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"Figure out who you are and do it on purpose."
- Dolly Parton

15 YEARS!

ACOCO, in the words of others:

TESTIMONIAL: DR PETER CORRIGAN AM (1941-2016)

THE AUSTRALIAN-INTERNATIONAL
THEATRE DESIGNER/ARCHITECT

"The body of work outlined...represents an exceptional work ethic, organisational capacity and vision.

But more importantly, and I have seen enough of [Linda Thompson's] work to form this opinion, this work reflects a consistent taste that is both distinguished and individual. In the face of remarkably limited resources, enterprising standards and an elegance has been achieved. 

The work has had a life and vivacity that sets it apart from those numerous small opera companies throughout Australia...in addition, it exhibits a significant additional frame of reference.

​I have no hesitation in proposing that Linda Thompson could achieve a significant national benchmark by becoming the first Australian female Artistic Director of the Opera Australia company. All evidence suggests that she possesses the right sort of ambition, and both the patience and energy required.  And importantly, she offers leadership."

~ PETER CORRIGAN AM (dec)

 

Peter Corrigan's last design was CURLEW RIVER in 2016, dir. by LINDA THOMPSON. Prior to that, in 2014, he designed THE CONSUL for ACOCO. Peter was an internationally renowned architect, theatre designer and academic. Throughout his career, he has exerted considerable influence on architectural practice and education in Australia and has been widely recognised for his work, being described as “the engine of postmodern architectural change in Australian architecture. He orked extensively in stage and set design on over 100 productions for organisations including Opera Australia, Melbourne Theatre Company, Victorian Opera, La Mama, Gilgul Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare Company, Komische Oper (Berlin), Graz Oper (Austria) and ACOCO.

TESTIMONIAL: SIMON LEWIS, BSc, MA (Oxford), MBA

THE STRATEGIC EXPERT

“ACOCO has the leadership, skills, expertise, reputation and networks…as well as prior experience staging festivals in Australia, and their first international performance in the USA in December 2019…

 

Supporting ACOCO…will see this commitment leveraged many times…and the joy and delight of a growing audience keen to engage.”

- Simon Lewis, Good Wolf Partners

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TESTIMONIAL: DR PETER ELLYARD BSc. MSc., Ph.D

THE FUTURIST, STRATEGIST, AUTHOR

ACOCO has had the vision and courage to present opera in new 21st century ways - to young audiences in particular. To have raised the funding to support more than a decade of quality work is astounding.

 

I am pleased to be collaborating on ACOCO’s big vision: to found in Victoria a 21st century relevant Asia-Pacific version of a European summer opera/song/music festival, a 21st century Asia-Pacific Salzburg or Aix-en-Provence. It will bring the best of the talent and new creative voices to Victoria, Australia - and we will keep collaborating to realise this aspiration until it becomes a reality. 

ACOCO is not only creating the new artistic vehicles and events to realise their asprirations. They are also developing a new generation of brilliant young artists - composers - singers - musicians to fill stages. 

ACOCo’s artistic leader, Linda Thompson is an exemplar Utopian Realist. Utopian Realism is a concept developed by British  sociologist Anthony Giddens: imagining utopian ends and implementing realistic means to realise these ends. I am full of admiration for her and ACOCO’s work, and... I cannot think of a company in Australia today more deserving of government support. 
 

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TESTIMONIAL: STEPHEN ROBINSON, PRINCIPAL OBOE

THE MUSICIAN

While working with Opera Australia and Victorian Opera as Principal Oboe of Orchestra Victoria for many years I had little awareness of valuable the work being done to promote and develop the art form by companies such as ACOCO.  


In the last few years, since participating in wonderful ACOCO projects such as Book of Longing Glass/Cohen and the immersive, marathon production of ENDURE...I have come to admire and respect the professionalism, dedication, and innovative flair of the artistic team behind these exciting projects. The audience reaction has always been one of pleasure mixed with surprise at the power and relevance of contemporary opera delivered in a more intimate setting. This doesn’t happen without the presence of uncompromising artistic standards throughout the company. 
ACOCo is able to provide appropriately remunerated work for conductors, musicians, and singers by developing new works as well as innovative approaches to established works. It deserves every help in taking its Festival vision further

- STEPHEN ROBINSON

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TESTIMONIAL: EMILY BURKE, SOPRANO, COMEDIAN, ARTS ADMINISTRATOR

THE STAFF ARTIST

I'm sure at one stage I imagined an opera singer's life of champagne galas, heddy opera sets and frock and diamonds - there's been some of that of course, but the diamonds aren't always where you might imagine. One such diamond for me has been my involvement with ACOCO. Linda Thompson and ACOCO are constantly working to create opportunities for people like me to do what I love and people like you to experience our great art form ways that are accessible and awe-inspiring.

 

Some operas can be overwhelming, and LONG, with complicated story lines; believe me, I've been as confused as the best of us - but Linda seeks to clarify and dismantle some of those concepts for audiences. ACOCO is trying constantly to make opera relevant yet still authentic and founded in great singing - AND provides a great environment for many singers to be a part of the machine, which is essential if you wish to have any kind of performing career.

 

Linda's vision and ambition for ACOCO deserves a tsunami of support. She brave, she is sophisticated in her thinking, and best of all for us, she is a singers director. She understands what singers need to give their best and in my case has encouraged me into roles I would never have thought possible and made them not only possible, but thrilling. ~ Emily Burke

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TESTIMONIALS: PROF. CHARLES QIN OAM + OTHERS

THE SUPPORTER / CHAMPION

"ACOCO has changed lives! Young people, people who have never been to opera, are saying ‘Wow; that was amazing! I want to go back.’ And that's not just about next year...it's about influencing people for decades to come.” •

- SubCommittee Member

As a former director of ACOCO’s board, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some very talented artists, performers and a great team of people who are committed to promoting the arts and contemporary opera in particular.

 

ACOCO is already playing a very important role in multicultural Australia. Its performances and Festival are well attended by people of many backgrounds and from many regions, some from overseas. Its artists and management have been working tirelessly in promoting Australian arts in ethnic communities in Australia. Through the festival, we can extend opera's reach and build a bridge to attendance and exposure to the art form for Chinese-Australians, as well as attract audiences and artists from China and vice-versa. ACOCO Festival will become an integral part of Australia’s fabric by making opera accessible, especially to multicultural communities.  I am confident in the Festival becoming an iconic event in the Australian arts landscape in the future.  - Professor Charles Qin OAM

TESTIMONIAL: MAUREEN WHEELER AO

THE PHILANTHROPIST / LEADER
 

Linda’s vision...is both exciting and bold in the scope of its imagining.  Having weathered the fiasco that was the pandemic, with its drastic effect on the arts, ACOCO has risen, Phoenix-like, undaunted and renamed the Australian Contemporary Opera Company.  The indefatigable Linda and her supporters have returned to the task of making great opera accessible to anyone who loves music, their success...has shown that opera is not confined to the theatre nor is it exclusively enjoyed by the wealthy and retired.

Opera Festivals are one of the great joys of the European summer and one of the main reasons I, and thousands of other Australians, flock to Britain, Germany, Italy, France, and beyond, is to cram in as many operas as we possibly can.  

 

The Mornington Peninsula can easily match anywhere in Europe for scenery and wealth of experiences; an opera festival is the icing on the cake, an event that is uniquely suited to this place and enhances its uniqueness.

To have an opera festival in one of the most iconic and beautiful parts of Australia is a dream we can all share and help become a reality.

~ MAUREEN WHEELER AO

Maureen Wheeler has been a supporter of ACOCO since 2018. Former Chair of the Melbourne Festival, Maureen Wheeler and her husband Tony are the founders of publishing company,  Lonely Planet.  In 2014 Maureen Wheeler was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to business and commerce as a publisher of travel guides, and as a benefactor to Australian arts and aid organisations.

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TESTIMONIAL: STEPHANIE EXTON, CEO, MPFOUNDATION

THE PHILANTHROPIC FOUNDATION PARTNER

“This is an outstanding organisation dedicated to the highest quality performance as evidenced in their many productions since 2008.

 

Under the exceptional artistry and leadership of Linda Thompson…this company has raised contemporary opera to new heights in this state and the country more broadly…pushed audiences out of their comfort zones and used opera…to comment on society, challenge injustices and open the door for change”

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TESTIMONIAL: GALE EDWARDS, AM

THE AUSTRALIAN - INTERNATIONAL AWARD-WINNING ARTIST

It has been a wonderful experience directing for ACOCO.

 

Linda Thompson once played First Lady in my Magic Flute in 1991 for Victoria State Opera, when she invited me nearly 30 years later to support her remarkable efforts to establish an ‘alternative’ Opera Festival, I jumped at the chance.

 

Linda’s vision for her company is innovative and infectious. She is sowing the seeds for a Glyndebourne-style Festival in years to come. (Perhaps someone will build her a theatre one day to accommodate such courageous and determined dedication to the art form she loves).

 

The Enchanted Pig is a modern opera that has enjoyed incredible success both in London and on Broadway...the story of an insane Emperor and a woman who uses the currency and sexuality of her ‘beauty’ to manipulate her way to the very top, is not only timeless, but unnervingly relevant. Brava to Linda Thompson and ACOCO.

~ Gale Edwards AM

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TESTIMONIAL: LUKE LEONARD

THE INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATOR 

"Linda Thompson is a Rock-Star. If you know her, you'll know why"

I am writing to express my sincere enthusiasm about our upcoming project titled Don Jeffrey.

This partnership represents a significant milestone for us, our fourth collaboration since first meeting in 2015, and I am honoured to serve as co-director.

As we move forward, Monk Parrots is prepared to work diligently with you and your Australian creatives and artists, to ensure a successful US premiere of Don Jeffrey in the 2026 season, which we plan to present at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in New York City. 

I confirm it is Monk Parrot’s intention to cover my development and directing fee, travel and accommodation expenses (est. USD35000), and acknowledge ACOCO will engage an Australian composer to craft an avant-garde musical score.

We are looking forward to a fruitful collaboration and a US premiere. - LUKE LEONARD, AD MONK PARROTS NYC

 

TESTIMONIALS: MANY, MANY 1000S

THE AUDIENCE 

"Let them know how much my 15yo granddaughter and I enjoyed the show. I wasn’t sure she would like contemporary opera but she was enthralled..” 

"Bravo team, an exceptional day for all the family"

“exceptional voices and their presentation was first rate."

 

"I have had great feedback from my staff and already received several emails from clients saying how much they enjoyed the show.” Corporate Partner

 

 “it was fantastic! Very entertaining ...a great opportunity to for a first timer such as myself to experience Opera.

 

“wonderful…out of this world...a superb show”

 

“even my non opera friends enjoyed it all. They want to be invited to anything you do in the future”

 

“What a show! No words to describe how moving and exciting it was”

 

“EXTREME compliments …what a piece, what a delight, what a great team, what great direction, and what great costumes, and what a great orchestra etc” 

 

“I didn’t know what to expect, and so Congratulations! I was taken by the wit and directional detail...and thought it a particularly intelligent interpretation”

 

“It was fantastic to see creative energy and skill at its best. The ensemble work was extremely well directed and the musical accompaniment was brilliant’

 

“I am on a ‘high’. It exceeded all my expectations. The artists were excellent, the atmosphere was amazing.” 

 

“Best experience!” “

What a wonderful experience”

“Congratulations on a gorgeous and magical show!”

“It does sound as great as it looks. Well done to the whole cast, crew and creatives.”

“Loved it! Fantastic show! Nothing like I expected.”

“Inspired after last night's ACOCO production…Congratulations cast, orchestra and crew on inspiring my son!”

“I’ve seen the show twice what an amazing cast! .....The costumes were spectacular.”

“A highly theatrical production…. music preparation is first rate…an admirable achievement from a company whose future works are sure to be followed with great interest.” 

“Fine singing, intelligent direction…compelling"

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ADVANCING ARTS AND CULTURE
ACOCO CHARITABLE PURPOSE IN ACTION:

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TENOR

LEO WILLIAMS

ACOCO Festival Young Artist 2019

Current:

Resident Young Artist, Detroit Opera

Guest Artist, Opera Festival Prague

"Everyday that I am visible in this career, I get to show some young person (who looks like ME), that their dreams, talents, hard work, heartaches and sacrifices can all be worth it!

 

As artists, it is in ways which seem so small to us, (just existing in excellence/being visible), that we permit others to achieve wildly and fancifully into a future beyond our own dreams!

 

The opportunities, the work, the dream is all possible because of each of you sharing part in support and belief in me"

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