On the Couch with Alexander Hargreaves

Opera-Australia-Alexander-HargreavesWho is Alexander Hargreaves?
I’m a baritone at Opera Australia. I grew up in Sydney and moved to London in my teens. I studied at the Royal College of Music before working at Glyndebourne where I met my wife. When we returned home I auditioned for OA and I’ve worked there ever since. I’m married to Amy Radford who is a Performance Psychologist (yes that comes in handy) and I’m the father of two gorgeously outspoken daughters.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Career-wise, my first job out of Uni was in A&R (Artists and Repertoire) for Naxos which was really interesting. Naxos was on a mission to record everything so I got to know music I might never have heard otherwise, mostly British composers like Alwyn, Howells, Stanford, Rubbra, Bax, Bliss… so I might have stayed in that area if I hadn’t become a singer.

Who inspires you and why?
My daughters. They learn so quickly and constantly amaze and delight me with how they see the world. I never realised before how living for someone else can be so much more inspiring than just living for yourself.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’d look at how the Arts can better support parents. It’s common knowledge that you have to sacrifice a lot to work in the Arts, but I think more can, and should, be done to support parents to remain in this industry. We work at hours when school and day-care is shut, it’s a constant juggle and I often see parents, especially Mothers, having to choose between a career in the Arts and being there for their kids. Many really great Artists quit or have to go part time to manage. Balancing a family and a career is tricky whatever you do, but I feel the Arts are really behind the curve on this issue. You shouldn’t have to choose, you should be able to do both.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Nelson Bay. I’ve been going up there since I was a kid and I return to the same place every year with my family. The Bay still retains a lot of its natural beauty, my daughters love it and it’s not overrun with tourists.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The Harbour. Balmoral’s a favourite spot, but also the ferry ride to Watsons Bay.

What are you currently reading?
James and the Giant Peach… but when I’m not reading to my 6-year-old I’ve been working my way through The Expanse Series by James S. A. Corey, currently I’m up to Persepolis Rising.

What are you currently listening to?
Philip Glass, Regina Spektor… and Play School on a loop in the car.

Happiness is?
A day out at the beach with my family, a relaxed lunch (which my youngest naps through!) and an ice cream by the water before heading to work to sing some beautiful music.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m currently singing Yamadori in Madama Butterfly on Sydney Harbour until 23 April, then I’m off on holiday… to Nelson Bay. After that I’m performing with OA in Melbourne where we’re performing Satyagraha and Tannhäuser. The score for Satyagraha is handwritten and impossible to read, but the music is sublime.

Alexander can be seen as Yamadori in Opera Australia’s production of Madama Butterfly on Sydney Harbour – currently playing at Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquaries Point until 23 April 2023. For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.

Image: Alexander Hargreaves – courtesy of Opera Australia