On the Couch with Daniel Sumegi

Daniel Sumegi AAR On the CouchWho is Daniel Sumegi?
Daniel Sumegi is the son of an Australian/Polish mother and a Hungarian immigrant father, I’m also the grandson of an Auschwitz survivor. I grew up at Bondi Beach, attending a Christian Brothers High School. Having been bitten by the theatre bug at 5 – I adored my music classes, and the school’s music mistress spotted something in me some years later, becoming somewhat of a mentor. Having set myself some lofty goals even then, I skipped university and embarked on a career in opera. I’ve been a professional singer since I was 23, and here I still am, over 30 years later, with a name for myself on the international opera circuit. Amazing, really!

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Actually, nothing. I am doing exactly what I wanted from the age of 16. I am a lucky man.

Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired every day by people who overcome appalling adversity, and go on to change lives, always striving for success and the betterment of others.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Ah, the 64 billion-dollar question! I hope by contributing some joy though glorious musical experiences that people feel uplifted and moved. But changing the world? If I had magical powers, I’d eliminate poverty, ignorance and injustice. That’s not asking too much, is it?

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Hawaii is paradise; but, travelling all year for work, my favourite holiday destination is home, since I enjoy it so infrequently. There is nothing quite like a ‘staycation’.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
My town is New York, so depending on their interests there is literally something for everyone. My inclination is usually to steer them to the best Broadway shows currently running.

What are you currently reading?
I am currently researching the myths and legends which informed Wagner’s operas.

What are you currently listening to?
Sweeney Todd… and a Wagner opera I am preparing for next year.

Happiness is?
Happiness is being invited to take part in my first professional Musical Theatre production. It was my first dream over 40 years ago, even before I knew about opera, and I am thrilled to finally be allowed to play in this sandpit for a few weeks, with the absolute AAA team imaginable.

What does the future hold for you?
More musicals I hope! What a blast that would be. Bucket list item – tick.

Daniel stars as Judge Turpin in TEG Life Like Company’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at Darling Harbour Theatre, ICC Sydney (13 – 16 June) and Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne (20 – 23 June). For more information, visit: www.lifelikecompany.com for details.

Image: Daniel Sumegi (supplied)