On the Couch with Douglas Kelly

Douglas Kelly AAR On the CouchWho is Douglas Kelly?
A Victorian-based tenor currently employed full-time at Victorian Opera as a part of their Opera Prize for 2024, generously donated by Michael Stubbs and Malcolm Roberts.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Although hospitality is usually the proverbial placeholder whilst performers find their way to the stage, I still have an enduring love for wine, food, serving and hosting. If I were to do something else, it would ideally be in that domain. Melbourne is an unrivalled backdrop when you’re a gastronomy lover and although the food scene is also notoriously difficult, I’d attempt to find a niche within it.

Who inspires you and why?
Two names spring to mind; both outside the domain of music. I’m inspired by writer and meditation-endorser Sam Harris, whose clear thinking and commitment to ethics has often influenced my way of thinking and living life. In creative terms, I often charge my inspiration up through the words and poems of David Whyte, who seems to be able to stand outside himself when breaking down the thoughts, intentions and actions of himself, or other people.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’m a big believer in starting ‘close in’ when it comes to making differences. I currently try to make the best of the time with the people in my immediate circle (be it with friends/family/colleagues), with honesty as the metric by which I judge a relationship. If I were to consider something broader? I might encourage that everyone in the world interrogate their first reaction, before proceeding with any action.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Anywhere with sun or great food. Although honestly, any place that my wife and I go together.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
In Melbourne, there’s less of one ‘attraction’, so much as the general vibrancy of the culture. We recently had my dad in town and I took him to a brewery to begin, then an AFL game at the MCG, before a gastro pub for dinner and a concert the next day. Why do one thing when you can have it all?

What are you currently reading?
A non fiction and fiction to keep balance. I’m reading a history of the Tudors as well as possibly my favourite author; J.M. Coetzee’s Summertime.

What are you currently listening to?
Although it’s a constant rolodex of music, here’s what springs to mind; When exercising; Architects | When relaxing; Caroline Polachek | For work; Schubert’s Winterreise.

Happiness is?
For me? Closeness (which equates to time spent) with family, well-chosen friends and a balancing of labour and life.

What does the future hold for you?
In the immediate future, I am hoping to continue this wonderful year with Victorian Opera, performing mainstage roles as well as a smattering of passion projects throughout. More broadly, I hope that I’m given as much time and opportunity as possible to pursue meaningful creative projects, both locally and abroad, whilst discovering the potential of my voice and stagecraft.

Douglas can be seen in Malcolm Williamson’s English Eccentrics – which will be presented by Victorian Opera at the Union Theatre – University of Melbourne from 4 – 6 July 2024. For more information, visit: www.victorianopera.com.au for details.

Image: Douglas Kelly (supplied)