Suzanne Chaundy


Suzanne is a highly regarded director of opera, drama, outdoor spectacle and special events. She began directing as an undergraduate at the University of Melbourne and was subsequently fast-tracked into the NIDA Directing Course.  Best known as an opera director, she began on this path as a trainee director with the Victorian State Opera. Working closely with her mentor, Jean-Pierre Mignon, whom she assisted between 1987 and 1990 on THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO and DON GIOVANNI. she was also engaged to assist Ian Judge on his award-winning production of Massenet’s DON QUICHOTTE. Following this successful collaboration she was asked to remount his production of WEST SIDE STORY for IMG touring Melbourne (State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne), Sydney (Capitol Theatre) and Auckland (The Civic). She was soon offered new productions to direct herself, COSI FAN TUTTÉ for the Victorian State Opera and THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO and DON PASQUALE for West Australian Opera then LA BOHÉME for Opera Australia. She was director of THE MODD SHOWS (Music/Opera/Dance/Drama). This was a visionary collaboration between the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Victorian State Opera, the Australian Ballet and the Melbourne Theatre Company developed for secondary school audiences and performed in the State Theatre of the Victorian Arts Centre. Versions of ROMEO AND JULIET and MADAMA BUTTERFLY explored how different artistic mediums communicate story. 

Suzanne's 2012 production of COSI FAN TUTTE for Melbourne Opera at Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre (nominated for Best Director – Green Room Awards) resulted in her become something of a regular for the company directing new productions of DER FREISCHÜTZ and MARIA STUARDA in 2015, THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO, TANNHÄUSER and ANNA BOLENA in 2016, LOHENGRIN in 2017 and she will be director of TRISTAN UND ISOLDE in 2018.

​​In 2013 she directed THE RINGTONE CYCLE with Lisa Harper-Brown and the Seraphim Trio at the Melbourne Recital Centre as part of the Opera Australia Ring Cycle Festival. In 2014 Suzanne produced the high profile concert OPERAtion Covent Garden at the Iwaki Auditorium.  She has worked for Melba Opera Trust and began her association with Lyric Opera of Melbourne, directing their productions of WERTHER (2014) and directed the Australian Premier of OUR MAN IN HAVANA by Malcolm Williamson (2016). Suzanne runs an opera directors' development program through Lyric Opera of Melbourne and is in constant demand as a drama coach for developing singers. In 2014 Suzanne was appointed Artistic Director of STONNINGTON OPERA and subsequently presented 3 outdoor opera concerts attracting audiences numbering between 4,000 and 5,000 with some of Australia’s greatest opera artists, the most recent being a Bel Canto program in 2017 featuring Emma Matthews and Rosamund Illing.

Suzanne’s work is inextricably linked with the enormous international success of the outdoor performance company Strange Fruit. Her productions for that company have been performed in over 400 international festivals and events in more than 40 different countries. Her early professional life saw her working with some of the most influential theatres and theatre makers in Australia, including La Mama, Anthill, Griffin Theatre, National Playwrights Centre, Sydney Theatre Company, Red Stitch Actors Theatre plus most major drama training institutions.

Recently Suzanne directed IN BETWEEN TWO for CAAP which premiered at the 2016 Sydney Festival.  Performed by Joel Ma (Joelistics) and James Mangohig (Sietta) it traces the interconnected experiences of two artists as Asian Australians in the contemporary music industry. This piece has just completed a successful tour of the Northern Territory, Adelaide Ozasia Festival and  culminated in a season at the Melbourne Festival at Arts Centre Melbourne.

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