Victorian Opera has today announced that Australian musical theatre and opera director Stuart Maunder will take over as the company’s Artistic Director in 2023, replacing Richard Mills, who announced that he was stepping down in February this year.
“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,” said Genevieve Overell, Chair of the Board of Victorian Opera.
“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.”
Maunder’s recent collaborations with Victorian Opera have included successful productions of four Sondheim musicals (Sunday in the Park with George in 2013, Into the Woods in 2014, Sweeney Todd in 2015 and A Little Night Music in 2019), as well as Leoš Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen in 2017.
“I feel like I’ve come home,” said Maunder, reflecting on the appointment. “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.”
“I look forward to strengthening the 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.”
In mid-2023, Maunder will step down as Artistic Director of State Opera South Australia, a position he has held since 2018. During his time in Adelaide, Maunder curated the Lost Operas of Oz series of productions, giving new life to works by Australian composers and writers, including the recent successful concert presentation of Richard Meale’s Voss.
“These past four years have been some of the greatest times in my career and I am incredibly proud of what we have been able to achieve – despite the challenges of a global pandemic. I leave State Opera South Australia poised on the brink of an exciting new chapter in its nearly 50-year history, grateful to have played a small part in shaping one of the country’s truly unique companies,” said Maunder.
Prior to his appointment at State Opera South Australia, Maunder was General Director of New Zealand Opera from 2014. Having begun his career as a stage manager, he was Artistic Administrator and later Executive Producer at Opera Australia, and a staff director for The Royal Opera House in London. He also has an extensive number of musical theatre and opera directing credits spanning three decades in Australia, the UK, France and the US.
Maunder will commence his new role at Victorian Opera in October 2023, ahead of the departure of Richard Mills at the end of the year. His first program for Victorian Opera will be the 2024 season. His final Adelaide season will be announced by State Opera South Australia in the coming months.
More information about Stuart Maunder’s new position can be found at victorianopera.com.au