What would you do differently from what you do now?
Most likely I’d be working as a investigative journalist or an celebrity cook or a combination of the two. (Corruption in camembert: an analysis)
Who inspires you and why?
I have, of course, idols in the classical singing world whom I admire, such as American soprano Lisette Oropesa. She reminds me of how much hard work goes into this job. But the people who inspire me the most are other singers my age or even slightly younger than me who are trying so hard to make it work. I need look no further than to the colleagues in my immediate vicinity to see resilience, personal sacrifice, determination and humility, especially during the past 18 months, and that inspires me to make the most of the opportunities I do have.
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Occasionally after performances, audience members approach me and express how meaningful the performance was to them. Perhaps they were having a particularly bad day and needed the escapism. Maybe they’ve recently lost a loved one and hearing live singing made them feel more connected to that person. Even if only one person experiences catharsis from my work, then I feel like I’m making a difference. As my career grows, I’d also hope to use my platform to promote music education in schools and to advocate for the continued representation of women in leadership in the opera world.
Favourite holiday destination and why?
Australia! It is always such a great joy to come home both for work and to relax. The air here is so crisp and clean, the climate so agreeable and, of course, the coffee…
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I’ve been spending a lot of time in Paris in the past few months as I just made my debut with the Opéra national de Paris. When friends come to town I take them on a walking tour, starting at Pont Neuf, walking up through the Marais, stopping for a coffee at the New Zealander-run Peloton cafe, continuing north past St Eustache (if it’s a Sunday, stopping in to hear the incredible titular organist (previously Jean Guillou and now François Olivier), then pick up pastries from the oldest patisserie in Paris, Stohrer. The Kouign-amann is a revelation. Then onwards along Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, stopping in at Le Bon Georges for lunch. I show them the wall of love, and we finally we end up at the Funiculaire, which takes us on the short ride up to Sacré-Coeur to watch the early winter sunset, ideally with a bottle of crémant on the steps. The best view of Paris. Then dinner in Montmartre followed by drinks in a fantastic little cocktail bar down a hidden path in the beautiful Hôtel Particulier before taking in a cabaret performance and many mouthfuls of saccharin cherry wine at the Lapin Agile.
What are you currently reading?
Two books: Fun home – a Family Tragicomic by feminist author Alison Bechdel (of the Bechdel Test fame) and occasionally when I really feel like punishing myself, Joyce’s Ulysses. The latter takes a sizeable chunk out of my luggage allowance. It’s also the perfect size to prop up my iPhone when watching Gossip Girl reruns on long haul flights.
What are you currently listening to?
Haydn symphonies, Händel’s Giulio Cesare, lots of Szymanowski, Phoebe Bridgers, Ashnikko and the soundtrack to season 4 of the Netflix Spanish high school drama Élite.
What does the future hold for you?
More of the same, I hope! Truly I do really love what I do and of course I think about wanting to ‘make it’ into the next echelon but I find that pursuit has no end point. If in 10 years I am still making music that I love with people I respect and care about, then I will be content. I’m also passionate about innovation in the field of opera and have my digits in several development pies. My next appearances include a concert of contemporary music with the Southwest Radio Orchestra Experimental Studio in Freiburg, my debut with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra in Israel and a gala at the Opéra de Dijon. Next year I will make my debut in The Marriage of Figaro at the Teatro Real in Madrid.
Alexandra will join rising star bass-baritone Jeremy Kleeman and pianist Amir Farid in recital with Duets in Song for Melbourne Digital Concert Hall on Tuesday 14 September. The 60-minute concert celebrates the Romantic era with music by Brahms, Schubert and Mendelssohn. For more information, visit: www.melbournedigitalconcerthall.com for details.
Image: Alexandra Flood (supplied)