What we're about:
ACOCo exists to create, connect, inspire and create new experiences with opera that make a difference to both audience and artists.
AOCCo deliberately strives to make our company and our productions reflect the diversity of our culture.
ACOCo believes opera is a living art form able to connect to people from all parts of our society.
Since 2009, collaboration with artists and partners, including multi-media and digital, has delivered award-winning, exceptional festival, regional and mainstream projects.
Our productions are performed in English.
ACOCo is driven to:
1. Harness the power of arts and cultural tourism to connect and enrich lives
Reach audiences through compelling performances, new works, a pipeline of local talent and meaningful cultural experiences, including festival and regional activities.
2. Embrace our multiculturalism through a synthesis of dramatic vocal, musical and theatrical arts
Tell stories of us and of others, nature home-grown talent, provide a platform for international talent, enrich Australian identity and community.
3. Expand social impact through innovation and accessibility
Strategic expansion of production techniques, including digital innovation. Increase capacity for participation and further enhance our international reputation.
4. Identify and develop Australian content, stories and talent
Develop new work, secure a future for new generations of artists and audience. Act as a critical bridge for artists to connect to the world through Australian story-telling which incorporates the voice and song of our First Nations people.
How we've evolved:
ACOCo was founded in 2008 as The Opera Studio Melbourne, as a pathway for young artists to gain professional experience in a safe learning environment, and to help bridge the gap between university and entering into a professional career. In 2013, we presenting our public-facing projects as Gertrude Opera, and consistently attracted awards, attention and reputation for the quality, boldness and imagination of our productions, featuring established international and emerging artists, musicians and creative teams.
Over the last 12 years, ACOCo has evolved to facilitate many Australian firsts in opera – including our opera festival which grew to become a 10-day festival in the Yarra Valley – and most recently in 2020, the world first online-only opera festival – in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, to critical acclaim and a Green Room Award. We have, however, always kept the development of young artists at the core of business.
For more than a decade, ACOCo has focused on supporting young and emerging artists in the field of opera, and gathering audiences; particularly, those who had not had the opportunity to attend and/or enjoy opera. ACOCo has supported over 160 artists in finessing their craft and become world-class performers - nurturing and developing young Australian artists who then travel and perform in some of the most prestigious opera houses across the world. Some of our most successful alumni include Stacey Alleaume (Opera Australia), Hadleigh Adams (San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera), Greg Eldridge (Royal Opera, Covent Garden), Jessica Harper (Glyndebourne Festival Opera), Darcy Carroll (Wiesbaden Staatsteater), Na’ama Goldman (Israeli Opera), Sophie Yelland (Welsh National Opera), Li Yang (Hong Kong Opera). Three of our former Young Artists are singing principal roles with Opera Australia's seasons of West Side Story and Phantom of the Opera. (Blake Bowden, Raphael Wong, Nigel Huckle).
In its 12-year history ACOCo has produced and performed over 20 works – many new works by Australian composers. We are a professional, not-for-profit company specialising in the production of contemporary and festival opera, driven by attracting new and existing audiences for dynamic performances.
Our work involves compelling story-telling for our times - embracing multi-culturalism through a synthesis of dramatic vocal, musical and theatrical arts.
“opera...moved beyond that slightly scary, seemingly inaccessible, highbrow art - form and into the modern cultural lexicon…pretty cool…”
- Rachel Cormack, Concrete Playground October 2018