In 2001 Matthew Dalco set out to conquer China, musically speaking, anyway. As a representative of Cameron Mackintosh in England he went to start negotiations with the Ministry of Culture for a partnership to produce musicals in the country.
Discussions and decision changing are still going on. It was one of the few non-successes in Dalco's life and career in the theatre.
Dalco worked with companies in Australia and London and helped produce many of the world's most popular modern musicals, including Oliver!, My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins, Phantom Of The Opera, Miss Saigon and Rent.
He loved musical theatre, was respected by, and gave respect to, everyone he worked with, and shared his knowledge unstintingly. His integrity and calmness were appreciated; if pressed, he would often say: "What's the worst that could happen? I could get to go home."
In 1984 Dalco started a two-year cadetship at the Opera. He spent six months as a machinist, six months as a stagehand, six months in corporate affairs and some time looking after Dame Joan Sutherland. Here he developed his love of opera and musical theatre.
As he finished his cadetship Dalco was poached to work for the Sydney Festival. Taken to see Les Miserables in London, he fell in love with the show and was determined to work on the Australian production. On his return to Sydney he asked Cameron Mackintosh Australia for a job.
Offered the position of production co-ordinator in 1987, he prepared for the opening of Les Miserables in Melbourne in November and for the moving of Cats to Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne. His work involved marketing and the general financial affairs of Cameron Mackintosh Australia.
Cameron Mackintosh's next musical in Australia was The Phantom Of The Opera, which opened in 1990 at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne and created Australian box office records. It ran in Australia and New Zealand for nearly eight years.
Following the success of Phantom, Dalco moved back to Sydney, where the chief executive officer of a ticketing company told him the booking fee was set, with no negotiations possible. Dalco was outraged. His company established the Cameron Macintosh Box Office and Phone Room, and Phantom played at the Theatre Royal for three years and four months without an external company.
In 1990 Dalco married Philippa (Pippa) Evans and in 1991 he was appointed the general manager of Cameron Mackintosh Australia. In 1999 he moved to Paul Dainty as the managing director of an entertainment venture being set up with Kerry Packer. The following year he was lured back as joint managing director of Cameron Mackintosh worldwide, based in London.
Dalco was involved there in the negotiations with the Disney Corporation to produce the stage version of Mary Poppins, which opened in London in 2004. He also helped to stage a performance of Phantom at Windsor Castle to celebrate the centenary of the Entente Cordiale between Britain and France. Away from work, he kept wickets for the Follies Farm Old Spots Cricket Club in Chiddingfold, Surrey.