Which company will get the funding, to be disbursed over four years, is still unknown. Candidates include OzOpera (the touring company of the Sydney-based Opera Australia), VicOpera (formed from the merger last December of Melbourne Opera and Melbourne City Opera), and Operalive.
The money will support seasons for the Victoria company, plus touring productions.
The funding boost from the government is meant to address the lack of a state opera company, and the concomitant dearth, as described by a report commissioned last year by the government, of opportunities for local artists, designers, and musicians.
Victoria State Opera was absorbed by Opera Australia in 1996; since then, OzOpera has staged regular performances in Melbourne, but those performances has not satisfied those who think that opera funding should go to a local artists and producers.
A committee made up of artists and administrators and chaired by composer Jonathan Mills is considering applications from local opera companies.
According to Mary Delahunty, the committee is looking for "a daring company that can think laterally and be an international leader in developing the art form."