In Conversation with Lyndon Terracini
Rebecca Ritchie

Rebecca Ritchie

April 6, 2021

Rebecca Ritchie is Opera Australia’s Head of Wardrobe, responsible for the team of experienced craftspeople who create the beautiful costumes and wigs you see on our stages. Rebecca started at Opera Australia when she was just 19, working on Baz Luhrmann’s production of La Bohème. After that introduction to our world, she further developed her skills studying at NIDA and worked her way up to the position she holds today.

 

In this interview with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Rebecca talks about how her team work with costume designers, the international search for costume talent, and the art of wig-making.

Kelley Abbey

Kelley Abbey

March 29, 2021

Kelley Abbey creates dance that's eclectic, highly stylised, beautiful and extraordinarily energetic. The choreographer, actor and dancer has been working since the 1980s, when she got her start in the Australian Youth Ballet company. Over the decades, she's filled all played all sorts of parts in the arts industry, from starring roles in major musicals like Sweet Charity, Hair and Grease, to a role on the soap opera E Street, and choreographing everything from opera singers in our productions of Salome and Carmen to dancing penguins in the movie Happy Feet.

 

In this interview with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Abbey reflects on the "glorious mistakes" that have been key to her career and explains her creative process.

John Pringle

John Pringle

March 22, 2021

For an astonishing 41 years, baritone John Pringle was a regular and much-loved performer on our stages. Known as a fabulous singer with the dramatic chops to match, Pringle racked up 102 roles over the course of his career. He was celebrated for his performances as Marcello in our early productions of La Bohème and Figaro in both The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville, and later on received acclaim for roles such as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and Leporello in Don Giovanni.

 

In this interview with Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, John talks about his favourite roles, how to be a great actor for the operatic stage, and all he learned from the great singers he performed alongside, including most prominently Tito Gobbi.

Tony David Cray

Tony David Cray

March 16, 2021

Creating a perfect sound design for any musical event is no easy feat. But what about when it’s an enormous outdoor performance for 3,000 spectators, with a full orchestra, a huge cast of singers, a pop-up grandstand and all sorts of natural sound to compete with?

This was the challenge facing sound designer extraordinaire Tony David Cray when he joined the team for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. In this interview with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Cray shares the secrets behind his sound design for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, and the ways he manages to simulate the feeling of being enclosed in an auditorium in the great outdoors.

Cray’s rich and varied career has seen him work with sound in all capacities; as a composer for major theatre companies and film, an engineer and producer for orchestras and world-famous pop acts, and in developing new technologies for live performance. In 2008 he won a Grammy Award for his work on a Chuck Corea and Gary Burton album recorded live in Sydney, and most recently he’s been working for the NRL to create an appropriate sense of atmosphere while crowds aren’t able to fill stadiums.

Constantine Costi

Constantine Costi

March 8, 2021

Constantine Costi is one of our most exciting emerging talents at Opera Australia, and has been honing his craft by working alongside many of our most experienced directors, assisting on large-scale productions and reviving celebrated stagings. In 2020, he was due to tackle his biggest project for us yet: directing Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. Costi was about to move his production of La Traviata (based on Francesca Zambello’s 2012 staging) from the rehearsal room to the harbour-side stage when COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of the season.

 

In this conversation with Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, Costi talks about growing up working in the family business, De Costi Seafood, and how he’s still on call to work at peak times. He also talks about some of his early adventures in opera — including a production of Il Tabarro staged in a commercial kitchen in Enmore — and explains why directors are “glorified stage mums”.

Anna-Louise Cole

Anna-Louise Cole

March 1, 2021

Anna-Louise Cole began her association with Opera Australia as a member of our chorus back in 2013, performing in operas from across the whole repertoire. But it soon became clear that Anna-Louise was meant to step out in front and perform some of the great soprano roles; in particular the great Wagnerian soprano roles. She soon became a member of our Young Artist Program, and is continuing to develop an extraordinary instrument.

In this interview with Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, she explains how she fell in love with music as a young Melburnian, and the path she took as a musician, choosing her voice over the cello, and preparing to sing Wagner. She also gives a gorgeous performance of Joseph Marx’s romantic lied ‘Hat dich die Liebe berührt’, accompanied by Opera Australia’s Head of Music, Tahu Matheson.

Shanul Sharma

Shanul Sharma

February 22, 2021

Long before Shanul Sharma fell in love with opera, he was headbanging to Def Leppard, Iron Maiden and Metallica. In this interview with Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, he explains how his path led him to Opera Australia, where he's a member of the Young Artist Program, tackling some of the most fiendishly difficult tenor roles.

Born in India, Shanul moved to Australia to study IT before joining a heavy metal band. Eventually he encountered opera and decided to audition for Opera Australia on a whim. Since then, he's covered and taken on some fabulous roles that are perfect for his talents.

This video ends with two unique socially distanced performances of Nadir's Aria from The Pearlfishers.

John Frost

John Frost

February 22, 2021

You may not know John Frost, but if you’re a musical theatre fan living in Australia, there’s a good chance he’s been responsible for some of your favourite nights out.

Known in the industry as ‘Frosty the Showman’, John is Australia’s most prolific theatre producer, having been in the business of producing large-scale musicals since the 1980s.

Since 2012, we’ve collaborated with Frosty on some of our most successful musicals: South Pacific, The King and I, My Fair Lady, Anything Goes and Evita. Frosty has also staged countless national tours of beloved musicals, including The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, The Sound of Music, Chicago, Cabaret and The Book of Mormon. In 1996, he won a Tony Award for his revival of The King and I on Broadway, and in 2003 won again as a co-producer of the original Broadway production of Hairspray.

In this interview with Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, Frosty recalls how he broke into the theatre industry as a 15 year old in Adelaide and built his showbiz empire. He also talks about what motivates him as a producer and reveals the one musical he’d love to stage.

Emma Matthews, Jonathan Summers and Brian Castles-Onion

Emma Matthews, Jonathan Summers and Brian Castles-Onion

February 22, 2021

In 2012, we set off on an adventure of operatic proportions: Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour.

Celebrating opera in all its beauty and spectacle, the event brings together some of the world's greatest opera artists to create extraordinary productions staged in a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue. But the first year involved an enormous leap of faith for the cast, musicians and crew alike, as we brought Verdi's La Traviata to an enormous harbour-side stage.

Conductor Brian Castles-Onion and singers Emma Matthews and Jonathan Summer share their experiences in this conversation with Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini. They recall the thrill of seeing the first Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour take shape and the challenges they had to overcome to deliver an unforgettable experience and launch this annual event.

Clif Bothwell

Clif Bothwell

February 8, 2021

Technical director Clif Bothwell is responsible for bringing all of our large-scale productions to the stage and ensuring they run smoothly at every performance. His job is to oversee the teams who make the seemingly impossible possible every night.

In this interview with Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, Clif explains how his path led him to working in the theatre, via a stint as a pilot and studying engineering. He also reveals what happens backstage at an opera, and how the technical team and state management keep everything on track. And he discusses how our new digital productions are changing the way his team works as they prepare to bring a digital Ring Cycle to Brisbane in 2021.

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