During his five years as artistic director of State Opera South Australia, Stuart Maunder steered the company out of bleak times to some moments of genuine glory with a number of theatrically strong if mostly smaller productions. Among them, Sweeney Todd and Turn of the Screw stood out for their psychological realism, but he will also be remembered for having revived Richard Meale’s Voss in a highly successful semi-staged version in 2022.
Maunder tended to concentrate his energies towards the lighter end of opera, notably with a Gilbert & Sullivan festival in May 2023. Nevertheless, everything he touched carried a stamp of theatrical brilliance. What came in shorter supply were mainstage productions of heavier classics of the operatic repertoire.