne Festival this year. And this has been thrilling, and very much my goal: to provoke and polarise with new art that is unsettling, unfamiliar and previously unimaginable. ‘The Minotaur Trilogy’ was a major milestone for myself and co-creator Margaret Cameron, as well as for the company in terms of artistic edge, profile and magnitude. This three-hour, epically conceived and deeply abstracted opera was unlike anything its creators had ever seen before, let alone Melbourne audiences. It was forged in a space, an artistic space, that has been fought for and nurtured over the 25 years of Chamber Made Opera’s existence, on the foundations laid by founding artistic director Douglas Horton and Stephen Armstrong, founding general manager. They have been followed by many protectors of the flame, with the spark of inspiration, driven by the conviction that this work is important, that it has the power to change how people think, and therefore change the world.

Since taking up the artistic directorship at the end of 2009, I have been the custodian of a rare entity on the Australian cultural landscape: the only company dedicated to the creation and presentation of chamber opera of our time and place. Over those three years, I have had the privilege of commissioning and premiering a baker’s dozen of operas, many in living rooms, but also in theatres, festivals and venues in Melbourne, Sydney and most recently Bristol in the UK.

“this three-hour, epically conceived and deeply abstracted opera was unlike anything its creators had ever seen before” 2012 has been a watershed year for us. ‘The Box’, created by Fritz Hauser and Boa Baumann from Switzerland with Aphids and Speak Percussion, revealed to us the spell of architect Robin Boyd. Creating a new work in one of his houses was an unexpectedly powerful synergy of intimacy and grandeur. ‘The Box’ has been nominated for a Green Room Award, and featured the very special voice of soprano Deborah Kayser with whom I have been working for over 20 years now. Deborah has starred in almost all our operas of late, together

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012

with some of Australia’s finest performers and musicians. I thank them for their performances, but mostly for the years and years of training and striving for perfection and trust and risk-taking that they bring with them, ever so deftly, such that it is practically invisible.

“this work is important, it has the power to change how people think, and therefore change the world” 2012 also saw the pilot of our partnership with ‘The Venny’ – the Kensington Adventure Playground. Now with a three-year commitment from the Hugh Williamson Foundation, and support from Arts Victoria’s Community Partnership Program, Chamber Made Opera will be making contemporary opera accessible to the children of ‘The Venny’, working with them to create new mini-operas, and develop new skills in singing, percussion and performance. 2012 saw the launch of our Keyholder Program, which continues in 2013. Keyholders not only experienced operas like ‘The Box’ and ‘PM’ in private living rooms. The Malthouse turned the Beckett Theatre into a living room for Rawcus’ ‘Another Lament’. Fritz Hauser enchanted us for an hour with a single gong at the Melbourne Recital Centre. Part One of ‘The Minotaur Trilogy’ played in Parramatta at Riverside Theatre. We workshopped and presented excerpts of four new operas with the Victoria Opera as part of ‘NOVA’ at Horti Hall. Margaret Cameron sneak previewed her new solo work, ‘Opera for small mammal’. And with Lemony S, we began work on a puppet opera inspired by the work of Banksy directly beneath the Arts Centre’s Playhouse stage. Keyholders were also invited to behind-the-scenes events, functions and received CD of Chamber Made Opera Records’ releases of ‘Minotaur The Island’ and ‘Another Lament’. It is true that in 2009, the company was on the brink of collapse, having lost support from funding bodies, sponsors, peers and public. All such organisms undergo natural cycles of ebb and flow, rise and fall.


It is true that I wanted to save the company from this collapse, believing in the unique and crucial role that it has and continues to play as the crucible of new opera in Australia. And it is also true that by the end of 2012, the company has never been in better shape by every measure: uncompromisingly contemporary and experimental art; critical (sometimes very critical) acclaim; unprecedented profile and media exposure in Australia and increasingly overseas; a disproportionately high volume of artistic output including performances, recordings, publications, workshops and special events; and an exponentially growing number of audience members, subscribers, patrons, donors, sponsors and funders. Operationally the company has an efficient, light and flexible management and administration that is art-focused, dedicated and passionate. Our fiscal position is stronger than ever, with steady and sustainable increases in turnover, earned income (box office, subscriptions, sales and on-sells exceeding $100,000 in 2012), donations and cash reserves in each of the last four years.

“a new work in one of robin boyd houses’ was an unexpectedly powerful synergy of intimacy and grandeur” But of course, all of this was not accomplished single-handedly. There is a veritable army of people working together to achieve all of this, with shared vision and unflinching will-power. This army consists of artists and arts companies, partner organisations and sponsors, festivals and venues, audiences and participants, patrons and donors, funders and volunteers, technicians and accountants, parents and friends, children and animals. I cannot thank you all enough. I especially thank my colleagues who are an honour and such fun to work with: Tim Stitz (Executive Producer), Caroline Lee (Assistant to the Artistic Director), Sarah Kriegler (Artistic Associate),

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012

Margaret Cameron (Resident Director), Brett Kelly (Resident Conductor) and Sally Goldner (Finance Officer). Thank you also to the members of our Committee of Management – Michael Bink (Chair), Greer Evans (Treasurer), Kylie Trounson (Secretary & Public Officer), Fiona Sweet and Dave Maney – all of whom are deeply and genuinely engaged with everything Chamber Made Opera.

“it is true that by the end of 2012, the company has never been in better shape by every measure” Thank you also to the members of my Artistic Advisory Group, and the mentors, friends and family who have given me such support in this role, and to the many previous staff and committee members for your invaluable contributions over the years. 2013 will be my last program as Artistic Director of this company, and it will be typically full of world premieres, international collaborations, living room operas, and unspeakable surprises. I greatly anticipate its unfolding. But it is with even greater anticipation that I look forward to the next evolution of Chamber Made Opera, as Tim Stitz takes the helm as Creative Director, together with his formidable artistic associates Erkki Veltheim (Music), Tamara Saulwick (Performance), Christie Stott (Digital) and Sarah Kriegler (The Venny). Watch out. The edge of opera just got that bit edgier. David Young Artistic Director since 2009


Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012


Message from the Chair Michael Bink

This has been an incredible 25th year for Chamber Made Opera, with our artistic program - produced to the highest standards by David Young, his staff and artistic collaborators - exceeding all expectations. The program was passionately supported by our rapidly growing audience, many of whom have gone on to engage more deeply with the company by joining the Keyholder program, co-commissioning works and bringing friends and family into our circle of supporters. All this is reflected in a growing box office and robust financial performance, underpinned by the important 3-year funding grants we receive from Arts Victoria and the City of Melbourne. Reflecting on the year, it is clear that Chamber Made Opera has once again become an iconic company recognised nationally and internationally for its interrogation of the artform and its capacity to excite and challenge audiences, taking opera well and truly into the 21st century. Along the way the company has brought emerging Australian artists - performers, musicians and composers to the attention of a wider audience and created works of international significance. The company has also been able to demonstrate that original work, performed to the highest standards and yet with modest resources, can attract an audience, an audience that grows with each new work. As was the case with Douglas Horton, our first Artistic Director, David Young has positioned Chamber Made Opera to leave an enduring mark on Australia’s creative future.

An exciting expansion of our work this year has been our partnership with ‘The Venny’ (Kensington Adventure Playground), which gives the children of Kensington and its surrounding community access to contemporary chamber operas. We are very grateful to the Hugh Williamson Foundation for generously supporting this project for three years, allowing us to take a longer term view of how we can use the art to engage and develop young people. The Committee of Management is delighted to have supported the continuing evolution of Chamber Made Opera and is clearly focused on building on this into the future. This includes recruiting talented people with diverse skills on to the Committee, so that the company has the strongest possible governance. We are also keen to continue working with our funders, Keyholders, donors, philanthropists, sponsors and other friends over the coming years so that the company continues to build on its success. The Committee extends its thanks to all our supporters, who are the vibrant indicators of the company’s success, and to David and his team for creating that success. Chamber Made Opera has achieved a remarkable amount for a small company. We as a committee are sure it will achieve much more as we move into the future with an exciting new structure and with Tim Stitz in the new role of Creative Director. Finally, a huge thanks to David Young for his critical role in remaking Chamber Made Opera and opening a window to opera as a 21st century artform. The view is amazing.

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012

Chamber Made Opera Management

Artists (2012)

David Young, Artistic Director / CEO Tim Stitz, Executive Producer Caroline Lee, Assistant to the Artistic Director Sarah Kriegler, Artistic Associate Margaret Cameron, Resident Director Brett Kelly, Resident Conductor Sally Goldner, Finance Officer

Clement Baade, performer Emily Barrie, designer Boa Baumann (Switzerland), architect Sandra Bridie, artist Margaret Cameron, writer/director/ dramaturg/performer Paul Carter (UK), live artist Mark Cauvin, double bass player Ida Duelund Hansen, singer/double-bass player Rachel Edward, performer Alexander Garsden, composer Ben Grant, performer Nilgun Guven, performer Fritz Hauser (Switzerland), composer/percussionist Dave Jones, animator Deborah Kayser, soprano Sarah Kriegler, writer/director Peter Lambropoulos, artist Caroline Lee, performer/clarinettist Mike McEvoy, performer Ryan New, performer Anastasia Russell-Head, harpsichordist Matthias Schack-Arnott, percussionist Leah Scholes, percussionist Hellen Sky, performer Kate Sulan, director Eugene Ughetti, percussionist Richard Vabre, lighting designer Willoh S Weiland, writer Jacob Williams, puppeteer Alexandra Zierle, live artist Jethro Woodward, sound designer David Young, composer

Board Michael Bink, Chair Greer Evans, Treasurer Kylie Trounson, Secretary & Public Officer David Maney Fiona Sweet David Young

Artistic Advisory Group Robyn Archer AO Gerard Brophy Helen Cole (Bristol, UK) Brett Dean Juliana Hodkinson (Berlin, Germany) Caroline Stacey


Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012


The Year at a Glance





a _l






dy sk



z & c ofasm









min cap

ietm ven

February Tuesday 14: Venny project begins Friday 18: Minotaur The Labyrinth development March Monday 5: Schraffur @ Melbourne Recital Centre Friday 16 – Saturday 24: The Box @ The Iris, Kew Monday 19: Fritz Hauser and Boa Baumann lecture Monday 26 March: David Young attends IETM meeting in Copenhagen April Sunday 29: Keyholder soiree @ a private living room May Thursday 3 May: The Venny Performance @ The Venny Wednesday 9 – Friday 11: Minotaur The Island @ The Aurora Festival, Parramatta

June Wednesday 6 – Sunday 10: Another Lament @ The Malthouse Friday 22: Another Lament CD launch @ Monkey Bar July Sunday 29: PM – an incidental video opera @ a private home in Preston August Tuesday 7: Dr Young’s Salon of Knowledge @ Mr Price’s foodstore September Monday 3 – Saturday 8: NOVA workshops and showings @ Horti Hall Wednesday 5 – Monday 15 October: Zierle and Carter residency Wednesday 12: Meet the artists – Zierle and Carter

October Sunday 14: Zierle and Carter showing @ Monegeetta Thursday 18 – Sunday 21: The Minotaur Trilogy @ Melbourne Recital Centre Tuesday 23: Tim Stitz to IETM meeting in Zagreb, Croatia November Tuesday 27 – Thursday 29: Opera for a small mammal development @ La Mama December Sunday 2: House Party and Keyholder Program Launch @ The Iris, Kew Monday 3 – Friday 14: Captives of the City development @ Victorian Arts Centre Thursday 6: Recording of Minotaur The Labyrinth and Minotaur The Boats @ Iwaki Auditorium, ABC Southbank Friday 14: Captives of the City development showing @ Victorian Arts Centre

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012

Artistic Program 2012


Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2011


The Minotaur Trilogy by Margaret Cameron & David Young


Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012


The Minotaur Trilogy by Margaret Cameron & David Young ‘Opera buffs looking to challenge themselves should also grab a ticket to Chamber Made Opera’s extraordinary and ambitious The Minotaur Trilogy, a three-part monster that tackles Greek mythology with a modern fearlessness. Chamber Made Opera has long been a unique outpost on Australia’s performance landscape, and after several years of increasingly prolific work, this may well be the company’s most striking production so far.’ The Age

Presented by Chamber Made Opera and Melbourne Recital Centre in association with Melbourne Festival World Premiere ‘The Minotaur Trilogy’ is an exquisite mythological meltdown – an epic journey into a new kind of opera. In this extraordinary work Chamber Made Opera casts its decidedly unorthodox gaze over the ancient Greek legend of the Minotaur, resulting in an unconventional opera told over three suitably epic chapters. Taking its inspiration from Monteverdi’s famous lost opera of which the celebrated Lamento d’Arianna is the only fragment that remains this work finds the ageless story of thwarted love, misplaced heroism and tragic human failings twisted, inverted and collapsed, a strange new mythology conjured from a familiar tale. Staged in the small-scale and acoustically rich surrounds of the Melbourne Recital Centre’s Salon, Margaret Cameron and David Young’s unexpected and daring score, a composition of image, text, found sounds and baroque instruments, forms a work of intimacy and extravagance - hallucinatory, a retelling that teeters on the edge of ecstasy and oblivion.

Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre Thu 18 – Sunday 21 Oct Act One: Minotaur The Island Act Two: Minotaur The Labyrinth* Act Three: Minotaur The Boats* *World Premiere By Margaret Cameron & David Young Performers: Deborah Kayser, Caroline Lee and Hellen Sky Double Bass: Mark Cauvin Percussion: Matthias Schack-Arnott Harpsichord: Anastasia Russell-Head ‘Minotaur The Island’ was co-commissioned by Ten Days on the Island and Dr Peta Gillingham. ‘Minotaur The Labyrinth’ and ‘Minotaur The Boats’ were co-commissioned by Michael Bink (in memory of Kim Glover), Fiona Sweet & Paul Newcombe, Helen & Peter Murdoch, Meg Morris, Susan Pelka and Anonymous (2).

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2011


The Box by Fritz Hauser with Boa Baumann (Switzerland)


Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2011


The Box by Fritz Hauser with Boa Baumann (Switzerland)

Produced by Chamber Made Opera in association with Speak Percussion, Aphids and the New Music Network A new living room opera composed by Fritz Hauser (Switzerland), renowned for his explorations of sound and space, in collaboration with architect Boa Baumann. Three of Australia’s most innovative arts companies come together to present a new chamber opera by Switzerland’s Fritz Hauser in collaboration with architect Boa Baumann. With a libretto by Aphids Artistic Director Willoh S Weiland, ‘The Box’ starts its life as a Living Room Opera in a 1955 Grounds, Romberg & Boyd House overlooking the steep banks of the Yarra River.

A private living room in Kew Saturday 17 March – Saturday 24 March, 2012 Featuring soprano soloist Deborah Kayser, a trio of Speak percussionists, and a box Concept, Music, Space, Object: Fritz Hauser with Boa Baumann Libretto: Willoh S. Weiland Soprano: Deborah Kayser Percussion: Eugene Ughetti, Matthias Schack-Arnott & Leah Scholes Supported by Pro Helvetia and the Swiss Consulate

‘The Box is a work of extreme subtlety that blurs the line between living space and performance space.’ RealTime

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2011



Another Lament Produced by Chamber Made Opera and Rawcus Presented by Malthouse Theatre (a re-mounting of a 2010 Living Room Opera)

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012

Another Lament Produced by Chamber Made Opera and Rawcus Presented by Malthouse Theatre (a re-mounting of a 2010 Living Room Opera)

The 17th century English composer Henry Purcell dies at a tender age of 35 (or 36 depending on who you ask). There exists a significant mystery surrounding his death: some believe he died of exposure after returning from the theatre one night only to find that he’d been locked out by his wife. Others think it was tuberculosis, or something more sinister. ‘Another Lament’, therefore, is a murder mystery, a reverie on grief, regret, and the ghosts that haunt us. It is about holding it together whilst falling apart. ‘Another Lament’ brings together Chamber Made Opera and rawcus, both with very distinct track records and approaches to theatre making. This is the first time rawcus has worked within the operatic artform; similarly, this is Chamber Made Opera’s first collaboration with an ensemble of mixed abilities.

Beckett Theatre, Malthouse 6 – 10 June, 2012 Director: Kate Sulan Composition & Musical Performance: Ida Duelund Hansen (Voice, DoubleBass) Assistant Director: Nilgun Guven Costume & Set Design: Emily Barrie Lighting Design: Richard Vabre Sound Design: Jethro Woodward Performed by Rawcus ensemble members: Clem Baade, Rachel Edward, Nilgun Guven, Mike McEvoy & Ryan New

‘Beautiful and potent, and for all the material comforts of the middle class home that it recreates, very bleak.’ theatre notes



PM: An incidental video opera Created by Peter Lambropoulos and Sandra Bridie Produced by Chamber Made Opera

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2011


Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012

PM: An incidental video opera Created by Peter Lambropoulos and Sandra Bridie Produced by Chamber Made Opera

On the 9th of August between 9.33pm and 10.06pm, Sandra Bridie took her video camera out and filmed 33 minutes of material inside her Gambetta flat in Paris’ 20th arrondissement. Meanwhile, at the same time of the same day, though not at the same instant (due to timezone differences) Peter Lambropoulos also filmed 33 minutes of source video material inside his house in Preston, Melbourne. ‘PM: An Incidental Video Opera’ is a distillation and collation of material from these two filmic events, combined, filtered, fused, layered and separated out, accompanied by their incidental soundtracks, into a series of three minute 33 second video works. These works were installed on various devices around Peter’s home environment in preston for one night only for visitors to explore, around nightfall on July the 29th. Three people were allowed into the house every three minutes and 33 seconds.

A home in Preston Sunday 29 July 2012 @ 5pm


Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012

Chamber Made Opera Records

Chamber Made Opera launched its own record label in 2012 with the recording and release of Minotaur The Island on CD. This was followed by releases of: ‘The Minotaur Trilogy’ limited edition full-colour manuscript score by Margaret Cameron and David Young ‘Another Lament’ by Ida Duelund and Jethro Woodward Chamber Made Records is planning more releases for 2013, most particularly The Minotaur Trilogy limited edition CD box set.


Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012

The Venny Produced by Chamber Made Opera in partnership with the Kensington Adventure Playground


Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012


The Venny

In 2011, CMO approached the Kensington Adventure Playground (The Venny) with a proposal: a pilot project where Chamber Made Opera artists collaborated with children who attend The Venny, culminating in a community performance. The Venny provides children and their families from the Kensington High Rise Commission Housing and the local area with a communal backyard, complete with chooks, guinea pigs, trampolines, cubby houses, veggie patch and more. Extensive planning was undertaken and funding successfully secured from The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and The Helen Macpherson Smith Trust. Beginning in February 2012, Chamber Made Opera artists, in collaboration with The Venny community workers, spent two-days each week working with the children of The Venny (a boys’ group and a girls’ group). These workshops focused on developing the young people’s skills in storytelling, singing, music making and performance (in particular percussion), puppetry and puppet making, acting/physical performance and graffiti art.

The two groups finally converged to created ‘Lost and Found’; a cross-cultural music theatre adventure inspired by their lives, a performance for The Venny community on 3 May 2012. This pilot was the first community project undertaken by Chamber Made Opera in its almost 25-year history. The pilot enabled our team to test and develop their skills as community artists whilst cultivating a relationship with the children and staff of The Venny. The result was an outstanding community partnership and a joyful community performance that left the audience, children and artists brimming with pride and delight at what we had achieved. The project exposed children from every walk of life to the thrill of highly experimental contemporary chamber opera, music and performance. Our dream is to keep working with The Venny for the next seven years, to deepen and expand the huge potential we see being unlocked through this unexpected partnership. As a major step towards realising this vision, the Hugh Williamson Foundation is supporting the project for the next three years, and the Victorian State Government is also providing significant funding in 2013.

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012



Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012


Schraffur Produced by Chamber Made Opera in association with Speak Percussion and Aphids

‘Schraffur’ for gong solo Composed and performed by Switzerland’s Fritz Hauser. Produced by Chamber Made Opera, in association with Speak Percussion and Aphids. World-renowned percussionist Fritz Hauser takes us on a meditative and intensely colourful journey across a landscape of overtones. Schraffur is the name for a playing technique that Fritz Hauser has developed to produce a remarkable array of sounds and effects with a single small gong. The ongoing pulsation opens doors to our phantasies and allows us to forget about time and space. Melbourne Recital Centre Monday 5 March @ 6.00 pm

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012

LOD International Cultural Exchange

LOD is a production house for music and theatre that has innovated the landscape of musical theatre in Belgium and abroad. The artists that work with LOD develop contemporary creation beyond the frontiers of genres and disciplines, exploring the confrontation between music and the scene, and are known for their contemporary approach of musical theatre. Their work is hybrid and hard to label, but it is always the result of profound artistic investigation and great artistic and creative joy. LOD has often been defined as an incubator where the exploration of possibilities allows artists to realise extraordinary projects that continue to innovate contemporary theatre and opera. In November 2012, two artists associated with Chamber Made Opera, Mathias Schack-Arnott (percussionist) and Alex Garsden (composer/ performer) travelled to Ghent for a week of meetings and initial creative discussions with artists, festival directors and presenters across Belgium. The focus of these meetings was exploring the potential for a collaborative project between Chamber Made Opera and LOD, involving Alex and Matthias in conjunction with up to three LOD artists.


Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012

Zierle and Carter ‘Between Lands and Longings’


Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012


Zierle and Carter: ‘Between Lands and Longings’ International Residency

Alexandra Zierle and Paul Carter’s collaborative work is interdisciplinary, multi-sensory and site and context responsive, spanning from live art/ performance art, happenings and interventions, to sound, video and installation. Through their practice, Zierle & Carter critically examine different modes of communication and what it means to be human both as individuals and as a collective entity. Their work addresses notions of belonging, cultural identity, the dynamics within relationships, harmony through conflict and the transformation of limitations. As a result of meetings brokered by David Young in 2011, and facilitated by Helen Cole, Artistic Director in the In Between Time Festival, Alexandra Zierle and Paul Carter travelled to Australia in October 2011 for an intensive six-week residency hosted by Chamber Made Opera. They explored the sense of belonging and notions of home through the lens of an Australian context, interviewing myriad people of various ages, upbringings, and backgrounds around people’s personal definitions of belonging and non-belonging and what actions do people take to move from a place of non-belonging back to a place of belonging.

During their stay in Australia Zierle and Carter participated in an artists’ talk, hosted by Chamber Made Opera, and also performed an informal showing of the work, ‘Between Lands and Longings’, in development. ‘Between Lands and Longings’ will be performed in Bristol in April 2013 as part of the In Between Time Festival, and will then be shown in Melbourne in the second half of 2013 as part of our Living Room Opera Series.

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012


Research & Development

SIAL –Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory, RMIT In collaboration with SIAL, based at RMIT, Chamber Made Opera has been developing an in-depth proposal for a long-term research project: Agile Opera: contemporary performing arts in the new age. The project was first submitted to the ARC in and came very close to being accepted. Following discussions with SIAL, the project has been refined and has been re-submitted to the ARC. The Agile Opera project is an ambitious and exciting undertaking. The main aims are to: research and transform the intellectual, artistic and social capital of a contemporary performing arts company; to research and develop new physical and virtual platforms for the sustained delivery of chamber opera; and to discover new modes of interaction between a 21st century performing arts company and national and international sectors that return value.

NOVA – New Opera Ventures Australia A national initiative by Chamber Made Opera and Victorian Opera, NOVA was established in 2009 to unearth young, emerging and under-represented composers and music theatre makers from around Australia. Following the success of the program in 2010, CMO did a call-out in mid-2011. The national assessment panel chose four pieces, which were then workshopped by ensembles of professional musicians and singers under the guidance of Richard Gill, Brett Kelly, and David Young, together with the composers and librettists of the work. Three works were then presented in two public showings at Horti Hall at the beginning of September, 2012. The showings were very well attended: in particular by various high-profile presenters and producers from around Australia. Selected works: ‘Biographica’, music by Mary Finsterer, libretto by Timothy Daly ‘Carmilla’, music by Adam Yee, text by Sheridan Le Fanu ‘House of the Sleeping Beauties’, music by Luke Paulding, libretto by David Maney ‘Little Deaths’, music by Paul Castles, libretto by Nicole Lee The NOVA program allowed CMO to encounter and present an amazing diversity of work; to support work that may not fit within our main program; to enable access to the enormous resources of a large organisation like Victorian Opera; and to gain insight into the people working within the contemporary landscape, and what new work is emerging within Australia.

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012

Research & Development

‘Opera for a small mammal’ – creative development

scholarly, pedagogical, philosophical and literary reference points.

Developed in association with Chamber Made Opera and Bell Shakespeare Mind’s Eye.

She echoes Puck’s closing words, ‘Not a mouse/ Shall disturb this hallowed house’, entering a theatre alive with the ghosts of many past performances.

‘Opera for a small mammal’ references Kafka’s last short story, ‘Josephine the Songstress’, and explores the artist’s position in society, from a rigorous and singular point of view, to create a resonant landscape of performance. Regina del Mouse lives in the sets, the castles and the forests of Shakespeare’s plays and the Grand Operas of La Scala. Her tale glints with thieveries from Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, the Beat poet Michael McClure (who wrote ‘Josephine the Singer’, also based on Kafka’s story), and other

Written and performed by Margaret Cameron in creative development with Jethro Woodward and David Young. 27, 28, 29 November La Mama Theatre as part of La Mama’s Explorations Season Supported by R.E. Ross Trust Playwrights’ Script Development Award


Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012


Research & Development

‘Captives of the City’ – creative development A collaboration between Chamber Made Opera, independent puppet company Lemony S Puppet Theatre, and award-winning animator Dave Jones. ‘Captives of the City’ is a multi-media exploration of social disengagement and social disorder through the marriage of four art forms: graffiti art, puppetry, animation and contemporary opera.

The creative development took place in the first two weeks of December, 2012, with a well-received showing to invited guests and stakeholders at the end of the workshop period. Developed with support from the Valmorbida family, the Besen Family Foundation, the Victorian Arts Centre, and the Theatre Board and Inter-Arts Office of the Australia Council.

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012


The Keyholder Program At the end of 2011, Chamber Made Opera launched its unique and highly innovative Keyholder program. Rather like a subscription ‘with benefits’, Keyholders in 2012 gained access to all our Living Room Operas, received copies of CDs and publications, and were invited to behind-the-scenes events, functions and exclusive Keyholder soirees. Revenue from the Keyholder Program is allocated directly to artistic commissions and programming, making this the engine room of the company’s artistic output. The loyalty and engagement that the program is able to engender, exponentially increased the impact of the financial contribution. Take up of the 2012 Keyholder Program was solid (including a Gold key and numerous Double keys). Keyholders attended regularly, and many have progressed to Patron status. Chamber Made Opera’s 2012 Keyholder program details were as follows:

Keyholder $350 1 ticket for all Living Room Operas (worldwide) 1 additional ‘bring’a’friend’ ticket to a Living Room Opera of your choice Invitations to special Keyholder events and artists talks Advance notice and booking privileges for all performances and events 1 limited edition Chamber Made Opera key, Valid throughout 2013

Double Keyholder $595 for two! 2 tickets for all Living Room Operas (worldwide) 2 additional ‘bring-a-friend’ tickets to a Living Room Opera of your choice Invitations to special Keyholder events and artists talks Advance notice and booking privileges for all performances and events 2 limited edition Chamber Made Opera keys. Valid throughout 2013 Limited Edition of 100

Gold Keyholder $1,950 2 VIP reserved seating tickets for all Living Room Operas (worldwide) 2 additional complimentary tickets to a Living Room Opera of your choice Exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences Invitations to special Keyholder events and artists talks Advance notice and booking privileges for all performances and events 1 limited edition Chamber Made Opera gold key. Valid throughout 2013 Limited Edition of 7

Master Keyholder $24,000 1 brand new commissioned chamber opera Life-long commissioning credits for the new work 1 World Premiere performance for your guests in your living room 2 other ticketed performances in your living room 1 limited edition, signed copy of the musical score Limited edition visual & audio recording of the new chamber opera 2 VIP reserved seating tickets for all Living Room Operas (worldwide) 2 additional ‘bring-a-friend’ tickets to a Living Room Opera of your choice Exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences Invitations to special Keyholder events and artists talks Advance notice and booking privileges for all performances and events 1 limited edition Chamber Made Opera master key. Valid throughout 2013 Limited Edition of 1

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012


Audience & Marketing

2012 saw the continued growth of Chamber Made Opera’s audience, with very strong loyalty, and a deep and impassioned engagement with the work. The way in which audiences are engaging with the company is changing, with a steady shift from attending live performance to experiencing the work online, through broadcasts, publications, and complementary activities and collateral such as artists talks, blogs and social media. A key strategy for reaching our audience, and expanding its base, is through presenting partners. Almost all presentations are undertaken in partnership with other companies, venues and/ or festivals. This is a very conscious strategy to focus Chamber Made Opera’s resources on creating the art, and leveraging the marketing power of our partners.

Examples of the different ways that audiences and marketing are leveraged include: ‘The Box’ presented in collaboration with Aphids and Speak Percussion, enabling the three organisations to pool their respective audiences and marketing power. ‘Another Lament’ re-mounted by the Malthouse Theatre as part of their Opera XS festival, bringing this work to a wider audience. Another Lament was also created with Rawcus which further increased the audience and marketing reach. The Aurora Festival in Parramatta enabled ‘Minotaur The Island’ to tour interstate (NSW), presented in partnership also with Riverside Theatre. Our joint initiative, ‘NOVA’ with the Victorian Opera, assisted in raising the profile of Chamber Made Opera publicly as well as within the industry. ‘Opera for a small mammal’ creative development took place at La Mama Theatre in partnership with Bell Shakespeare. All of these presenting partners’ collective audience and marketing strength provided Chamber Made Opera with leveraged reach far exceeding what would have been our capacity alone.

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012

Communications & Branding Our major sponsor, Sweet Creative, is responsible for the look and feel of all Chamber Made Opera’s communications and branding. The consistency and finish that Sweet give to everything we do enables the company’s brand to penetrate and become retained in our audience and stakeholders’ minds.


Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012

Media & Publicity Our other major sponsor, Zilla & Brook Publicity, similarly provide a consistent message and flavour to all of Chamber Made Opera’s media releases and interactions with the press. In 2012, editorial coverage of Chamber Made Opera exceeded $100,00 in advertising value, with a readership of over 3 million. The company received unprecedented exposure in both national and local print, radio and online.


Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012


Financials 2012 was a year of financial strength and stability for the company, delivering a surplus of $4,802.23 achieved through highly efficient operations, prudent control of expenditure and strong growth in earned income and donations. The majority of expenditure continues to flow directly towards the creation of art, with employing artists being by far the biggest expenditure item. Administration costs continue to be very small compared to the industry standard. From a rather fragile foundation in 2009, Chamber Made Opera is now financially robust, with steady and manageable growth in earned income, donations, funding, interest, indeed almost every area. This increases the company’s capacity to create new work, with a growing number of works seeing remounts and sell-ons. Since 2009, turnover has grown impressively to nearly double 2009 levels, and is now trending towards a sustainable level: Turnover $201,745 2009






Most significantly, the company’s ability to generate earned income has dramatically improved, and now exceeds 25% of turnover: Total earned income





Cash reserves (retained earnings) are now at over 10% of turnover which provides an extremely solid foundation, and is a key aspect of our risk management plan. With the growth in earned income and donations, the company’s reliance on subsidy has diminished significantly. Our Arts Victoria core grant now represents just over 40% of turnover, which is half that of 2009 levels. We project that this trend will continue, however, the core grant remains a crucial base from which the company is able to leverage all of its other support. Note also that, due to the across-the-board funding cuts in 2013, the company’s ability to leverage other income streams is expected to be proportionately affected: Reserves



A critical strategy in Chamber Made Opera’s sustainability has been its philanthropy program. Donations from private individuals have been the engine room of the company’s capacity to commission and create new work. As well as total donations continuing to grow, the number of individual donors is also increasing, with strong loyalty.



Chamber Made Opera’s Auditors are Geoff Perry & Associates.










Full audited financial statements are published as a separate document and lodged as required by legislation and funding agreements. Arts Victoria Grant 82%








Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012


Social Media Chamber Made Opera’s presence through social media networks is continuing to expand and develop. We have made it a priority to ride the wave of migration from traditional methods of

Facebook likes: 606; up from 400 at the end of 2011

disseminating information by keeping our on-line presence active and dynamic while at the same time continuing to meet the communication needs of all our audience members.

Chamber Made Opera is being followed by Yoko Ono

Twitter followers: 1082, up from 500 at the end of 2011

Chamber Made Opera Website

5,405 Unique Visitors 28,166 Page Views 56.65% New Visitors (5,178 visits) 43.35% Returning Visitors (3,962 visits)

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012


Supporters & Partners Patrons (donations of $1,000 or more)

Thank you also to our Living Room Opera hosts:

Michael Bink, Helen Brack, Robert Gibbs, Margaret Leggatt AM, Meg Morris, Helen & Peter Murdoch, Fiona Sweet & Paul Newcombe, Susan Pelka, Anonymous (2)

Fiona Sweet & Paul Newcombe, Deidre & Naham Warhaft, Dr Peta Gillingham, Madeleine Flynn & Tim Humphrey, Belinda & Nick Enmore, Julie Bryson, Helen & Peter Murdoch, Peter Lambropoulos

Government Partners

Trusts & Foundations Hugh Williamson Foundation


par electron

Project Partners In Between Time (UK)

LOD (Belgium)

Zierle and Carter (UK)

Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012

World Premieres 2013 forthcoming Between Lands and Belonging Opera for a small mammal Turbulence Edible Flower Opera Opera Noir 2012 The Minotaur Trilogy: The Island, The Labyrinth, The Boats The Box PM – an incidental opera NOVA Lost and Found at The Venny 2011 Minotaur The Island Dwelling Structure Ophelia doesn’t live here anymore Blood 2010 Another Lament The Itch Target NOVA Manifest Exile: iPad opera 2009 Beneath 2003-2008 The Children’s Bach The Charcoal Club Corruption Crossing Live The Hive The Possessed 1993-2002 Gauguin (a synthetic life) Fresh Ghosts From the Lip Matricide The Musical Motherland Slow Love Phobia Teorema Walkabout Transfigured Night Wide Sargasso Sea 1998-1992 The Burrow The Cars that ate Paris The Fall of the House of Usher Greek The Heiress Improvement: Don leaves Linda Lacuna Medea Tresno Recital Sweet Death The Two Executioners


Chamber Made Opera Annual Report 2012

‘It’s a show that’ll send traditionalists running for cover but for seekers of truly innovative art, Minotaur is a must. it is a wholly unique experience, unlike anything this side of dreaming’ Australian Stage


Arts House | Meat Market Office 22, 44 Courtney Street North Melbourne VIC 3051 AUSTRALIA

PO Box 302 North Melbourne VIC 3051 AUSTRALIA +61 3 9090 7095 www.chambermadeopera.com ABN 84 490 162 765