Is Queensland the opera capital of Australia?
9th June, 2023

Is Queensland the opera capital of Australia?

New Deloitte Access Economics report reveals Opera Queensland's extensive economic and social impact

Opera Queensland contributes $6M to the economy annually, creates and supports hundreds of local jobs and is a key driver of Queensland’s cultural brand, according to new data released today (Friday 9 June).

The economic and social benefits of Opera Queensland, a Deloitte Access Economics report commissioned by Opera Queensland, measures the impact the leading arts organisation has on the state’s economy, social fabric and cultural identity.

The report recognised opera as an important social institution and challenged the perception it was “a non-economic activity with limited benefits to the wider community”.

Using data from 2021, the report found that even in a COVID-disrupted year, Opera Queensland delivered:

  • $6M to the economy
  • 247 jobs for artists and arts workers
  • 28% of mainstage audiences from outside Brisbane
  • Performances in 31 regional and rural locations
  • An audience reach of 149,645
  • 14 collaborations with other arts companies
  • $1.7 million in consumer value (calculated as the value audiences receive through ticket prices and performance experience)

The report also identified Opera Queensland’s broader social contribution through accessible programming, industry collaboration and support, regional and remote sector development, community pride, cultural understanding and improved mental health.

Opera Queensland Artistic Director and CEO Patrick Nolan said findings from The economic and social benefits of Opera Queensland report celebrated and acknowledged the scale and scope of the work the organisation delivered.

“Opera is a deeply collaborative art form and this report recognises the energy, impact and influence opera has on a vibrant and healthy arts sector, both socially and economically,” Mr Nolan said.

“An Opera Queensland mainstage production requires the combined energies of so many different people: an orchestra of 60 to 80 people, a chorus of 30 to 50, a cast of seven to eight principals, the design team, increasingly, visual artists, choreographers and dancers, and let’s not forget the director.

“Our purpose in commissioning this report was not only to demonstrate the social and economic impacts of opera but illustrate its interconnectedness and vibrancy as an art form in terms of its resonance with audiences across Queensland.”

Deloitte Access Economics Partner and lead report author John O’Mahony said: “This landmark report dramatically broadens our understanding of the value of Opera Queensland.”

“It finds that beyond the well-known artistic and cultural impacts of performances, Opera Queensland generates economic benefits through employment and in the tourism sector, and social benefits through impacts on well-being and in regional communities.

“Opera Queensland will have an important role in showcasing the arts strengths of Queensland in the lead-up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, broadening the brand of Queensland.”

In addition to showcasing Queensland’s world-class arts and cultural proposition to visitors, the IOC requires each host city to produce a Cultural Olympiad: a major festival of arts and culture over the four years leading up to the Games.

“Cultural planning for the Olympics is very much in play and Opera Queensland is a key player in Arts Queensland’s roadmap as we prepare to have the eyes of the world on us in 2032,” Mr Nolan said.

“As we come out of the COVID disruptions that have punctuated the past few years and come into preparations for the Olympics, this report gives us a firm foundation to embrace the energy and the potential we have as an organisation.”

The economic and social benefits of Opera Queensland report was launched by The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce before a performance of Opera Queensland’s 2023 touring production, Lady Sings the Maroons, at Roma Street Parkland on Friday 9 June.

Production of The economic and social benefits of Opera Queensland report was partly funded by a partnership between Opera Queensland and Deloitte Access Economics.

The report’s economic modelling used the Deloitte Access Economics Regional Input-Output Model (DAE-RIOM), a similar framework to that used in Deloitte Access Economics studies for other arts organisations including Sydney Opera House, Screen Australia and the ABC.

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