What would you do differently to what you do now?
I was quite a chemistry geek in school, so I would have loved to do research! I also love psychology, I read a lot on this subject and I started studying it properly, but there was no time to do it in parallel with my singing career.
Who inspires you and why?
I am very much inspired by anyone who can totally immerse themselves in what they do. The aura that people have when they surrender to their talent or passion is absolutely magnetic to me. Whenever I am around someone like that in a production, it brings me to another level, both mentally and artistically.
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I find that this idea can be a bit overwhelming sometimes, but I think kindness and consideration go a long way. I believe that it is essential for me to be aware of my impact as a human being and as an artist, and this is reflected in the interactions with people everyday and with the audience when I am performing. The power of music and the emotions that it awakens can change people’s minds, hearts and energy. If I do my job well, if I am open emotionally and I manage to tell a story, people leave the theatre happier, more generous and inspired and hopefully they pass it on. I only wish that this art form could reach a wider audience.
Favourite holiday destinations and why?
Anywhere I can hike, swim and eat great food! I love remote, authentic places.
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to and why?
In Hamburg, where I currently live, I would take them rowing on the Alster lake, it is gorgeous to meander down the canals on a sunny day!
What are you currently reading?
I am reading Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Timothy Ferriss. It is such an inspirational book! I love to know what drives people, what keeps them balanced and what lessons they learned throughout their lives. I am also reading Man and his Symbols by Carl Jung. It is fascinating insight into how our subconscious works and how it interacts with our awareness.
What are you currently listening to?
I always listen to great singers!
Being surrounded with loved ones, sharing beautiful moments with them. Also, the feeling of timelessness on stage. I love how music can suspend time, it is something that everyone on stage, in the orchestra pit and in the audience create together, it is magical how this connection is established.
What does the future hold for you?
I am looking forward to many exciting projects, both in my personal and my professional life. One of the biggest highlights will be making my debut as Violetta Valéry in La Traviata. It is so satisfying to sing a role in which the musical complexity is equal to the dramatic depth of character on such a high and refined level. I also like surprises, so I hope the future will bring some nice ones!
Iulia Maria Dan stars as Mimi in Opera Australia’s Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour – La Boheme, which premieres on Friday 23 March, and plays to 22 April 2018. For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.
Image: Iulia Maria Dan – photo by Kartal Karagedik