On the Couch with Andy Morton

Andy Morton AAR On the CouchWho is Andy Morton?
I work in opera. I was a singer for 20 years in the UK and when I moved here, I had very young children so I started directing so that I wasn’t out on tour. I had done quite a lot in my twenties so the skills were all there, hidden away and they weren’t too rusty. I have high energy and my glass is normally stuck firmly at half full, so my rehearsal room tends to be a relaxed environment where people work hard for each other because they’re enjoying themselves and they choose to; I’ve been blessed with strong family and strong values and I hope that comes through.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I wasted opportunities because I didn’t have the courage to prepare and make the best of what I was given instead of worrying about being the most fun person in the room.

Who inspires you and why?
People who are not necessarily the most talented but use their chutzpah, drive, bloody mindedness, and focus to become the best they can be at what they do, without losing the essential humanity of kindness and self-awareness. There are plenty of people like that in the arts and it’s an inspiring world to belong to.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I was privately educated beyond all initiative in a lovely school that for all its best intentions was racist, sexist and homophobic. It took me a good ten years to shed all that and the sense of entitlement that goes with it, and I fear for our future when so many of our young minds are still privately educated. It is a great evil and I would ban it.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Anywhere with my family and friends. Games, walks, and tons of noise, banter, laughter and love. If you’ve got all that it doesn’t matter where you are.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Little Bay beach. It’s so pretty and calming.

What are you currently reading?
4321 by Paul Auster. It’s one of those books that appears easy to read but it’s playing with your mind…

What are you currently listening to?
Quite a lot of Boheme of course. Different conductors have given so many different interpretations over the years that any one recording can enlighten you to a dramatic possibility that is reaching out through the music. You just have to open your ears to it. Opera is not just a libretto set to music. The music interprets it and gives it an extra dimension.

Happiness is?
Time with my wife and kids and showing them off to my friends and family. With added pinot noir and French cheese.

What does the future hold for you?
Who knows? One of my faults is living too much in the moment and not planning, but I find it best to do that or you forget to appreciate it. More productions of my own hopefully. I’m going to learn so much on this one, it would be a shame not to put it to further use and try and “contribute a verse” to this great artform.

Andy will be directing a new production of Puccini’s La Boheme as part of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: 23 March – 22 April 2018. For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.

Image: Andy Morton – courtesy of Opera Australia

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