At the conclusion of every year, our natural instinct is to reflect on the events of the past year while we begin to focus on the next. We remember the happy occasions as well as the sad ones as we reflect on our successes and, sometimes, on our failures.
This past year at Opera Australia we were fortunate to have had some wonderful successes. The one I think of above all, is the extraordinary achievement of Brett Dean and Amanda Holden's Bliss.
Experiencing a great success at its world première in Sydney, Bliss then had an outstanding season in Melbourne, followed by an extraordinary success at the Edinburgh Festival. It was truly a very exciting and emotional experience to sit in the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh and observe the tremendous response from the audience, and then in the following days to read the brilliant reviews in all the major papers. I felt proud for Brett Dean and Amanda Holden, but I felt particularly happy for the cast of wonderful Australian artists who really were great ambassadors for Australia, both on and off the stage. This was a major international success that all of us at Opera Australia remember as a terrific highlight of 2010.
We also remember at this time the sadness of losing one of our greatest friends, Dame Joan Sutherland. Dame Joan was not only the greatest opera singer that Australia has ever produced, she was an extraordinarily generous and open human being who will be missed by all who knew her. She was an inspiration to all who worked with her and she will live forever in our memories.
In 2010 we announced that in 2013 Opera Australia will present Richard Wagner's mighty Ring Cycle for the very first time. It will be presented at the State Theatre in Melbourne and there is tremendous interest in this event, both here and internationally.
We announced another major event, Opera on Sydney Harbour, which will begin as an annual event in 2012. This too has generated enormous interest and we are very excited about this massive stage being the focus of attention in March and April of 2012.
Finally, this past year we began filming operas from the Sydney Opera House and presenting them in cinemas within Australia and internationally.
All of these wonderfully exciting projects present opportunities for Opera Australia which will have far-reaching artistic and financial benefits.
In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for supporting Opera Australia in 2010. I hope you enjoyed the performances which you attended and I look forward to your company in 2011.
I wish you all a very happy holiday season and a wonderful 2011.