Susan and Isaac Wakil’s $1.5 donation will subsidise ticket prices over the next five years.

Prolific arts philanthropists Susan and Isaac Wakil are ardent lovers of opera, and now thanks to a generous donation to Opera Australia they are hoping to share that love with others. A donation of $1.5 million to Opera Australia will subsidise tickets prices for tne next five years. Administered through OA’s access programmes, the new initiative will allow new opera goers and people who are financially disadvantaged to access tickets for as little as $20. Opera Australia also intends to work with its charity partners to raise awareness of this program amongst disadvantaged groups.

The Wakil’s donation will allow newcomers to purchase the best available regular season tickets, typically between $150 to $299 for Stall or Circle Reserves at the Sydney Opera House and Arts Centre Melbourne through a ballot system, from August 2015. One of the principal barriers to attracting new audiences to opera is the prohibitive expense of tickets, with seats at the Sydney Opera House and Arts Centre Melbourne are some of the most expensive operatic tickets in Australia. Patrons can access premium tickets at the West Australian Opera, Opera Queensland and State Opera SA from $130 to $180 whereas they would have to pay $299 in Sydney and Melbourne to obtain the comparable seating.

“Susan and I have experienced the joy of opera and have had countless memorable evenings at the Sydney Opera House,” said Isaac Wakil. “We were, therefore, delighted when Craig Hassal [Opera Australia CEO] approached us to support a new access program which will make it easier for people to experience a night at the opera for the first time.”

This isn’t the first time Susan and Isaac Wakil have generously contributed to an organisation to encourage greater access to the arts. Through their charitable organisation, The Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation, they sponsored Graeme Murphy’s acclaimed opera and audience favourite, Turandot, currently showing at the Sydney Opera House, to highlight the importance of utilising popular productions to introduce new audiences to opera.

“We are absolutely thrilled by the significant contribution Susan and Isaac Wakil have made to the life of Opera Australia over many decades. They have made a substantial donation to help Opera Australia develop a new audience,” said Craig Hassall. “ This gives us great encouragement to develop the program. The donation allows us to fulfil one of our greatest ambitions– enabling audience members to sample opera for the first time.” 

To enter the ballot for subsidised tickets, apply at the Opera Australia website