State Opera appoints new Director ahead of the 2023 season

Newly appointed Executive Director, Mark Taylor said he was thrilled to start this new chapter during this pivotal period.

State Opera South Australia has announced the appointment of a new chair and two new directors to its Board.

Current Board member, Master Elizabeth Olsson has been appointed as Chair of the Board starting today, following the retirement of John Irving.

Newly appointed Executive Director, Mark Taylor said he was thrilled to start this new chapter during this pivotal period.

“We have had a change of guard at State Opera. Elizabeth’s passion for what we do is palpable and contagious. Her skills are the perfect balance of entrepreneurial spirit and strong governance, and I’m excited to take State Opera into this next chapter with her,” said Taylor.

Elizabeth Olsson joined the State Opera Board in 2014 and has supported the organisation during a time of great change and growth. She has been a legal practitioner for more than 30 years and is currently serving as Master of the District Court. She has a deep passion for live performance, having been involved in amateur theatre (both on stage and backstage) for 38 years.

The Board will also welcome new members Peter Goldsworthy and Philippa Williams, and confirm Beata Byok’s appointment for three more years.

Peter Goldsworthy divides his working time between medicine and writing. He has been shortlisted and won major literary awards across a range of genres: poetry, short story, novels, theatre, and three opera libretti.

Philippa Williams is a high-end travel consultant with a background in strategic marketing, public relations and TV production, as well as starting her career as a musician.

Taylor went on to thank former Chair, John Irving and outgoing board member Peter Michell for their steadfast commitment in their roles.

“They both share and uphold the Company’s commitment to bring more opera to more people, their contribution to the company has been invaluable,” he said.

Some of the recent highlights included performances like the outdoor spectacular La Boheme at Glenelg beach, the revival of the epic Australian opera Voss, a dazzling season of La Traviata and the company’s first national tour of Australian opera, Love Burns.

Minister for Arts, Andrea Michaels said she was looking forward to seeing the State Opera grow into the future.

“Our State has the workforce and facilities to host productions of both grand European opera and Australian works. These performances attract new audiences to the art form, and secure work for artists.” she said “I look forward to seeing it continue to thrive within the performing arts space under new leadership.”

These announcements also coincide with a new management team for State Opera, with the appointment of Laura Danesin (Adelaide Festival, News Corp, The Walt Disney Company) as Director of Marketing and Ashlyn Hannam (Art Gallery of South Australia, Museum of Contemporary Art) as Director of Development.

The search for a new Artistic Director has progressed and further announcements will be made in the new year to replace outgoing Artistic Director, Stuart Maunder who will depart the company in late 2023.

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