On the Couch with Henry Choo

Henry Choo Arts Review On the CouchWho is Henry Choo?
I’m Henry Choo. I’m an opera singer, tenor, based in Melbourne having moved back from Sydney after a decade away from home. I began my association with opera as an Opera Australia extra-chorus singer in 2001 and made my operatic principal debut with Opera Queensland in 2004, followed by my Opera Australia principal debut in 2005.

I grew up in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne and remember a time when milk was delivered by horse and cart; 2 pint bottles for 40 cents, with cream on the top that we would scoop out and make into butter. I come from a family that isn’t particularly musical, yet my parents have surprisingly produced two children who have both pursued operatic careers, both as tenors.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
To be honest, I believe that the choices that I have made up until now have led me to where I am. To that end I wouldn’t change a thing, as doing so would lead to an altogether different outcome (Butterfly Effect).

Who inspires you and why?
Many people inspire me, from “famous” individuals to “everyday” personalities, too many to list. These people have diverse backgrounds and inspire me in different ways. I believe that their collective inspiration has helped guide the decisions that I have made thus far in life. To this day I continue to be inspired by even the smallest of gestures and simplest of moments.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
That’s a lot of pressure in a question! The way I try to make a difference is by sharing what I have learnt with others to help them reach their potential; be it in a teaching studio, a community orchestral setting, or when training my U/12 girls footy team. Seeing that I have made a positive difference in the lives of others is both humbling and rewarding.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Any camping (not “glamping”) destination is pretty hard to beat. I think it’s the “rawness” and getting back to basics that appeals to me. I like being able to take a temporary step back from the responsibilities of my usual life in favour of toasted marshmallows, swims in the creek, and not having to shower and shave for a couple of days!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I am fortunate to live in Melbourne – the food capital of Australia. Here, you can find anything and everything to suit any culinary taste or budget. So when my friends visit from interstate or overseas, you’ll likely find us at a favourite eatery or café, catching up on stories and news.

What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Edwin Black’s IBM And The Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation. I’m only a few chapters in, but I do find it a very confronting read.

What are you currently listening to?
I’m listening to Roberto Devereux, interspersed with episodes of the radio sitcom Cabin Pressure by John Finnemore.

Happiness is?
Knowing oneself and being at peace with it.

What does the future hold for you?
I don’t know. Can I take a peek?

Henry plays the titular role in Melbourne Opera’s production of Roberto Devereux at the Athenaeum Theatre until 18 November 2017. For more information, visit: www.melbourneopera.com for details.

Image: Henry Choo (supplied)

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