Next year’s Opera in the Paddock concert cancelled

December 16, 2012

Delungra’s 12th Opera in the Paddock concert will not be held next year due to harsh economic conditions and a significant drop in overall sponsorship dollars.

Artistic Director Peta Blyth said the situation was too financially precarious to proceed with the concert which would need to guarantee much higher audience numbers to cover the shortfall.

“We are disappointed as it is a popular event that has injected around $5 million economic benefits for Inverell over the last 11 years and we have many strong supporters and loyal audience members from all over Australia,” she said.

The cancellation of Opera in the Paddock will also be felt in Bingara, especially by accommodation providers and the bus companies.

For several years, Bingara has accommodated travellers who are unable to find accommodation in Inverell, and others who prefer to stay here and travel by local bus to the event.

“This decision however will not affect the program for Opera North West which will proceed with a series of regional concerts next year.” She said the withdrawal of several corporate sponsorships and the difficult economic climate had forced the decision.

“Calculations, based on audience figures of the 2012 event and the current level of sponsorship for 2013 have placed the event in a precarious position, resulting in a significant risk with a shortfall of $30,000 to be made up through ticket sales, ” Ms Blyth explained.

She said corporate sponsorship together with philanthropic donations in 2010 had reached $36,000; in 2011 $17,800 and to date, corporate sponsorship was down to $4500 with the Council contribution halved from 2011 to $5000. With her husband Bill, Ms Blyth thanked the many supporters of Opera in the Paddock over the last 11 years.

“The unstinting support of Member for Northern Tablelands Richard Torbay over the years had been greatly valued and appreciated,” she said.” His vision for and belief in the event has been invaluable.

“We are also very grateful to many loyal patrons, sponsors over many years, family, volunteers, Friends of Opera, Inverell Visitors Centre staff and the Inverell SES, not to mention the wonderful artists we have presented on a professional level and our superb technical team. Together we have brought to the North West a wealth of music through the establishment of this significant regional event.”

This year’s concert in March was a pinnacle performance with an orchestra of twenty – two professional players, six professional singers, a didgeridoo soloist, a regionally based choir of young singers, a pianist and conductor sponsored by Opera Australia, making a total of 45 on stage.

From the inaugural performance in 2002 with four artists, Opera in the Paddock has presented over 60 professional artists of national and international standing, with many appearing on several occasions.

Young singers and instrumentalists have been showcased, including orchestral players from the North West and New England area. As a direct result of a paddock performance, one young talented singer gained a private sponsorship for overseas study.

Opera North West is a non profit organisation with Deductible Gift and Tax Charity Concession Status, a cultural charity. Over the past few years, the company has produced numerous smaller scale concert in Lismore, Murwillumbah, Moree, Grafton, Tamworth, Armidale, Tenterfield, Narrabri, Inverell and Coffs Harbour.

Opera North West will continue in a new direction in 2013, operating as a production company presenting concerts and events of various scales.