• Short Black
    Opera Company

  • Short Black
    Opera Company



Short Black Opera Company is Australia’s National Indigenous Opera Company, providing training and performance opportunities for Indigenous singers in classical vocal music and opera.

The company is based in Melbourne, Victoria and was established in January 2010 by Soprano/Composer/Yorta Yorta Woman, Deborah Cheetham AO.

Our Vision:

  • To increase Indigenous representation in the world of opera by creating a clearly defined pathway
  • To develop new opera audiences by presenting Indigenous stories,making opera accessible and relevant to a broader Australian audience

Our aims:

  • To continue to find new Indigenous talent throughout Australia 
  • To offer intensive training to interested and talented Indigenous singers
  • To present performances of Deborah Cheetham’s opera Pecan Summer, and other large scale works, throughout Australia and overseas
  • To continue to shine a light on Indigenous excellence and achievement
  • To present Indigenous culture through the medium of opera
  • Audience development: by presenting works which have resonance and meaning for Indigenous Australians we are developing a new audience for opera in Australia.


Short Black Opera Company continues to produce high quality performance outcomes for Indigenous adults and children, building on successful seasons of Deborah Cheetham’s opera Pecan Summerin Mooroopna, Victoria (2010); the Arts Centre, Melbourne (2011); the State Theatre Centre of WA (2012) and most recently at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide (2014).

Development Programs

As a result of SBO’s Intensive Development Programs our artists are gaining entry to Australia’s peak Arts Colleges, Conservatoriums and Universities with a 100% completion rate to date. Additionally several of our developing artists have now been engaged by major arts organizations in Australia.

Children’s Programs

SBO programs begin with Short Black Opera for KIDS! a regional primary school choral development program. Dhungala Choral Connection (10 - 17 years) is our annual choral camp, which brings together Indigenous children from around the country to share language and songs whilst extending skills and expertise in performance. Short Black Opera is a not-for-profit company