On the Couch with Bronwyn Douglass

Opera-Australia-Bronwyn-DouglassWho is Bronwyn Douglass?
I am a young dramatic soprano living in Sydney, originally from Milton on the south coast of New South Wales. I am making my main-stage principal debut with Opera Australia performing the role of Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, opening 5 January 2023. 

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I would stress less. It is easy to get bogged down in the hustle of every day, but I am so lucky to do something that I love. I want to enjoy every moment.

Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by all my colleagues at Opera Australia. In the past I would have said I was inspired by a singer’s artistry, beauty of sound and ability to touch the audience. I am inspired by all those things, but working with Opera Australia since 2020, I have seen an incredible amount of strength, resilience, dedication, compassion and kindness. 

From the outside you see the big machine that is Opera Australia, but from the inside you see all the working parts. You see the friends giving each other debut gifts, you see the quiet words of encouragement, you see the celebration when something’s gone well, you see the crowd of support when someone’s having a hard time. It’s beautiful, and it inspires me to be better in all aspects of my life, I love that. 

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I would promote music education and live performance. Music education played such an important role in my young life. I want to pay that forward and create the supportive and creative environment that I was lucky enough to experience. I would also want to find ways to encourage live performance, whether it be supporting existing companies or creating something new. 

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Taormina – I spent the day there when I was doing an opera training program in Sicily, and I have always wanted to go back. The town is set on a hill, at the top you can find Teatro Antico di Taormina, an ancient Greco-­Roman amphitheatre still used for performance today. The middle of the hill is a beautiful historic town and then you can jump on a cable car down to the beach. It’s just the perfect mix of everything you want in a holiday destination. 

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The Sydney Opera House is always a must. We either head to Opera Bar or over to the Botanic Gardens to enjoy a picnic in the sun with the beautiful backdrop, it never gets old. 

What are you currently reading?
I always have multiple books going at once. For a fun read I’ve just picked up Kerry Greenwood’s latest Phryne Fisher, I’m also reading Mozart’s Women by Jane Glover as some background reading for my upcoming debut and I’m listening to Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer on audiobook. 

What are you currently listening to?
My music tastes are quite eclectic. I am currently listening to Wagner’s Tannhäuser conducted by Daniel Barenboim, but when I’m having a bit of fun, I love to listen to Lizzo, or electro-swing band Tape Five. 

Happiness is?
Being on stage. I love almost everything about my work, but the thrill of performing live has to be one of the biggest highs. Time seems to distort, minutes can feel like hours and hours can feel like minutes. You are completely in the moment, and I love the feeling of committing to every action and thought. It’s so rewarding. 

What does the future hold for you?
I am thrilled to be continuing my work with Opera Australia including covering my first Wagner role, Sieglinde in The Ring Cycle in Brisbane later this year. I always enjoy learning new roles and working hard, so I look forward to seeing what the future brings.  

Bronwyn stars as Donna Elvira in Opera Australia’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni – which will play in the Joan Sutherland Theatre – Sydney Opera House from 5 January 2023. For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.

Image: Bronwyn Douglass – courtesy of Opera Australia