July 26, 2021
The Honourable Don Harwin MLC has served as New South Wales’ Minister for the Arts since the start of 2017, and has overseen some significant chapters in the state’s artistic life. Harwin was born into a musical household and that great love of music has propelled him through his career.
In this interview with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Harwin talks about his ambitious plan to create a new hub in Sydney of rehearsal spaces, recording spaces and recital spaces for orchestras, particularly young and emerging orchestras. He also talks about his vision for the future of the arts in New South Wales and Australia, and the social goods performed by the arts.
July 19, 2021
Simon Mordant AO is one of Australia’s leading champions of the arts and philanthropists. An investment banker by trade, Mordant has served on the boards of many of the country’s major arts companies and has been key to the success of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art. He has had a 30-year association with the museum, and provided essential support for the expansion and redevelopment which as seen it become the most-visited contemporary art museum in the world.
In this interview with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Mordant explains where his passion for the arts comes from and the role of a board at a major arts company. He also reflects on the way through the COVID crisis for Australian arts companies.
July 11, 2021
The Honourable Paul Fletcher MP has served as Australia’s Minister for Arts since 2019, and has seen the sector through the immense challenges of 2020. His passion for the arts stretches back to his university days, when he co-wrote several plays, including The Fax of Life with co-creator of ABC’s Rake, Peter Duncan and former Opera Australia CEO Craig Hassall.
In this conversation with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Minister Fletcher reflects on Australia’s artistic spirit, the rationales for funding the arts, how technology can make the arts more accessible to more Australians, and how the arts intersects with other areas of his portfolio: communications, urban infrastructures and cities.
July 6, 2021
The Honourable Bronwyn Bishop AO is known to Australians as a veteran of politics, but in this interview with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, she reveals her artistic side. When Bishop was growing up, her mother was a dramatic operatic soprano, who taught her how to sing. Bishop recalls that she made her professional singing debut at the age of eight and has even performed a few duets with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
She also shares stories from her time in Australian politics, as the longest-serving female member of the House of Representatives, and explains the role music has played in her career.
June 14, 2021
Lighting guru John Rayment has created designs for events of all scales and styles over the course of his career, ranging from intimate dance works all the way to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. His work for Opera Australia includes several iterations of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, our enduring production of La Bohème, and our 2013 Ring Cycle. He’s returning in 2021 to create a bold new lighting design for Bluebeard’s Castle and our new Ring Cycle in Brisbane.
In this conversation with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, John talks about the enormous technical challenges of the Sydney 2000 Olympics ceremonies, as well as creating Hong Kong: A Symphony of Lights, the world’s largest permanent light show. He also talks about his plans for Bluebeard’s Castle and the Ring Cycle.
June 7, 2021
Italian-born composer and conductor Andrea Molino has had a fabulously diverse career, working in major opera houses across the world. He's conducted productions for us including Wozzeck, The Nose, King Roger, Carmen and La Bohème, and is soon to return with Bluebeard's Castle.
His work as a composer includes a number of large-scale music and theatre projects performed across the world, such as Those Who Speak in a Faint Voice, Credo and Winners. Molino was also the Artistic Director of Fabrica Musica, the music department of the Italian communication research centre, Fabrica.
In this interview with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Molino talks about how his work as a conductor and composer intersects, reflects on his large-scale projects, and explains why he's excited to join our production of Bluebeard's Castle.
May 31, 2021
Renato Palumbo made his debut at just 18 years of age, conducting a full performance of Verdi’s Il Trovatore. It was an auspicious start for the Italian conductor, who would go on to become one of the world’s leading Verdi conductors.
Since then, Palumbo has worked with most of the world’s great opera companies, including the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, where he was appointed Music Director, and Opera Australia, having conducted our productions of Attila, Anna Bolena, Rigoletto, Verdi’s Requiem, La Traviata and Simon Boccanegra.
In 2021, Palumbo conducted our production of Ernani. In this conversation with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Palumbo talks about tackling Verdi’s breakthrough opera for a contemporary audience, and what he learns from conducting Verdi every day. He also talks about his extraordinary debut and what drew him to music in the first place.
May 24, 2021
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.
Later this year, 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.
May 17, 2021
Known best for his performance as Javert in the original Australian cast, the complete symphonic recording and 10th anniversary gala concert of Les Misérables, Philip has worked on some of the world’s most prestigious stages in both plays and musicals. He has won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical three times and is the only actor to have achieved this feat.
Philip’s career is extraordinary eclectic; he spent 16 years as a presenter on Play School, has appeared in plays for Australia’s biggest theatre companies, and even starred as Georges Seraut in the London premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George. He has recently been working with opera singers from our Young Artist Program, helping them unlock their dramatic talents and bring their characters to life.
In this interview with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Philip talks about juggling Les Misérables, Play School and home renovations, and why a team of actors and creative talents are more like an NRL team than you might imagine. He recalls some pivotal performances and explains why a “warm down” might be even more important for a singer than a “warm up”.
May 10, 2021
Melbourne-born tenor Nick Jones is quickly developing a fabulous career in opera, but it was through musical theatre that he first worked with Opera Australia. In 2012, he appeared in the ensemble of our production of South Pacific, but soon found himself drawn towards opera. Since then, he’s performed roles in a wide range of operas, and recently won the Green Room Award for his portrayal of David in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
In this conversation with Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, Nick talks about learning his craft on our regional tour, perfecting the art of the good bow, and the differences between performing in long-running musicals and opera.
He also performs the Serenade from The Student Prince, accompanied by Tahu Matheson.