New Zealand Opera’s General Director Stuart Maunder is moving on.
Maunder will leave New Zealand Opera in July to take up the role of Artistic Director at State Opera of South Australia.
Maunder has been General Director of NZO since 2014. He made his directorial debut for the company in 2015 with Tosca, the Puccini opera he’s directing again at the moment for Christchurch next month. He’ll also direct Candide before heading across the ditch, but will return in the winter to work with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra on its concert performance of Verdi’s Aida.
During his tenure Maunder has been encouraging traditional opera goers to “reoffend” by pushing the boundaries of what opera is, including staging musicals like Sweeney Todd and The Mikado.
He’s also been responsible for opera being presented to new audiences, particularly to those who had previously thought of opera as “boring … too long … or too expensive”.
Maunder has also been instrumental in bringing home New Zealand singers. “Let’s get Kiwis at the height of their powers,” he says. He’ll be working with a strong New Zealand cast for Tosca next month, including Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Simon O’Neill, along with Irish soprano Orla Boylan in the title role.
Stuart says after four years as General Director the opportunity to be Artistic Director for State Opera of South Australia was too good to pass by. “These sorts of gigs don’t come up often,” he says. “State Opera of South Australia is a company I’ve long admired.”
It has a long history of doing “interesting repertoire” - mixing contemporary work with more traditional repertoire, something Maunder says he’s looking forward to exploring more.