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A Wizard experiment in Oz

0 Robert Levine

An orchestra in Australia is doing some interesting things in terms of trying to sell tickets: apparently they don’t:

[Orchestra Victoria’s] evolution has made it unique in Australia. It was established as a theatre orchestra by the Elizabethan Trust in 1969 but while its Sydney counterpart, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, spends all its time in the Opera House pit, the OV also presents free concerts to rural and regional Victorians, and a free metropolitan program too.

”Our attendances prove that people are keen to hear orchestral music if you take price out of the equation,” Chalabi says.

The scheme of free concerts supported by charities and philanthropic bodies was introduced in 2002. But the economic downturn has forced some changes to its program.

OV managing director Elizabeth Tupper says the crisis has reduced the returns on investments by trusts and charities that the orchestra relies on for its free program.

”We have to consider our future steps to stay ahead of the game,” she says. ”But it will be an evolution of what we currently do, rather than a revolution.”

Government support is vital because the musicians have no time to launch a concert season away from their support of Opera Australia, the Victorian Opera and the Australian Ballet.

”I want to raise the orchestra’s profile and rebrand our image,” she says. ”The orchestra is a hidden jewel in the state and we need a higher awareness to increase support”…

She acknowledges the impact of the financial crisis but seeks to increase the number of musicians slightly, and strengthen regional connections through digital broadcasts, perhaps with smaller groups on tour.

”There is a wonderful feeling of a real social occasion when we go to places like Bendigo and Shepparton and beyond.”

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