The society supports opera and ballet arts to give everyone an opportunity to enjoy live performances. For the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, 2021, the second year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, ended on a positive note. Audiences were quick to return after performances and other events resumed in August. During periods of lockdown, the FNOBs focus was on delivering continued access to opera and ballet performances via the Stage24 streaming service.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in line with legal requirements, all FNOB shows, free public events and children’s activities were halted for extended periods of time from the start of the year until the end of the spring season. The autumn season launched on 20 August although some restrictions were still in place. From the start of October until the end of December, all visitors were required to display a Covid pass to gain access to events, and on 28 December all live performances were halted. This led to the cancellation of four sold-out performances.
The Finnish National Opera and Ballet’s annual operating costs for core activities rose to EUR 66 million in 2021. This represents a 3% year-on-year increase (63.8/2020). Net operating costs, excluding central government rent subsidy, were EUR 54.9 million (52.1/2020). A total of 55.9% (61.7/2020) of operating costs were covered by central government grant funding.
Due to strong autumn season ticket sales and COVID-19 restrictions and grants, self-financing ratio rose to 15% (10.3/2020, 21.3/2019) in 2021. The municipalities in the Greater Helsinki Area (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen) provided further grant funding amounting to 7.8% of the total budget, calculated on a pro rata basis using visitor numbers from each municipality. Central government funding covered 16.2% of the rent payable on the Opera House building, which is owned by Senaatti Properties. Central government funding further amounted to 1.3% of the total Ballet School running costs.
As creating a performance requires dozens of pairs of hands, personnel costs account for 80% of the total operating cost. The Finnish National Opera and Ballet has nearly 300 000 visitors per year.