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Suzanne Chaundy

Trained at NIDA as a director, Suzanne is Australia's foremost director of the works of Richard Wagner. Her career spans opera, text-based theatre, special events and outdoor spectacle. Operas directed include Le Nozze di Figaro, Cosi fan tutte, La traviata,  Der Freischütz, Werther, Maria Stuarda, Tannhäuser, Anna Bolena , Our Man in Havana, Lohengrin, Roberto Devereux, Tristan und Isolde, Der fliegende Holländer, Norma,  Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. Suzanne has directed for Melbourne Opera, Lyric Opera of Melbourne, West Australian Opera, Opera Australia, Victorian State Opera,  IMG, Red Stitch Actors Theatre, La Mama, Anthill Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company and Sydney Theatre Company.  She is the founder and director of the Richard Divall Emerging Opera Artists Program. Suzanne directed signature productions for Australia’s internationally renowned outdoor performance troupe Strange Fruit. Her Strange Fruit productions have been presented at over 400 festivals and events in Australia, Europe, UK, Asia,  Latin America and the USA. Suzanne recently completed her first Ring Cycle in Bendigo for Melbourne Opera to huge critical and audience acclaim.

Suzanne is represented worldwide by Hancock Artists: 

All enquiries to James Hancock



The tetralogy unfolded steadily, naturally and almost as a single paragraph.”

“The two pillars of this Ring were its conductor, Anthony Negus and director Suzanne Chaundy. Together they fused what we heard and what we saw into something compelling and memorable.”

“Chaundy’s production brought the story alive … Almost everything specified in the score was there to see or sense. In addition, Chaundy’s adroit deployment of characters emphasized, as it should, the foibles of human nature and the stirring of inner emotions that are the bedrock of the Ring.”

“This … in a profound sense demonstrates how Wagner can focus the mind and the heart in equal measure. For all those who made the pilgrimage, the Bendigo Ring was something special that should live long in the memory. It certainly will in mine.”

(The Bendigo Ring Cycle - Michael Shmith - OPERA Magazine, June 2023)

“Suzanne Chaundy’s production is a triumph of lucidity, precision, and common sense. Nothing is extraneous or puerile; Chaundy avoids the extravagances that have diminished many Rings.  If something moves or lights up, there is a reason – not a directorial whim.”

I have seen Walküre many times, but none has impressed me more than this performance. For once, the conductor, the director, and the singers were in perfect sync. Music and drama fitted together seamlessly. At times the emotion on stage – especially during Wotan and Brünnhilde’s Farewell (when both singers were visibly moved) – was almost unbearable. The last hour, in particular, won’t be easily forgotten. If you don’t have a ticket yet, buy one: you won’t see its like again.”

(The Bendigo Ring cycle -Peter Rose - ABR)

"The prolonged standing ovation that greeted singers, conductor, orchestra, and creative team at the end of Götterdämmerung was as much an acknowledgment of what Melbourne Opera had achieved over the four days of Cycle 1 as for what was an intensely moving culmination of Wagner’s final work in his Der Ring des Nibelungen."

(The Bendigo Ring Cycle -Heather Leviston – CLASSIC MELBOURNE)

“Chaundy’s cleverly detailed theatrical scenes, sharpened by an analytical eye, provide much entertainment as ‘Mahagonny’ snakes through its 21 well-coupled vignettes. Achieving much in the challenges of needing to confront and quell uneasiness. Chaundy melds critique, characters and comedy commendably.”  (The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, LIMELIGHT)

”Suzanne Chaundy, who wowed audiences earlier this year with her feisty interpretation of ‘’Die Walküre, directs a cast of spirited performers in an impressively current production of the 90-year-old opera.” (The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, ARTS HUB)

“Suzanne Chaundy’s production of this saga for Melbourne Opera is outstanding."  (Die Walküre, Brian Angus, BACHTRACK)

“We were also keen for another taste of director Suzanne Chaundy’s multi-year Ring Cycle that had begun so well, and confirmed Melbourne Opera’s growing artistry and confidence. Die Walküre doesn’t disappoint”  ” Indeed this production’s ability to deliver Die Walküre’s moving and engrossing drama rarely wanes, so that more than five hours at the opera (including two generous intervals) flies by. Once again, Melbourne Opera has set the bar high for every opera company performing here during the year ahead”. (‘’Die Walküre, Patricia Maunder, LIMELIGHT)

“Chaundy reveals a logical extension of ideas nutted out in Das Rheingold and incorporates them with cleverly focused scenes characterised by symbolism and restraint. Chaundy populates them with an eagle eye on expressive weight and individual sensitivities.” ('Die Walküre', Paul Selar, AUSTRALIAN ARTS REVIEW)

“…there is so much going on in Walküre that it is hard for an audience to grasp the dramatic significance of what is happening in the music. Chaundy’s particular skill is in depicting the directness of the human relationships from which the tale develops” (5 stars, Michael Smith, OPERA Magazine)

“Melbourne Opera, under Chaundy’s direction, really pulled off a production of great existential magnitude and sublime beauty with Die Walküre.” ('Die Walkuere' - Leila Lois, ARTS HUB)

"The overall concept is director Suzanne Chaundy’s finest to date. The entire creative team is to be commended for this clever, slick and stunning realisation.” ('Das Rheingold' – Bridget Davies, THE AGE)

“The work of director Suzanne Chaundy is elevated by the faultless degree of integration she achieves between direction and design. Each aspect of the visually striking staging works together to create a marvellously cohesive whole.”  ('Das Rheingold' -Simon ParriS, MAN IN A CHAIR)

"Readily meeting sky high anticipation, the new Melbourne Opera production of Norma brings a mighty shine to this revered, and often unattainable, jewel in the crown of the bel canto repertoire.” ('Norma' review -  Simon Parris, MAN IN A CHAIR)

"I must congratulate Suzanne Chaundy on her clever direction. The last scenes were spectacular, powerful, dramatic, and poignant"

('Norma' review - Rob Holdsworth,ABR)

"Director Suzanne Chaundy has helmed countless Melbourne Opera productions in the past, and her feel for Wagner's allegorical tendencies is on full display here. She knows that if symbolism is going to work, it needs real psychological texture to ground it, and she directs her singers towards and emotional realism that offsets the fantastical nature of the story. She subtly but surely pivots the opera around the character of Senta, making something moving and monumental about her sacrifice." ('The Flying Dutchman' TiIME OUT.)

"Suzanne Chaundy's impressive direction gives clarity and sensitivity in a staging realised with striking stylised economy and folkloric feel. Chaundy deftly balances the sexes.....the impression you get is that no stage in unconquerable for Melbourne Opera." (‘The Flying Dutchman’  HERALD SUN & OPERACHASER )

" experience that comes close to the "total art work" Wagner envisaged" (‘The Flying Dutchman’ LIMELIGHT)

"DE STROYED is a sophisticated piece of theatre that has its audience thinking from the moment Murray first speaks right up until its thoughtful closing moments. Murray and Chaundy's collaboration and their unique approach in exploring de Beauvoir's writing is beautifully conceived, resulting in an incredibly absorbing work" (MY MELBOURNE ARTS)

“Chaundy’s Lohengrin addresses conflict, doubt and vulnerability sublimely on a scale of love and war. On a scale of should I or shouldn’t I, no procrastination necessary. Simply go!” ('Lohengrin' HERALD SUN)

“One of the key aspects of the success of the staging is director Suzanne Chaundy’s highly respectful treatment of the text. This is a completely faithful, traditional production, without so much as a whiff of a directorial conceit.” ('Lohengrin' MAN IN A CHAIR)

“Chaundy’s Tannhauser for Melbourne Opera a triumph” ('Tannhäuser' THE AUSTRALIAN)

“The direction was excellent” ('Tannhäuser' STAGE WHISPERS)


“Director Suzanne Chaundy presents a strong, clear telling of the drama, keeping the atmosphere terrifically tense.....”  ('Maria Stuarda' MAN IN A CHAIR)

“A cohesive and stylistically interesting production. Its success due in large part to the bold artistic vision of director, Suzanne Chaundy.”

('Der Freischütz', THEATRE PEOPLE)

“....Chaundy’s direction was tremendously imaginative” ('Der Freischütz' THE AUSTRALIAN)

“Conductor Richard Divall – experienced in this work – and director Suzanne Chaundy are a fine team, complementing each other in highlighting the opera's dramatic moments but also its tenderness and beauty.” ('Maria Stuarda' THE AGE)

“Suzanne Chaundy, who recently enjoyed a triumph with Melbourne Opera’s Tannhauser, directs Our Man in Havana with clarity, humour and just the right amount of seriousness.” (OMIH, THE AUSTRALIAN)

“The creative team from 2015's Maria Stuarda return with this new production. The emphasis is on the drama which unfolds between protagonists and to affect this, a stark, almost empty stage hints at the Tudor Rose, allowing room for the flowing gowns of sumptuous costuming..... Anna Bolena is a gorgeous addition to the Melbourne opera firmament.” ('Anna Bolena' CONCERTO NET)

“Director Suzanne Chaundy made uncommonly inspired use of the chorus. Using formal, stylised placement that reflected rigid court etiquette, they acted as commentators on the action as well as jury.” ('Anna Bolena'  CLASSIC MELBOURNE)

“.... Chaundy here has brought it into stunning relief.... The result is a triumph of invention and stagecraft.” (‘The Chapel Perilous' AUSTRALIAN STAGE ONLINE)


 “Unforgettable.... Chaundy’s direction provides a rich critical reading... Mercilessly entertaining. Not to be missed.” (‘The Maids' THE AGE)

“Suzanne Chaundy's direction is persuasive, with a keen ear for the pathos-as-alienation that gives this story its feels the laughter here conceals unknown terrors. Highly recommended.” (‘Herding Cats’ TIME OUT)

“one of the most genuinely funny productions of Don Pasquale I can recall. A delight from bar one... engagingly zany... the felicitous touches by director, Suzanne Chaundy bring this much produced opera to startling and sparkling new life.” (‘Don Pasquale’ THE WEST AUSTRALIAN) 

"...nothing is more satisfying than stories about people who defied cultural and social conventions to follow their heart."    (‘In Between Two’ -TIME OUT)

" achieve a sense of cultural heritage but also to reconcile and be able to turn life into art with music and wit. The sooner In Between Two is re-staged and widely so, the better." (‘In Between Two’ -REAL TIME ARTS)

"Subtitled ‘A Quartet on Loss and Violence’, the play possesses an unemphatic musicality and Suzanne Chaundy’s rhythmical direction draws it out. She crafts an effect redolent of the purity and sadness of plainsong from the afterechoes of a tragedy few encounter and even fewer can weave into the pattern of their lives….Beyond the Neck is a haunting drama, and this nuanced ensemble production from Red Stitch allows its soft, broken chords to sing." (‘Beyond The Neck’ THE AGE)

"Director Suzanne Chaundy conducts like a maestro. It’s a challenging text that could collapse into sentiment in the wrong hands, but by guiding the cast to hold their emotions close, Chaundy lets the grace notes of humour offer light and understanding without the easy comfort hope or the overwhelming fear of hopelessness.... Beyond the Neck is beautiful and unmissable theatre told by artists who understand the responsibility of telling such resonating stories."(‘Beyond The Neck’ AUSSIE THEATRE)

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