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State Opera South Australia

Championing the Australian voice in opera.

2022 08 23 OPERA TRAV GDR Z7 0290

Established in 1976 by an Act of Parliament (the State Opera of South Australia Act), State Opera forms part of the extraordinary cultural legacy of Premier Don Dunstan in South Australia. 

More opera for more people: the mission is simple and clear, and brilliantly reflected in the programming choices including exceptional productions of the well-known operatic canon alongside engaging contemporary works, creating experiences suited both to the genre first timer and the seasoned opera lover.

From creation to ovation, an opera company is nothing without its talent: State Opera has made a firm commitment to champion Australian talent on and off the stage, ensuring support to the education, development, creative and performance opportunities that our talented people and audiences deserve. 

This commitment, an enduring legacy of Stuart Maunder AM’s artistic leadership, started with three chamber operas staged in 2019 as the Lost Operas of Oz initiative, which put noteworthy operas by Australian composers back on centre stage where they belonged. 

Met with critical and popular acclaim, the initiative has evolved to encompass the protection and presentation of Australian operas and the formation of the Australian Opera Digital Library - the nation’s first digital education resource dedicated to Australia opera.

Dane Lam

Conductor, Artistic Director

The young Australian-Chinese conductor, Dane Lam, enjoys a career spanning four continents. He is Music Director, appointed in early 2023, of the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra and is Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra.

Dane made his debut, aged only eighteen, with the Sydney Symphony at the Sydney Opera House and has since conducted an array of leading international orchestras and opera companies including: the Queensland, Adelaide, Canberra, Dunedin, Kunming, Shandong, and Suzhou Symphony Orchestras, Münchner Rundfunkorchester, Het Residentie Orkest, City of London Sinfonia, Manchester Camerata, South Bank Sinfonia, Liverpool Philharmonic Ensemble 10/10, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Verbier Festival Orchestra, Juilliard Orchestra and Opera Australia, Opera Queensland, Scottish Opera, Chelsea Opera Group and Bury Court Opera.

In his first season as Music Director of the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra, Dane has attracted some of the finest musical talent from around the Pacific including William Barton, Deborah Cheetham Fraillon, Huang Ruo, Mahani Teave, and Jennifer Koh. He has crafted programs that honour the musical legacy of the great composers, while introducing new voices that speak to the time and place of Hawai’i in the Twenty First Century.

His London mainstage debut with OHP’s La Cenerentola attracted widespread critical and popular acclaim. Subsequent appearances at OHP have included Così fan tutte, L’arlesiana, Don Giovanni, AidaIl barbiere di SivigliaNorma and Will Todd’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Dane was honoured by the broader opera community with a nomination as Best Newcomer in the International Opera Awards 2018.

In his other musical home, the ancient city of Xi’an, the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra has grown under Dane’s leadership. Since assuming the post of Principal Conductor in 2014, XSO’s classical subscription offering has almost doubled while attendance has increased commensurately. He led the first staged, professional operas in this 3000-year-old city with Tosca in 2015 and Le nozze di Figaro in 2016; he has raised the artistic standard and profile of the orchestra to attract such soloists as Jose Carreras, Nikolai Demidenko, Midori Goto, Stephen Hough, Yundi Li, Anne Sophie Mutter, Feng Ning and Liwei Qin.

Dane led the orchestral revival in Australia following the initial COVID-lockdown and conducted the first (as well as consecutive) performances in front of live audiences for Opera Queensland, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He also conducted the Sydney and West Australian Symphony Orchestras in concert, as well as the inaugural production of the National Opera in Canberra, La clemenza di Tito. He was nominated as Artist of the Year by Limelight Magazine in 2021.

In the current season Dane conducts new productions of Carmen for West Australian Opera (directed by Stuart Maunder) and for Scottish Opera (directed by John Fulljames), where he has previously conducted La traviata. He looks forward to a return to Opera Australia with Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. In recent seasons Dane has conducted La bohème for Opera Australia; Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, and La traviata with Opera Queensland in; La clemenza di Tito with National Opera Canberra; Kunstkamer with The Australian Ballet; and Carl Davis’s A Christmas Carol with Het Residentie Orkest and De Dutch Don’t Dance Division in The Hague. He also conducted the Xi’an, Hawai’i, Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, Adelaide, Canberra, and West Australian Symphony Orchestras.

Lam Dane low res

What's On

Expand State Opera South Australia Madama Butterfly Mariana Hong Soda Street Productions

State Opera South Australia - Madama Butterfly (2019)

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