Who is Antoinette Halloran?
Who am I? In the words of Marvin Hamlisch – “I, I am a singer… that’s what I am, what I do!” Well, the real words in the song are dancer, but i fear that would be overstating THAT talent here!! To my bones, I am a singer. It has taken me a long time to own that, particularly in the last 10 years when our national opera company has really turned it’s back on Australian based artists. I could have done a law degree, (I am no academic slouch), and I suppose I could have been many things, but the inner voice has always drawn me to sing. Despite long pauses in betwee gigs, and having to waitress and pull beers as all my clever friends kicked academic goals and reached career highs. Art isn’t an easy career, nor a fair one, but if it calls you, there really is no other road to travel!
What would you do differently from what you do now?
When I won the Puccini Award and went to Italy, I was performing roles at the prestigious Torre Del Lago theatre located on the lake where Puccini had his villa. I knew if I stayed in Italy, my career would have been busy and exciting. The work was rolling in steadily. However I had a broken marriage and a young son back in Australia, so I needed to return to be with him. I traveled home, away from an operatic landscape that I believe would have been rich and fulfilling. However, I would never change anything I have done, as in those sliding door moments, I may have missed the chance to mother my two children. At the end of the day, I would let great opportunitues go into the ether, as long as my babies were born just as they are. And as long as I was with them along their way.
Who inspires you and why?
Artists who push boundaries, defy stereotypes and are brave. These artists are the ones whose work is evangelical. The ones who will keep the artform alive. I like the noisey artist in the rehearsal room – the one who questions, suggests ideas and inspires others to think beyond just their own performance. To make the whole work sing – not just their individual role.
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Get more women to run the place. Sorry gents – but you have had your go… and you have pretty much ballsed it up.
Favourite holiday destination and why?
We (my family) are off to NYC in July. We are going to see shows, eat hot dogs, climb tall buildings, sunbake in Central Park, thrift shop and finish the day with a cocktail in a classic bar, perhaps with live jazz. In the words of Jane Austen…“I am all anticipation!”
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I would take them to see The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny playing at the Athenaem Theatre! I would say to them, “here is something quintessentially Melbourne… a group of LOCAL artists creating a fabulous work in an historic Melbourne Theatre, with NO government funding!! Art that is home grown, unpretentious, affordable to all, and deeply, darkly funny!”
What are you currently reading?
Rereading Middlemarch by George Eliot… the best book of all time. And also a book by Rufus Hallmark on the Schumann song cycle, Frauenliebe und leben.
What are you currently listening to?
My 12 year old daughter and I are obsessed with the TV musical series, SMASH. It is very Broadway and we love the soundtrack. We are planning our own SMASH tour of NYC, so we are rewatching it and writing down all the addresses to visit in July! Such dags!
The sound of rain on my tin roof in the middle of the night, when I know my kids are okay, and we are all fed and warm. I wish everyone could feel this, in the world…
What does the future hold for you?
que sera, sera… what ever will be, will be… xxx
Antoinette can be seen as Jenny Hill in Melbourne Opera’s production of The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny – currently playing at the Athenaeum Theatre until 5 May 2022. For more information, visit: www.melbourneopera.com for details.
Image: Antoinette Halloran (supplied)