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2009 Corporate Media Release - Annual Report

Issued Friday 28th November 2009

Sydney Opera House 08/09 Annual Report reveals a year of major achievements in a difficult financial climate

Following its tabling in NSW Parliament, Sydney Opera House today released its 08/09 Annual Report. Commenting on the past year, Sydney Opera House Trust Chair, Kim Williams noted, "Despite the challenging economic environment, this magnificent enterprise remains in good artistic and commercial health across the business, contributing an operating cash flow of $0.8m and operating revenues grew by $4.1m - an increase of 5%."

The Sydney Opera House 08/09 financial year will be remembered with great sadness following the death of visionary architect Jørn Utzon in November last year. The State Memorial held in his honour in the Concert Hall in March was a fitting tribute to the man who gave Sydney its defining emblem and provided a showcase of the musicians, singers, dancers, actors and speakers who have graced the Opera House stages over the years.

Richard Evans, Sydney Opera House CEO, said today, “Apart from the passing of Jørn Utzon, the last financial year will also be remembered as the year of the Global Financial Crisis, the effects of which are still being felt. Although the effects of the GFC were noticeable, Sydney Opera House managed to meet the great majority of our 08/09 business objectives.”

Maintaining its position as one of the world’s busiest performing arts centres, Sydney Opera House presented 1,677 performances to more than 1.2 million people. Attendance at Sydney Opera House’s own performance programs grew by 11% and represented 44% of all performances. The strongest growth was recorded in the Young Audience Program, through House:Ed and Kids at the House, which grew by 32% with 71,129 people attending 300 performances.

The resident companies – The Australian Ballet, Opera Australia, the Sydney Symphony and Sydney Theatre Company – represented 51% of total audiences and 33% of all performances.

Although the number of guided tours decreased slightly, the new foreign language tours grew considerably. Perhaps reflecting the global environment, the domestic tourist market grew by 25%.

Work continued throughout the last financial year on the Accessibility and Western Foyers Project. Successfully completed and officially unveiled this month, the Project represents the biggest building and construction project since the re-engagement with Jørn Utzon in 1999. Funded by the NSW Government, the $38 million project was completed on budget and on time.

Sony Australia signed a multi-year deal with Sydney Opera House to become a Major Partner and the exclusive entertainment technology partner. This significant partnership will transform and modernise Sydney Opera House public spaces with new technology including digital content delivery, creating a more vibrant and interactive experience for the 7.4 million visitors to the Bennelong precinct each year.

For the first time, Sydney Opera House appointed an Energy and Sustainability Manager to oversee and implement a suite of measures to guide the environmental future of the Sydney Opera House business and site. A new range of safety programs and systems were implemented and Sydney Opera House began a process of benchmarking with other performing arts centres here and around the world.

In summing up the last financial year, Richard Evans added, “I would like to acknowledge the invaluable support of the NSW Government, our major partners NAB and Sony and all our partners, corporate sponsors and donors who, through their generosity, allow us to bring more events to the community. I would also like to express my appreciation to HP for 21 years of support until 2009. Finally, thank you to staff and management for their energy and hard work in making this yet another memorable year for Sydney Opera House.”

Sydney Opera House Performance and Event highlights included:

Luminous – Curated by Brian Eno, Luminous was part of Events NSW’s Vivid Sydney in May/June. Eno’s design for the lighting of the Sydney Opera House sails was seen around the world while more than 40,000 people attended Luminous events and performances - 60% of them visiting Sydney Opera House for the first time.

The Famous Spiegeltent – over four weeks in September/October last year, a season of cabaret, music and comedy was presented in this iconic venue on the Forecourt.

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra – continuing the tradition of presenting world orchestras, the Israel Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta presented three sell-out concerts in October last year.

Le Grand Cirque – the popular family show returned to the Concert Hall in January selling more than 40,000 tickets.

A Disappearing Number – Sydney Opera House moved offsite for the first time in co-presenting with Sydney Theatre Company, Complicite’s homage to mathematics.

World Youth Day – along with other parts of the city, Sydney Opera House was an integral contributor to the biggest event in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics.

Other renowned artists, ensembles and speakers presented by Sydney Opera House included Juliette Binoche, Akram Khan, David Wenham, Sylvie Guillem, Patti Smith, Philip Glass, Alan Cummings, Rolf Harris, Alain de Botton, Patrick Dodson, Charlie Haden Quartet, Kronos Quartet, Joe Lovano and John Schofield Quartet, Julia Zemiro, Battles, Ladytron, David Hobson, Yvonne Kenny, Angelique Kidjo and Zakir Hussein.



Vanessa Duscio  
Sydney Opera House 
(02) 9250 7678 / 0409 977 312 



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