What would you do differently from what you do now?
I would love to just sing more! Covid has definitely shown all of us in the arts just how precious it is to be able to do what we love for a living.
Who inspires you and why?
I have received some incredible support from some extraordinary singers who I’ve worked with and understudied, including Stefan Vinke, Amber Wagner and Lise Lindstrom. They have all been really generous with me in different ways, including Stefan inviting me to the Bayreuther Festspiele in 2019, sharing advice with me from across the world, helping with vocal technique, language and interpretation, and introducing me to key people across the industry. I have learned so much from them, musically, professionally and personally.
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I love thinking about what I’d do if I were Prime Minister for a day (I have quite a list)! One of the first things I would do would be to give all primary school children in Australia a free, high-quality musical education. Music has enriched my life unendingly and it does such incredible things for kids’ brains.
Favourite holiday destination and why?
Vienna! I have always loved it. I studied Viennese history and literature at Uni, and have lived there a few times, most recently in 2017. There is so much to do, and the city and its surrounds are incredibly beautiful. Some of my favourite things are the Saturday fresh food markets at Yppenplatz, the Leopold Museum in MQ, the Stadtwanderwege – the City Hiking Paths – through the Vienna Woods, the hills and vineyards around the city, all of the cool Beisls and restaurants, especially in the 8th district, and the culture – including the Staatsoper of course!
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
In Sydney, definitely the harbour and the Opera House. I’d start on a ferry in Balmain, travel to Circular Quay and then out to Rose Bay or Watson’s Bay and back again, stopping off for coffee, food, drinks and walks as the mood takes us! That way you see the bridge, the Opera House and the harbour from all sorts of angles and in different lights.
What are you currently reading?
I’m really enjoying Girl, Woman Other by Bernadine Evaristo at the moment. The preparation for the Ring is never ending, so I also have Alex Wood’s Wagnerism, Bryan Magee’s The Tristan Chord and the classic Inner Game of Music at the top of my pile of things to read before rehearsals start again in 2023.
What are you currently listening to?
I was lucky enough to speak with Dame Anne Evans about preparing Brünnhilde, so I have been listening to the Barenboim – Bayreuth Ring lately. I also love all of the Nilsson and Flagstad recordings, and the Boulez centenary Ring.
Friends, family, food, wine, making and sharing music – or more preferably, a combination of those!
What does the future hold for you?
Covid-permitting, lots and lots of singing! I’m thrilled to be making my role debut in Turandot on 9 February until 14 March. And I can’t wait for our new Ring to finally happen in 2023 after so long.
Anna-Louise will make her role debut playing the titular role in Opera Australia’s production of Turandot from 9 February in the Joan Sutherland Theatre – Sydney Opera House. For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.
Image: Anna-Louise Cole (supplied)