State Opera South Australia was created by an Act of Parliament in 1976. Notable historic achievements include two complete Wagner Ring Cycles; Australian premieres of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and Moby Dick; John Adams’ Nixon in China and El Nino; Philip Glass’ Trilogy (Akhnaten, Einstein on the beach and Satyagraha); and the world premiere of Cloudstreet, based on Tim Winton’s iconic novel.

The company has collaborated with prestige partners including the Adelaide Festival of Arts and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Our Artistic Assessment Panel comprises well-respected peers from the SA arts community. In mid 2018, Artistic Director Stuart Maunder AM and Executive Director Yarmila Alfonzetti commenced at State Opera.

State Opera has a commitment to Australian works, evidenced by our new Lost Operas of Oz series. Each Lost Opera of Oz is directed, designed, conducted and performed by Australians. Recent works include Boojum! (Martin Wesley-Smith), Madeleine Lee (John Haddock) and Christina’s World (Dorothy Hewett).

Opera Australia perform operas, musicals and concerts in its home venues the Sydney Opera House and Arts Centre Melbourne and tours regularly around the country. As one of the world’s busiest opera companies, it presents more than 600 performances every year. 

Since 2009, Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini has led the company. Opera Australia regularly works with some of the world’s most prestigious houses to create co-productions of powerful, often lesser-known operas.

Australia’s national opera company was born in 1956 in celebration of Mozart’s bicentenary. Nine years later, theatrical entrepreneur JC Williamson invited the company to perform alongside Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti. In 1967, the NSW state government offered a grant towards the formation of a permanent state company. 

Richard Meale’s 1986 Voss, based on Patrick White’s novel and with libretto by David Malouf, united some of the biggest names in local arts to stage a milestone of Australian-made opera. In 2013, the company performed its first Wagner Ring Cycle, directed by Neil Armfield. Opera Australia’s musical presentations focus on some of the greatest works in the canon. In 2016, My Fair Lady directed by Dame Julie Andrews, became the biggest-selling show in Sydney Opera House history.

Lost & Found was launched in 2012 with a mission to present unusual operas in found spaces that speak to the resonance of the work. The Company produces and tours work on a scale that integrates the audience, performance and environment. It has produced bold and imaginative work to find its audience and help energise the creative sector in Perth with an array of successful sold-out seasons garnering critical acclaim. 

Lost & Found collaborates with artists from a range of disciplines to produce work that extends the boundaries of operatic form. Notable productions include Ned Kelly with libretto by Peter Goldsworthy and music by Luke Styles. Artistic Director Christopher van Tuinen is currently the Music Director of WA Opera.

Louis Garrick and Jack Symonds established SCO in 2010 and it has rapidly developed into an important and distinctive voice in the Australian music and theatre landscapes.

SCO is critically acclaimed for its innovative programming, musical rigour and strong focus on compelling theatre-making. SCO makes opera with a 21st-century outlook that resonates with a new, younger audience and shows how vibrant and relevant the artform can be.

Each year it stages two to three productions of 20th and 21st-century repertoire. Its program is a balance of specially commissioned work by leading homegrown composers, the latest international operas in their Australian premieres, song cycles and cantatas in unusual stagings, and reinvigorated canonical repertoire. In 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera collaborated with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music to present a full-scale production of four works by emerging women composers. Other notable productions include Oscar and Lucinda, based on the Peter Carey novel, a co-commission with Opera Queensland in 2019.