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The globetrotting opera star returns home for WA Opera’s production of Faust. She
tells us how a girl from the ‘burbs became one of the country’s most lauded musicians.
So, how did you get into opera in the first place? We can’t say that we watched
a whole lot of arias on rage when we were growing up in Perth...
Yep, I grew up with very different music! I’d never even heard an opera until I was
at university. One of the first productions I saw was Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro.
I remember being completely entranced, and when Susanna sang her famous aria
“Deh vieni, non tardar” I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard.
You’re back in town for Faust. What are you looking forward to about being home?
Working away from home so often means that for me, the simple act of commuting
to the city, rehearsing all day at His Majesty’s, and then coming home to share dinner
with my family is a real treat. Plus, my friends get to come along and cheer. I love
performing in Perth – it’s a real privilege.
Can you share a memory of your favourite perfor mance?
One of my favourite memories would be the iconic performances of Theodora I was
in at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in the UK. It was my first contract as a young singer,
at one of the world’s great opera houses. A new production, by the splendid and
controversial director Peter Sellars, performed by an all-star cast, and conducted by
Bill Christie. I worked alongside inspirational musicians, and it changed my life as
a singer – from feeling like it was something I really enjoyed, to an understanding that
it was art and expression of the highest worth, and I was compelled to pursue it.
We think it’s pretty challenging just watching a three-hour opera performance,
let alone perfor ming in one! Could you share some of the more challenging
aspects of being an opera singer?
It’s very like being a professional athlete, with all the training, discipline, performance
under pressure, of only being as good as your last performance, having to go on
even if you’re unwell. However, in my experience the most challenging aspect is not
working at all. At the end of the day, it’s not just a job, it’s part of who I am.
We reckon the most cooperating we did with our siblings growing up was occasionally
splitting a Twin Pole, so you can imagine we’re regretting that pretty hard with the
announcement of this show. The Eggner brothers are lauded classical musicians,
who return to Australia with this program of pieces by Brahms, Holland and Clara
Schumann, showcasing their deft technical skills, and their intuitive playing style. Which
is good and everything, but we bet all that violin practice left no time for bombie
competitions. Priorities, right?! Perth Concert Hall, Nov 17.
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