Opera Australia announces Jo Davies as new Artistic Director

Opera-Australia-Jo-Davies-photo-by-Kirstie-YoungOpera Australia has announced the appointment of acclaimed director Jo Davies to take over the artistic reins of the country’s preeminent performing arts company.

In a celebrated career spanning more than 20 years, Ms Davies is an award-winning director of opera, theatre and musical productions in the UK, Europe and North America.

Opera Australia CEO Fiona Allan said Ms Davies was the standout candidate in the world-wide search for a new Artistic Director.

“It really gives me the greatest pleasure to be able to announce Jo’s appointment. Her depth of experience across opera, theatre and musicals, as well as her demonstrated commitment to developing talent, made her an outstanding candidate,” said Ms Allan.

“During an extensive series of interviews, she met with representatives from our performing and administrative departments, who expressed their admiration for her programming ideas and loved her collaborative approach.”

“It is an incredibly exciting time in OA’s history as we emerge from the pandemic and move forward with a new strategy to make Opera Australia more reflective of a 21st century Australia, and to celebrate our own stories and talent – a strategy that is completely in concordance with Jo’s ideas and values around what opera can be,” said Ms Allan.

With her desire to explore Australian stories and her reputation as a genuine collaborator, Ms Davies’ remit will focus on realising OA’s vision to present a program that reflects the Australian community and spirit, and to celebrate and nurture Australian talent on and off the stage.

Ms Davies will meet with OA’s artistic, production, marketing and technical teams in the new year to commence planning the 2024 season, and will relocate to Australia to officially take up her new role in November 2023.

In the meantime, in order to meet fast approaching scheduling deadlines, one of Australia’s leading festival and opera directors, Lindy Hume, has been invited to curate an interim 2024 summer season in the Sydney Opera House.

OA Chairman Rod Sims expressed his thanks to all who participated in the recruitment process and is thrilled to have such an accomplished artistic professional joining the Company.

“After an exhaustive search, Fiona and the OA team have chosen an outstanding candidate,” said Mr Sims. “We were after someone with a clear audience focus, who will be deeply collaborative internally and externally, who is innovative, and who is interested in all aspects of talent development, and in Jo we have found someone who excels in all these areas.”

“She is widely respected, has excellent international connections and will bring a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective to OA’s program,” said Mr Sims.

Ms Davies has worked with some of the world’s most respected opera companies including the Royal Opera House, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, San Francisco Opera and the English National Opera.

She has directed musicals at London’s Barbican, Le Chatelet in Paris, the Welsh Millennium Centre and at the London Coliseum. She has directed for the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre Wales and the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.

“I am honoured and thrilled to take up this appointment as Artistic Director and by the opportunity to work with the superb team of talented and ambitious people at OA creating extraordinary opera and musical theatre,” said Ms Davies.

“I look forward to collaborating with Fiona Allan and her team to present a rich range of national and international programming that reflects the passions and politics of 21st century Australia.”

“My work is committed to broadening opera and discovering the potency of stories that make a social connection, so I am hugely excited to work with the broad community of incredible artists that Australia has to offer,” said Ms Davies.

Ms Davies, who herself trained as a singer, has a demonstrated history dedicated to talent development through her coaching and teaching work at The Royal Academy of Music, The Royal College of Music, The National Youth Music Theatre, and the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artist Program among others.

For more information about Opera Australia, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.

Image: Jo Davies – photo by Kirstie Young