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New report finds that domestic visitors rate it Australia's most creative city, but international visitors put Sydney on top.
The latest grants from Victoria's regional arts package support local groups and tours by flagship organisations.
My Fair Lady, The Book of Mormon, Barrie Kosky's Saul and Leah Purcell's The Drover's Wife lead the charge.
Jonathan Holloway has announced his first festival highlight: a "miraculous" collision of ballet, visual art and electro-pop.
Violinist Dene Olding, conductor Nicolette Fraillon and harpist Alice Giles are among other arts figures honoured.
The 33-year-old wins $50,000 and mentorship at The Australian Ballet, Opera Australia and the Sydney Symphony.
Despite a drop in paid attendances, the healthy surplus is due largely to donations, endowments and investments.
Soprano Deborah Cheetham, ELISION and the Australian Art Orchestra are among those receiving VicArts grants.
Ella Havelka, a Corps de Ballet dancer, has been recognised for her contribution to Arts and Culture.
Sydney Chamber Opera and Legs on the Wall are among the big winners in the latest funding round.