My family, although not very musical now, played a few instruments. My dad played the accordion by ear. I have a European background so music was always within our household. My mum, when I was about ten, decided that I’d been singing so much around the house, she put me into a choir and a bunch of other activities, but singing came through in the end!
I have performed many times in Canberra over the years. I have performed from Adelaide all the way up to Mt. Isa in The Magic Flute, on tour with Co-Opera from Adelaide. I think we did 28 shows in 27 places over seven weeks. We drove 14,000kms! I’ve done quite a bit of performing in Vienna but one of the most memorable performances I ever did was where I was given five weeks’ notice to sing the role of Dido in Dido and Aeneas. I think it was almost the last thing I did in Canberra before I moved to Vienna – and that was with the School of Music while I was doing my Masters.
I admire Maria Callas and not because she was the most fantastic singer. She technically struggled and she actually didn’t love singing. But what she brought to the stage - which is what I admire the most -was her humility, integrity, her character, and her honesty while performing the roles she became so famous for. That brought across - even though she wasn’t technically perfect - an emotional depth that you don’t witness often on stage these days. I always try to learn from that and bring honesty and integrity to my performances that way as well.
Over the past few years I’ve had a massive love/hate relationship with singing. You get to a point where you know you want to advance and you know you want to get better, but you really struggle to do that. I’ve never wanted to quit music but with my own personal singing, you get to a point where you plateau and that’s a psychological thing and a judgement thing. You judge yourself harder than everybody else is judging you and then it’s tricky to get over that step. But everyone goes through it. You have to so that you can become a better musician. I’ve never wanted to quit music but my focus changed from being a superstar performer to actually imparting what I’ve learnt, and helping others to put more music into their lives, to feel the power of music and to always love it.
Photo at top: Sonia Connor, Head of Choirs