The State Opera South Australia exists to provide a broad, deep, and relevant cultural service to residents of South Australia and beyond, and to advance the development of the art form of opera by:

  1. Consistently producing and performing highly regarded opera, with a balanced repertoire that encompasses core classics, lesser-known masterpieces, new and unusual works;
  2. Creating a diverse, innovative, wide-ranging program of open engagement and education activities that reaches the widest possible community; and
  3. Developing exceptional emerging operatic talent.

We are proud of our position as one of the leading performing arts companies in the country and we acknowledge the vital role that we play in supporting the careers of Australian artists and bringing works of significance to local audiences.

Our mission is to be a twenty-first century Australian arts company, uniquely placed to provide a cultural service to the state of South Australia. We aspire to be recognised for our artistic program, for relentlessly pursuing the expansion of our reach and impact, and for investing in meaningful engagement for the benefit of the operatic art form. We are also a company which is passionate about our place and our community. To that end, we aspire to be the champions of development in our sector and of all things grown and made in SA – the place which we call home.

Since the days of New Opera, this state company has produced a diet of interesting, challenging and complementary repertoire. State Opera has created numerous landmark productions: Death in Venice, Parsifal, The Ring Cycle – twice, Makropoulos Affair, Fiery Angel, Dead Man Walking, Moby Dick, Phillip Glass Trilogy and Cloudstreet. In 2019 the critical acclaim received for the high quality of all aspects of our productions was unprecedented.  We have long played a leadership role in the presentation of critically acclaimed opera, and we will continue to play a leadership role in Adelaide and nationally by developing the art form through a balanced repertoire that encompasses core classics, lesser known masterpieces and new work.

The 2020 Artistic Program builds upon the new era of opera in South Australia; this includes a large outdoor event, the clever use of new and interesting venues, familiar works from the great canon of repertoire as well as rare Australian works that will be revived for posterity by SOSA alone.

By championing engagement (broad) and impact (deep), State Opera will succeed in delivering leadership in the sector as well as relevance for countless opera-lovers, arts-goers, students, children, families and industry specialists alike. In the longer term, we aspire to re-establish Adelaide as a significant national and international destination for opera, whilst maintaining existing audiences and growing new markets in our community.

The State Opera of South Australia’s Artistic Assessment Panel comprises well-respected and arts-aware members of the South Australian community; a group of peers whose experiences and credentials are wide-ranging and who are passionate about supporting creative endeavour in this State. Each panel member is invited to State Opera’s subscription season amongst other events and provides the company with regular structured feedback. The panel assists State Opera by responding to the season’s repertoire, the soloist selection, Chorus performance quality, audience engagement and the event experience of each production and in so doing informs State Opera’s artistic self-assessment and programming patterns.

Panel members are asked to attend at least 4 performances throughout the year, and complete at least 4 questionnaires post-performance. There will be an informal and non-compulsory gathering arranged 1-2 times per annum for Panel members to meet and talk.

Verity Laughton

Verity is an award-winning playwright and poet, producing more than 30 works which have been recognised internationally, including main-stage adult dramas, adaptations, plays for children and families, radio plays, a promenade community event, and a musical. Some of her works include Long Tan, The Red Cross Letters (short-listed for the 2013 Rodney Seaborn Prize), The Sweetest Thing (nominated for the 2012 NSW Premier’s Award and the Rodney Seaborn Award),  A Crate of Souls, The Nargun and the Stars, Gondwana, Respect, The Gizmo, A Neutral Script, The Snow Queen, The Mourning After, and I Saw a Dinosaur. Verity was awarded the 2009 Adelaide’s Critic’s Circle Best New Australian Play for Carrying Light, the 2009 Inscription Award for The Ice Season, 2004 Community Theatre AWGIE for The Lightkeeper, the 2004 Best Radio Drama AWGIE for Fox, and the 2001 Griffin Prize for Burning. Her poetry and prose have been published in a range of literary and other publications. Verity is also in the final year of a PhD in political theatre at Flinders University and a member of the 7-ON group of playwrights.

Vincent Ciccarello

Vincent Ciccarello has been actively involved in classical music for almost 30 years. Formerly the Orchestra Resources Manager of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO, 1990-1994), Vincent then owned and operated Fanfare Artist Management, representing classical music and music theatre artists across Australia and New Zealand (1994-2004),  while also serving as Head of Opera and Classical Music for Melbourne-based theatrical agency, Performers Management. Holding subsequent roles as a journalist at the new Independent Weekly and Chairman of the Australasian Classical Music Managers’ Association, Vincent is now Managing Director of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

He is now the convenor of the Music Education Roundtable and former Deputy Chair of the Adelaide UNESCO City of Music Advisory Committee, and in 2019 Vincent was appointed to the Arts Industry Council of SA Committee.

In 2009 Adelaide’s Critic’s Circle Best New Australian Play for Carrying Light, the 2009 Inscription Award for The Ice Season, 2004 Community Theatre AWGIE for The Lightkeeper, the 2004 Best Radio Drama AWGIE for Fox, and the 2001 Griffin Prize for Burning. Her poetry and prose have been published in a range of literary and other publications. Verity is also in the final year of a PhD in political theatre at Flinders University and a member of the 7-ON group of playwrights.

Clara Solly-Slade

Clara Solly-Slade, Adelaide College of the Arts graduate, undertook training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, 2016 and furthered her work as a director, training with La Mama Experimental Theatre Company at their International Directors Symposium in Italy, 2017.  She was awarded the Helpmann Academy’s Neil Curnow Award to fund a working trip in the USA in 2018, interning with La Mama, The H.E.A.T Collective and Working Classroom. Clara worked extensively as an artist with children’s cancer charity Camp Quality and Sport for Jove Theatre, as well working with several youth theatres including Urban Myth Theatre of Youth, ACT NOW Theatre for Social Change and Australian Theatre for Young People. Clara has founded her own arts organisation, Hinge Arts and is a recipient of The Helpmann Academy’s inaugural Emerging Director Fellowship, presented in partnership with State Theatre Company and State Opera South Australia, and supported by the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation, Clara is on a paid internship with both companies as part of the year-long program.

Sandy Francas

Casandra (Sandy) Francas was raised in Perth and graduated from the University of Western Australia with a law degree. Since 1991, Adelaide has been Sandy’s home where she has actively been involved in attending performances across various performing arts organisations. While her favourite art form is that of opera, seeking out and attending both local and interstate productions, Sandy is an avid supporter of other theatrical productions such as local plays and classic music concerts as well.

Sandy is a keen golfer, and since retiring from full time work in 2014, she has enjoyed spending more time on the golf course.  She has also enjoyed studying a number of music and opera related online courses as well as completing an Art History Course at Sotheby’s in London.

David Colville

David Colville joined The Australian Opera (now Opera Australia) in 1972 in a marketing and publicity capacity, leading company’s marketing operation for 12 years, and acting as the company’s executive producer for the television simulcasts Live from the Sydney Opera House. David left Opera Australia in 1985, establishing the consultancy David Colville & Associates and working with clients in the subsidised sector, including the Sydney Symphony, State Theatre Company of South Australia and the Adelaide Festival Centre. Subsequently, he served Marketing Director roles for the Adelaide Festival Centre, Musica Viva Australia and as an account manager and creative director for marketing campaigns on behalf of international producers such as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Company. In 2006 David was appointed manager of the Major Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council, working closely with governments and Australia’s leading performing arts organisations. He left the Australia Council in 2012 to concentrate on his consultancy activities and now resides in Adelaide.

Sandy Verschoor

Sandy was elected as an Area Councillor in the 2015 by-election and served as Deputy Lord Mayor from June 2017 to November 2018. She has had a career in both the public and private enterprise, not-for-profits, and Local and State government, including three years as General Manager City Culture and Community Services for the City of Adelaide. Sandy has contributed to the success of Adelaide’s thriving arts and culture community for more than two decades, including having been CEO of the Adelaide Fringe and the Adelaide Festival, as well as producer of the Adelaide Festival of Ideas in 2018. She has been on numerous boards including the Adelaide Convention Bureau, Premier’s Climate Change Council, Adelaide Film Festival, Capital City Committee, as well as a trustee of the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust and Chairs a disability housing solutions organisation Aliro Ltd. As Lord Mayor, Sandy is keen to keep costs low for residents and businesses by reducing red tape, strengthening Adelaide’s global reputation for culture, climate change action, and entrepreneurialism, preserving Adelaide’s heritage, and enhancing the city’s precincts and main streets for the benefit of local small business owners and the community.

Dana Whyte

After dropping out of law school to pursue a career in hospitality, Dana opened his first venture, Clever Little Tailor in 2013 on a then deserted side alley called Peel Street. Along with his business partners, Dana has since opened Pink Moon Saloon on the neighbouring Leigh Street and most recently a pub in Port Adelaide. All these venues of won numerous awards including the 2016 City of Adelaide Prize and Gourmet Traveller’s National Bar of the Year as they continue to reshape the South Australian hospitality landscape.





Elizabeth Campbell

Elizabeth Campbell, one of Australia’s most distinguished mezzo sopranos, has performed with all the Australian opera companies, symphony orchestras and major concert organisations. A graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Elizabeth won the Elly Ameling Lieder Prize in the ‘s-Hertogenbosch Singing Competition, represented Australia in the Singer of the World Competition, Cardiff and is the recipient of the Bayreuth Scholarship. International performances include Messiah at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s USA tour and recitals at the Wigmore Hall, in Den Haag and Antwerp. Recent highlights include Verdi Spectacular, Gianni Schicchi/La Vida Breve, Verdi’s Requiem, Herodias in Salome, Amneris in Aida (for which she won a 2011 Helpmann Award) all for State Opera; Klytaemnestra in Elektra (Perth Festival); First Norn and Waltraute in Ring Cycle for Opera Australia. Recordings include Koehne’s Three Poems of Byron, Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Missa Solemnis, “Banquo’s Buried”, “Woman’s Song” and Elgar’s Sea Pictures.

Graham Strahle

Dr Graham Strahle is Music Australia’s Senior Writer and Editor of Music Journal. An experienced music journalist, he writes regularly for The Australian and The Adelaide Review, and has contributed to Limelight and Artstate Magazines, UK publications The Works and Managing the Arts Worldwide. Graham is a former Music Australia Councillor, served on the Music Australia Board, and has been a regular contributor to Music Forum. Graham is an editor at Journal of Music Research Online, holds a PhD in Historical Musicology, and plays the Viola da Gamba in various ensembles including Adelaide Baroque.