Opera Australia always knew that 2017 was going to be a difficult year given the closure of the Joan Sutherland Theatre (JST) at the Sydney Opera House for seven months of renovations. The Company expected to lose money, and it did – but, maintains CEO Rory Jeffes, not as much as anticipated.

In releasing its 2017 Annual Report today, OA confirmed that it had an operating level deficit of $2.1 million (though it had anticipated a loss of $2.6 million). The deficit includes an amount of $1.222 million representing a revision of past superannuation contributions as the result of short payments.

However, with a surplus of $2.75 million from The Opera Australia Capital Fund – a critically important arm of OA funding, which through prudent investment and the generosity of donors has built a healthy corpus to help secure the future of the Company – OA finished with a consolidated surplus for the year of $688,000.

Rory Jeffes. Photograph © Daniela Testa

Jeffes, who joined OA as CEO on July 31, 2017, describes himself as “somewhere between comfortable and pleased. Not happy. You can’t be happy with an operating deficit,” he tells Limelight.

“But the Capital...