2019 Season Signals New Era For State Opera Of South Australia

The State Opera of South Australia's 2019 season boasts the most powerful and impressive program in recent times thanks to a new artistic and executive leadership for the company.

In the first program for the company by recently appointed Artistic Director Stuart Maunder AM, the 2019 season is headlined by a summer outdoor spectacular, Carmen in the Square, on March 23.

This one night only event signals a year full of imaginative firsts, a new series shining the spotlight on Australia's 'lost' operas and a rejuvenated education program to take opera out of the theatre and into the community.

State Opera Executive Director Yarmila Alfonzetti said the 2019 season truly belongs to the people.

"Stuart and I have strived to deliver on one of the simplest but most profound of arts aspirations - more opera for more people. From large scale family-friendly events such as Carmen and the magical world of Cunning Little Vixen, right through to intimate offerings in a diverse range of South Australian venues and an education program for all ages. We are very excited for what lies ahead!"

State Opera Artistic Director Stuart Maunder AM believes the season has all the ingredients to connect deeply with South Australians.

"There is nothing like the power of opera to move, to exalt, to thrill, to go straight to one's soul. The ability of opera to make people feel something more deeply and strongly within themselves is the reason we do what we do."

Opera returns to the Festival Theatre later in the year with two new productions: Puccini's sublime Madama Butterfly and a glorious contemporary romp through Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado.

State Opera is also proud to announce the first in a series of re-evaluations of some very important Australian works. The Lost Operas of Oz shines a spotlight on three fine Australian works in 2019. Martin Wesley-Smith's Boojum! - originally premiered by State Opera in 1986 - receives its second Australian performance at the Dunstan Playhouse in July and has the company's new Winter School for secondary and tertiary students running alongside. The two others will be performed in the Queen's Theatre - Christina's World by Ross Edwards and Madeleine Lee by John Haddock.

"Creating new opera is very important to State Opera, but often in the push to produce new work, many great works only receive one outing," Mr Maunder said.

"In 2019, State Opera will be leading the charge to showcase existing Australian opera. Not only are we dedicated to creating more opera, but we are reflecting on history and creating an opportunity for audiences to engage with these fantastic pieces."

State Opera's 2019 season also sees the rebirth of its education series with activities ranging from a primary schools tour of Elixir of Love, adult education programs with the renowned Graham Abbott at the Opera Studio and even the opportunity to sing in some Pop-Up Chorus weekends.

State Opera is also announcing an incredible new opportunity for opera directors through the Helpmann Academy Emerging Director's Fellowship which supports and mentors an outstanding early career director.

"Our program champions the extraordinary art form of Opera in all its forms, and presents it in beloved and surprising venues all across the city. We are proud to bring so many Australians home to sing for you and invite you to take a seat and watch extraordinary things happen," Mr Maunder said.

For more information on State Opera's 2019 season, please visit www.saopera.sa.gov.au.

Le Salon, Adelaide Festival Centre, January 11: This special Adelaide French Festival event revisits 18th century Paris, a place where social gatherings allowed people to share ideas while indulging in the best cuisine and new artistic talents.

King Arthur, Elder Hall, February 18-19: One of Europe's finest period ensembles comes to Australia for the first time with this 1691 setting of John Dryden's poetry and to Purcell's acclaimed and imaginative score.

Carmen in the Square, Victoria Square, March 23:

Opera's most famous seductress takes over Victoria Square one hot summer night in March.

Morgan Pearse, Ukaria, April 6: Australian baritone Morgan Pearse is increasingly recognised as one of the most exciting and talented baritones of his generation. He performs Schubert's Winterreise with pianist Chad Vindin.

Cunning Little Vixen, Ridley Centre - Adelaide Showground, May 18-25: The forest comes alive with a joyous, life-affirming treat for all, a perfect introduction to opera for families and first-timers.

Girls' Night Out, Adelaide Town Hall, August 9: Superstar conductor Simone Young leads the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and a stellar line-up of artists in a very special evening celebrating the music of Richard Strauss.

Ian Bostridge, Elder Hall, September 13: Nominated for 15 Grammys, tenor Ian Bostridge is renowned for his performances of Schubert, Schumman, Brahms and Britten. Bostridge sings Schumann's Dichterliebe and Liderkreis at Elder Hall.

The Mikado, Festival Theatre, November 9-23: Gilbert & Sullivan's most famous opera The Mikado bounces along as a riot of colour, comedy and cutting commentary.

Madama Butterfly, Festival Theatre, November 14-23: A timeless tale of honour, love and selfless devotion, Madama Butterfly is, quite simply, powerhouse romantic opera.

Wallis Giunta, Ukaria, December 6: Winner of the prestigious Young Singer of the Year at the 2018 International Opera Awards, Wallis Giunta is a rising star in the operatic world and will make her Australian debut at Ukaria.


Boojum!, Dunstan Playhouse, July 5-6: Not quite an opera, not quite a musical comedy, Boojum! is an irresistible contemporary snark hunt based on Lewis Carroll's legendary poem The Hunting of the Snark.

Christina's World, Queen's Theatre, August 2-3: Christina, in middle age, is obsessed by a desire to return to the house of her youth and the imagination she created there.

Madeline Lee, Queen's Theatre, October 4-5: Madeline Lee tells the story of B24 bomber Lady Be Good and her nine-man crew who disappeared without a trace over Libya, North Africa, in 1943 following their first and only combat mission.


Helpmann Academy Emerging Director's Fellowship: Announcing a new initiative by State Opera and Helpmann Academy, commencing in 2019. Each year a graduate from the Adelaide College of the Arts, University of Adelaide or Flinders University will be selected to work alongside the creative team on State Opera productions, allowing an emerging director to develop their craft alongside the leading practitioners in opera. Applications close November 30.

Adelaide Festival: The Magic Flute, March 1-3: State Opera will provide a free teacher resource kit for Barrie Kosky's The Magic Flute, school workshop programs, masterclasses and Q&As with key creators and performers.

Opera Discovery, State Opera Studio, March 2, May 4, July 27 or October 26: Led by acclaimed music educator Graham Abbott of Keys to Music fame, Opera Discovery Days are just that - an opportunity to learn about the music, the composer and the amazing artform of opera.

Pop Up Chorus, State Opera Studio, May 17-19 or October 18-20: Join conductor and educator Graham Abbott for a weekend of exploration and celebration of the Opera Chorus.

The Elixir of Love, on tour in SA, Term 2 2019: Italian composer Donizetti's The Elixir of Love is adapted into a fun, engaging schools production for primary school children.

Winter School, June 24 to July 7: Open to senior secondary and tertiary students who have a passion for singing and acting on the stage. Includes dialogue, music and acting coaching alongside the development and rehearsals of Boojum! culminating in three performances at the Dunstan Playhouse.

The Opera Effect: State Opera is proud to announce its innovative partnership program, which seeks to engage secondary school students with the opera via:

  • Discounted student tickets

  • A comprehensive study guide with links to the Australian Curriculum and SACE

  • Professional development sessions for teachers

  • Hosting teachers and students at productions in our 2019 program

  • Giving secondary students priority work experience opportunities in administration, wardrobe and stage management

  • Creating opportunities for students to achieve SACE points through their work with State Opera

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