Celebrated Australian opera and musical theatre director Stuart Maunder AM has been named the next Artistic Director of Victorian Opera. Maunder will commence in the role in October 2023 ahead of the departure of current Artistic Director, composer-conductor Richard Mills AM at the conclusion of 2023.
“I feel like I’ve come home. How humbling and thrilling to be joining this great Victorian company. I’ve long admired Victorian Opera’s bold repertoire choices, championing of new Australian work, formidable record of collaborating with other arts companies, commitment to showcasing Australian artists, and for pushing the boundaries of our extraordinary art-form,” said Maunder.
“I look forward to strengthening ties with Victorian Opera’s loyal, passionate audience. We will continue to build on the company’s history of nurturing and premiering new Australian works and acknowledging and including the voices and stories of First Nations Artists. I am equally excited by the prospect of developing new engagements with the state’s richly multicultural community.
“Together with the Board and Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Hill-Cooper, I look forward to leading this wonderful company into a bright new future. What an opportunity,” said Maunder.
Beginning his career in stage management at the then Australian Opera, Maunder has a long history in opera, as a director and arts administrator. He served in senior management roles at Opera Australia from 1999 to 2008 before being appointed General Director of New Zealand Opera in 2014.
He was appointed Artistic Director of State Opera South Australia in 2018. In his time at State Opera, Maunder has proved a passionate advocate for finding a distinctive Australian voice, championing Australian repertoire, developing the next generation of Australian artists while still pursuing a balanced repertoire designed to reach the widest possible audience. His work as a director is highly revered and has ensured Maunder has remained a consistent presence on Australian stages for over three decades.
A frequent collaborator with Victorian Opera, Maunder has directed several popular productions including four musicals by Stephen Sondheim (Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, A Little Night Music), Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen and a co-production of Richard Meale’s Voss with State Opera South Australia. Maunder’s production of Sweeney Todd was co-produced with New Zealand Opera and toured New Zealand and Australia following its debut in 2015.
On the appointment, Chair Genevieve Overell AM and the Board of Victorian Opera said: “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Stuart Maunder as the incoming Artistic Director of Victorian Opera. Stuart has proven himself to be a formidable force in the operatic landscape as both a director and Artistic Director with immense theatrical insight.”
“His collaborations with our company across many years have proven hugely successful and remained much-loved with our audiences. As a great champion of Australian opera, Stuart closely aligns with Victorian Opera’s commitment to creating and nurturing opera in this country.”
“We are excited for Stuart to guide Victorian Opera into our next artistic chapter and express our tremendous gratitude once again to Maestro Richard Mills for his exemplary decade at the helm of the company,” said Overell.
Maunder’s first season for Victorian Opera will be programmed for 2024, following Richard Mills’ final season in 2023. For more information about Victorian Opera, visit: www.victorianopera.com.au for details.
Image: Stuart Maunder AM (supplied)