On the Couch with Dimity Shepherd

AAR Dimity Shepherd - photo by Martin PhilbeyWho is Dimity Shepherd?
I’m a Melbourne based Mezzo soprano. I am passionate about singing and exploring the world through the eyes of the characters I play. I spend my recreational time dancing modern samba for pleasure and exercise and indulging in my obsession for textiles and fashion. I’m messy, friendly, not very practical, and I really just want to hang out with my friends enjoying a beautiful glass of wine. I’m people smart but I have a terrible memory for names.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I don’t believe in regrets. I am not someone who has ever had a 5-year plan or strived for a particular goal. I think I have often just enjoyed the now and thought the future would always take care of itself. This is perhaps naive, but it’s also given me a lot of joy in the moment. Still, if I could go back I possibly would have taken some advice I shrugged off at the time. Learning languages young would be an example!!!

Who inspires me and why?
There is inspiration everywhere. As a singer I look to artists from many different genres.  I grew up on a diet of classic jazz greats, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, people like that. I played in a rock band when I was a kid and adored performing Divinyls covers, then I was introduced to classical singing. I remember being struck to the core when I first heard the Four Last Songs by Strauss. I bought every recording of it I could find to compare the singers. Then I discovered Callas and devoured everything I could find about her, recordings, biographies, photos, you name it.

Right now, as a singer I’m inspired by the singers I’m working with in Lorelei, Antoinette Halloran and Ali McGregor. Like me they don’t like to fit in a box. They are so brave in their choices, both on the stage and in life. I’ve known them for years and watched them develop as artists. They really are powerful women with big hearts. I am honoured to be in their company. I admire their determination as well as their work. They are in many ways a good lesson for me!

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Gosh. I wish I could say I’m saving the world. It’s such a troubled place. Truthfully, I feel pretty powerless about the big stuff. I’m not proud of that, but there it is. What I can say is I try to live gently and to show care and love to those around me. I believe in treating others with dignity and respect. I think kindness is always a good thing and the world needs more of it. I am proud to be involved with music. I know it’s not curing cancer, but it does bring out our humanity. That’s what I strive for, but I’m certainly not perfect. A work in progress!!!

Favourite holiday destination and why?
There are many, but there are reoccurring themes. Beach, beach, beach, trees, nature, oh yes and margaritas!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to and why?
I think Melbourne has some of the best food! I would take them to my favourite eateries. Breakfast at Mixed Business, lunch at Tahina, dinner at Embla, drinks at Bar Liberty. That’s just the first day!

What are you currently reading?
Far from the Madding Crowd. An oldie but a goodie.

What are you currently listening to?
PBS radio. You never know what you’re going to get but it’s usually wonderful, or at least interesting. Mz Rizk you rock!

Happiness is?
Working in an opera. Oh, and new shoes!

What does the future hold for you?
I really don’t know, but with tenacity and good will I approach it filled with hope.

Dimity stars with Antoinette Halloran and Ali McGregor in Victorian Opera’s production of Lorelei – at The Coopers Malthouse for a limited season from 3 November 2018. For more information, visit: www.victorianopera.com.au for details.

Image: Dimity Shepherd – photo by Martin Philbey