January 11, 2021
Gale Edwards has had the sort of career most stage directors dream of. For more than three decades, she's been one of Australia's most influential theatre-makers, having worked across all variety of performances; from large-scale operatic spectaculars, including our Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour productions of Carmen and Aida, to the most intimate of plays.
She's directed for all of Australia's major theatre companies, on Broadway and the West End, and was the first female director to create a work for the Royal Shakespeare Company's mainstage. She also won an Emmy Award for her filmed version of Jesus Christ Superstar.
In this conversation with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Edwards revisits the first opera she ever directed, The Labours of Hercules, performed in a circus tent and featuring Terracini. She also reflects on her 20-year working relationship with Andrew Lloyd Webber, which had a less-than-auspicious beginning, and explains why she approaches Shakespeare and opera with a similar process.
January 4, 2021
Alexander Lewis is currently rehearsing for our production of The Merry Widow, returning as Count Danilo after originating the role in this production to great acclaim in 2017.
The Australian tenor, known both for his performances in opera and musical theatre, has performed in some of the world’s most prestigious opera houses, including The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, The Metropolitan Opera and Komische Oper Berlin.
In this interview with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Lewis talks about growing up with Australian operatic royalty, returning to rehearsals after an eight-month break, and finding his own way into the world of music.
December 28, 2020
Australian-Mauritian soprano Stacey Alleaume is one of our busiest singers, with an ever-growing list of leading roles to her name. She was rehearsing to star as Violetta in our production of La Traviata on Sydney Harbour when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the season.
In this interview with Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, Stacey talks about her very musical upbringing, the opera traditions in Mauritius, and her recent experiences playing Gilda in Rigoletto at the prestigious Bregenz Festival in Austria. She also reveals what she’s been getting up to while in isolation, and performs a beautiful song by the Mauritian-born composer Francis Thomé.
December 21, 2020
Tahu Matheson has been with Opera Australia since 2007, and in 2017 became our Head of Music. In his time on our music staff, he’s taken on a diverse workload across a wide range of operas, overseeing rehearsals, preparing singers and conducting performances.
In this interview with Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, Matheson looks back to his early encounters with music and theatre, and explains how he came to be working in the world of opera. He also recalls his first few years working at Opera Australia, flying by the seat of his pants as he came to learn the great works of the canon and how to work effectively in a fast-paced opera company. More recently, Matheson has been working as a conductor, and explains how he works with the Opera Australia Orchestra to create magical musical moments for our audiences.
The interview ends with a special performance.
December 14, 2020
Since completing his masters of operatic and symphonic conducting at the St Petersburg Conservatoire in 2012, Australian conductor Vladimir Fanshil has built a richly varied career with some fantastic orchestras, including the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Odessa National Philharmonic and the State Hermitage Orchestra.
In this interview, Fanshil talks about swapping the warm beaches of Bondi for the bitterly cold St Petersburg winter, studying with tough teachers in Russia, and the intersection of art, literature, poetry and music. He also talks about the differences in music culture between countries, and being based in Vienna.
December 7, 2020
Australian soprano Eleanor Lyons has an extraordinary career, which has taken her all over Europe and further abroad.
Most recently, she’s performed as soloist in Verdi’s Requiem and Britten’s War Requiem with Philippe Herreweghe and the Antwerp Symphony; at the Grafenegg Festival with conductor Leon Botstein in two roles: Maria in Der Diktator by Krenek and in Hindemith’s Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen; and with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice as soloist at their New Year’s Eve Gala with Australian conductor Matthew Coorey.
In 2020, Lyons made her Opera Australia debut as Donna Anna in our production of Don Giovanni.
November 30, 2020
Australian soprano Julie Lea Goodwin has been one of our busiest singers since she joined Opera Australia in 2015. Last year alone, she performed an extraordinary range of roles: Maria in West Side Story on Sydney Harbour, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Musetta in La Bohème, and Madame Cortese in Il Viaggio a Reims. She also impressively created the role of Wendy Whiteley in the world premiere of Elena Kats-Chernin's opera, Whiteley.
In this interview with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Julie Lea talks about handling such diverse repertoire, making her way to opera via musical theatre, and what attracts her to certain roles. She also offers a special preview of The Merry Widow, which she'll be starring in at the Sydney Opera House in January 2021.
November 23, 2020
From 1970 until 2004, Anson Austin was one of our audience’s favourite singers. He tackled some 50 leading roles in his 34 years at Opera Australia and partnered with singers such as Dame Joan Sutherland and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in everything from Puccini to Mozart and contemporary opera. Known for his effortless upper register, extraordinary versatility and professionalism, Anson has remained an essential part of our company since his retirement as a singer, and served on the Opera Australia Board from 2005 to 2016, lending his expertise and experience to the company.
In this interview with our Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, Anson reflects on the highlights of his career, starting with his early days in New Zealand, discovering his voice as a high school student. He also discusses his experiences learning with legendary teacher Dominique Modesti and the secrets to longevity as a singer.
November 16, 2020
Chen Shi-Zheng is a visionary in the truest sense of the term. The Chinese-born director is known around the world for the extraordinary universes he brings to the stage in his deeply moving productions.
In this conversation with Opera Australia’s Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Chen reveals the life experiences that have influenced his unique perspective as a director. Starting with his turbulent childhood in China, Chen explains how he went from studying to be a Chinese opera singer to creating his own productions on the world stage. He also talks about his landmark production of the 22-hour Chinese epic The Peony Pavilion, and how it led him to direct Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
In 2021, Chen will become the first Chinese director to ever take on the Ring Cycle. In this conversation, he shares his vision for the production and the eclectic influences he’s drawing on to create a surprising new experience for audiences.
Chen also performs a popular Mongolian song, accompanied by Tahu Matheson.
November 9, 2020
Armenian-Australian singer Natalie Aroyan is one of the country’s leading sopranos, having taken on some of the biggest roles in the opera repertoire. But it wasn’t always her dream to be an opera star – instead, she had singers like Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Tina Arena in her sights.
In this fascinating conversation with Lyndon Terracini, Natalie reveals her journey from budding pop singer to centre stage at the Sydney Opera House. She talks about making her professional debut as Mimì in La Bohème, tackling the enormous demands of the title role in Aida, and learning her craft from opera world royalty.
Natalie’s roles at Opera Australia also include Desdemona (Otello), Micaëla (Carmen), Amelia Grimaldi (Simon Boccanegra) and Eva (Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg).
The conversation finishes with a special performance of ‘Krunk’ a song by Armenian composer Komitas, accompanied by Opera Australia’s Head of Music, Tahu Matheson.