Australia loses its opera chief

Australia loses its opera chief


norman lebrecht

February 17, 2021

The chief executive of Opera Australia, Rory Jeffes, is stepping down after just four years.

All he is telling staff is that it is ‘very much a personal decision’, adding that it concerns ‘both family reasons and shifting priorities’.

The company has been unhappy of late over pandemic restrictions and job losses. Its artistic director, Lyndon Terracini, has just two years left on his watch.

Jeffes, who is British, sent ten years beforehand as head of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. No-one saw this coming.

Read on here.



  • RW2013 says:

    For a second I thought that we’d seen the end of the Reign of Terrorcini.

  • Genius Repairman says:

    Perhaps he realized that
    Opera, like, ain’t his bag, man and now he’s heavily into Comic Rock.

  • Marjie says:

    One down, one more to go.

  • Eleganzata says:

    The only real question is:

    Is this a genuine “want to spend time with the family” move; or is this a “step down at an appropriate time a month before the company releases details of a financial disaster” move?

    Surely Opera Australia is losing money at an astonishing rate? They have been off the stage since March last year, they have a huge number of people on salary, and they have had no support at all from government beyond the salary-subsidising JobKeeper, which was recently reduced and now about to wind down entirely.

    Yet they still have no international audience to sell to, still have a vastly reduced interstate audience, and although they are allowed to sell 50 – 75% houses, they are surely far, far from that target, given that audiences have been pretty reticent…

    They must be losing money at a rate unimaginable even for an opera company. A company like OA should have had government intervention from day one, and I suspect if it doesn’t have some soon, it might actually be curtains for OA, and that would be incredibly sad.

    The amount of money and planning that goes into planning something like their regular Melbourne tour, or their outdoor spectacular HOSH, is extraordinary. In a normal year, it is remarkably financially successful. Last year and this year…. it is just flushing money down the drain, with restrictions, lockdowns, nobody travelling….

    I just fear there is incredibly bad news ahead for OA. Someone needs to throw them a lifeline, surely.

    • MWnyc says:

      I would guess that, for whatever reason, he wants to get back to Britain — soon, not in a couple of years. And he’s right that whichever CEO oversees the hiring of Terracini’s successor should be a CEO who’s going to stay and work with said successor, so if he’s planning to leave, now is better for the company.