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In Conversation with Lyndon Terracini
28 minutes | Jun 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.
16 minutes | Jun 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.
23 minutes | 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.
28 minutes | Nov 15, 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.
50 minutes | May 16, 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”.
12 minutes | May 9, 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.
12 minutes | May 2, 2021
If you don’t work in the theatre, stage management can be a bit of a mysterious art. Garry Alcorn is one of our stage managers at Opera Australia, responsible for ensuring that our performances go off without a hitch. He’s responsible for calling hundreds of cues every night, for lighting, sets, sound, cast and much more. In this interview with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Garry explains the work of a stage manager, his unusual musical background, and why stage management results in premature greying. He also talks about how he was personally responsible for bringing Opera Australia to his home town of Murwillumbah in northern NSW.
16 minutes | Apr 29, 2021
UK-born director Andy Morton has worked with us since 2013, when he assisted Gale Edwards on her celebrated production of La Bohème. Since then, he's been revival and assistant director on many of our most popular productions and in 2018 created a new production of La Bohème for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. In 2021, he returns to Opera Australia to create a new production of Béla Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle, our first ever production of the curious and mysterious masterpiece. In this interview with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Morton talks about how he's approaching this incredibly beautiful but difficult opera with a 21st century lens, as well as how he came to work at Opera Australia.
26 minutes | Apr 18, 2021
Since launching his own company less than a decade ago, Michael Cassel has become one of Australia’s most influential and visionary theatre producers. The Michael Cassel Group has been responsible for award-winning local productions such as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Kinky Boots, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and Les Misérables. Cassel is currently gearing up for the Australian premiere of Broadway juggernaut Hamilton, the most celebrated musical of the last decade. In this conversation with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Cassel reflects on the 1992 production of Jesus Christ Superstar which inspired him to enter the world of showbusiness, the enormous Christmas carols event he produced when he was just 15 years old, and learning his trade working for Disney. He also talks about the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, starting his own company, and his plans for the future.
20 minutes | Apr 11, 2021
Hon. Anna Bligh AC
Anna Bligh made history in 2009 when she became the first woman popularly elected as Premier of an Australian state. For almost five years she served as the Premier of Queensland and achieved much for her people in that time. She was also a staunch advocate for the arts in her state, taking on the Arts Ministry and overseeing a major period of transformation for the state’s major cultural institutions. In this interview with our Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini, Bligh talks about what’s required for a government to commit to supporting the arts, building Brisbane’s ambitious Gallery of Modern Art, and bringing both Mikhail Gorbachev and the Paris Opera Ballet to Queensland.
17 minutes | Apr 5, 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.
15 minutes | Mar 28, 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.
34 minutes | Mar 21, 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.
18 minutes | Mar 16, 2021
Tony David Cray
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.
13 minutes | Mar 7, 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”.
16 minutes | Feb 28, 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.
27 minutes | Feb 21, 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.
20 minutes | Feb 21, 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.
10 minutes | Feb 21, 2021
Emma Matthews, Jonathan Summers and Brian Castles-Onion
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.
11 minutes | Feb 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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