On the Couch with Andy Morton

Andy-Morton-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Andy Morton?
When I arrived from the UK in 2012, I gave up my singing career to concentrate on directing (and being a Dad!). I’ve been an Opera director for Opera Australia ever since, making my Opera House debut last year with a production of Bluebeard’s Castle. However, I have recently wound the clock back and I’m currently appearing as Monsieur André in The Phantom of the Opera, also at the Opera House. It’s been a real joy to be back treading the boards.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I’d like to have had the time and application to write more and be creative in that sphere. As they say, everyone has a book in them, but the only a few have the tenacity to sit down and tease it out. Directing operas requires substantial creative thought of course, but the time and financial constraints mean you have to roll with the moment and be flexible. It’s a more agile, present discipline which suits me. The book will have to wait…

Who inspires you and why?
My wife, Kelly, who has carved out a brilliant career in male dominated worlds like engineering, defence and power generation. She is the epitome of indefatigability and can-do spirit in a world that still needs to be shocked out of its degrading treatment of women.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
So many things, but it would be fun to raise funds and spend them on commercials and billboards undermining all the advertising messages that are thrown at us, unbidden, every day. Starting with gambling… why are our politicians so craven in the face of that lobby?

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Anywhere with my family: our kids are still young so we have these madcap adventures that can start whenever we leave our front door. Mind you, they are happiest in a pool, so that has to feature somewhere…

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
La Perouse, which is near to where we live. It’s seen such a huge variety of historical events sitting where it does on the north head of Botany Bay – from Cook’s landing point over in Kurnell, the French landings, Bare Island fort to its living history as the last Indigenous community in Sydney – and beautiful beaches all around.

What are you currently reading?
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. It’s such an imaginative tour de force. I was trying to get my daughter to read it, but I stole it back instead to read again…

What are you currently listening to?
It’s so enlightening finding out what the kids are picking up on at school. Without them I would never have discovered the new wave of Latino songwriters like Camilla Cabello and Olivia Rodrigo, or feisty feminists like Amy Shark, Julia Michaels and Meghan Trainor. Professionally, I am getting back to grips with Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte. It is a deeply misunderstood piece and is full of the most extraordinary musical and dramatic insights.

Happiness is?
Lots of friends and family round for a party – joyous laughter normally fuelled by Pimms and guacamole.

What does the future hold for you?
Phantom will be on tour in Melbourne til February and then I am heading off to Oman with Opera Australia in May 2023 to revive David McVicar’s production of Cosi, which will be a wonderful challenge. It’s a far cry from what I’m doing at the moment, but I love that variety in my working life.

Andy stars as Monsieur André in the new production of The Phantom of the Opera – which plays the State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne from 2 November 2022. For more information, visit: www.thephantomoftheopera.com for details.

Image: Andy Morton (supplied)