State Opera South Australia established


Nixon in China


The Ring Cycle (Paris Chatalet production)


El Nino


Saul (Adelaide Festival/Glyndebourne)


Dead Man Walking


Hamlet (Adelaide Festival/Glyndebourne)


Philip Glass Trilogy




Carmen in the Square


Lost Operas of Oz


The Barber of Seville


Bohème on the Beach


Gilbert & Sullivan Festival

About State Opera

State Opera South Australia is the opera company of South Australia. Established in 1976 by an Act of Parliament (the State Opera of South Australia Act), State Opera forms part of the extraordinary cultural legacy of Premier Don Dunstan in South Australia. 

Under the Artistic Directorship of Stuart Maunder AM, State Opera has upheld its commitment to more opera for more people through the presentation of exceptional productions of the operatic canon alongside engaging productions of contemporary operatic works, all the while championing Australian talent on and off the stage.  

In 2023, the company will present the Southern hemisphere’s first ever Gilbert & Sullivan Festival, taking over central Adelaide for 10 days in May.

A new era 

2023 sees Mark Taylor, Executive Director, and Ashley Miller, Chair of the Board, settle into their new roles alongside Artistic Director, Dane Lam, bringing new energy and fresh ideas. 

Major outdoor operatic events
Taking over iconic destinations has become a trademark of State Opera’s more opera mission and includes Carmen in the Square (Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga 2019), Carmina Burana (Memorial Drive, 2020 – COVID-19 cancelled) and Bohème on the Beach (Glenelg Beach, 2022)

Operas of Oz  

An enduring legacy of Maunder’s artistic leadership is the company’s exploration and support of Australian opera. His Lost Operas of Oz initiative continued the work commenced in 2019 with a national tour of Love Burns, and the first staging of great Australian opera Voss since its last appearance at the Adelaide Festival of Arts in 1986. Met with critical and popular acclaim, the initiative has evolved to encompass the protection and presentation of Australian operas and the formation of the Australian Opera Digital Library – the nation’s first digital education resource dedicated to Australia opera. 

Championing Australian Talent 

From creation to ovation, an opera company is nothing without its talent. State Opera has made a firm commitment to champion Australian talent on and off the stage, ensuring that we support the education, development, creative and performance opportunities that our talented people and audiences deserve. 

Our Patrons

Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, Governor of South Australia, and Mr Rod Bunten

A company of firsts

State Opera is honoured to have brought extraordinary operatic experiences to South Australian audiences for over forty years and has a proud history of “firsts” including, Australia’s first production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle (1998) and the first Australian-built Ring Cycle in 2004; the Australian premieres of numerous renowned contemporary operas including Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and Moby Dick; John Adams’ Nixon in China and El Nino; and Philip Glass’ biographical opera TrilogyAkhnaten, Einstein on the beach and Satyagraha. 

Audacious Collaborations

Its collaborations and co-productions with Adelaide Festival of Arts and companies such as Glyndebourne Festival Opera have brought remarkable operas to South Australian stages including Flight, Le Grand Macabre, The Fiery Angel, Sauland Brett Dean’s Hamlet 

In 2022, State Opera is proud to have brought an important moment in history to the stage through its co-commissioning of Watershed: The Death of Dr Duncan with Adelaide Festival and Feast Festival.  

State Opera has a solid track record in the development and presentation of new works in both full scale and workshop form including Cloudstreet– based on Tim Winton’s iconic Australian novel (World Premiere 2016) and is currently developing iconic Australian play When the Rain Stops Falling into an opera with Brink Productions.