State Opera South Australia is created


Paris Châtelet production of The Ring


El Nino


Dead Man Walking


First ever Australian-built Ring Cycle




Le Grand Macabre


Moby Dick


Philip Glass Biographical Opera Trilogy


Nixon in China




Saul (Adelaide Festival/Glyndebourne)

Our Story

State Opera South Australia aspires to be the most exciting and innovative opera company in Australia, enhancing South Australia’s reputation nationally and internationally.

Created as a Statutory Authority, under the State Opera of South Australia Act in 1976, State Opera was established to present, produce, manage and conduct theatrical and operatic performances that attract a diverse local, national and, potentially, international audience. It is a flagship arts organisation in South Australia and has made a huge contribution to the operatic arts, not just in South Australia, but at a national and international level, as well.

State Opera is renowned as a small, specialist company that presents innovative and exciting work on a grand scale. Its most notable achievements include:

  • Two complete Wagner Ring Cycles (the Paris Châtelet production in 1998 and the first ever Australian-built Ring Cycle in 2004)
  • Australian premieres of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and Moby Dick; John Adams’ Nixon in China and El Nino; Philip Glass’ biographical opera Trilogy (Akhnaten, Einstein on the beach and Satyagraha);
  • World premiere of Cloudstreet based on Tim Winton’s beloved Australian novel

State Opera also has an enviable reputation for investing in the development and presentation of new works in both full scale and workshop form, and is proud of its extraordinary operatic collaborations in association with Adelaide Festival of Arts and companies such as Glyndebourne Festival Opera, including: Flight, Le Grand Macabre, the Fiery Angel, Saul and most recently, Brett Dean’s Hamlet.

State Opera achieves its aims through its six strategic goals:

1. Artistic

To develop and deliver opera of an international artistic standard and nurture the development of leading young opera singers and practitioners in South Australia.

2. Programming

To present an innovative, challenging and unique program of traditional and specialist repertoire that extends opera as an art form, excites the imagination and is accessible to all South Australians.

3. Brand, Marketing and Communications

To expand its market profile, reach and reputation as an innovator and centre of excellence in opera.

4. Education

To build awareness, appreciation and participation in high quality opera experiences through targeted education programs and content for people of all ages.

5. Financial & Risk Management

To maintain and secure and sustainable financial position utilising effective financial and risk management practices.

6. Organisation & Culture

To reflect its values and best practice in governance and management throughout the company.