On the Couch with Eddie Muliaumaseali’i

Eddie Muliaumaseali'i Arts Review On the CouchWho is Eddie Muliaumaseali’i?
A New Zealander of Samoan descent and Australian citizen who happens to sing operatic bass roles in the German, French and Italian languages. I am often asked this question at opera functions etc. “Where are your people from?” My response is “Earth”. Who am I? A singing earthling.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Well, probably exercise a bit more and practice my singing. You can never have too much practice. Exercise? Maybe a little.

Who inspires you and why?
A number of people have been my inspirations. My brother Sani who is a singer, composer, director and choreographer. He’s always had a passion for the arts and I followed him into the industry. The many students he has worked with in workshops, directing new operas at schools with Opera Express and WotOpera. The students inspire me through their ability to break through their fears and inhibitions and create music and perform in front of their peers and an audience. But, I’m also inspired by the capacity for kindness and love that people have shown towards me in my life. I guess this inspires me the most. Family, friends, love. Being surrounded by this has always been inspiring.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I have seen cruelty and racism both personally and directed at others. I have been witness to many forms of bigotry in my life. I believe these are tools used by various groups of society in order to achieve whatever aims they want in life. Power, wealth, influence, etc. It’s a tactic as old as every civilisation. Divide people in order to maintain status quo. In this way, the world is set -up to always be marginalise. What is also as old as all civilisation is love. I can’t change the world or make a difference to the world but I can make a difference to the my immediate circle of influence. My family, friends, people I meet through work. This my world. How can I make a difference in this world? By living in love and not fear. It’s a big answer but it’s a big question.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Holiday? I’m a freelance opera singer. We don’t get holidays. When we aren’t working it’s called unemployment. I haven’t had a holiday in 30 years. But, my work has taken me to great places on the globe. New York, Innsbruck, Hawaii, London, Paris, all over NZ and Australia. I have clocked up over 250,000 klms around Oz in various Opera tours.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Melbourne city is wonderful. A vibrant arts culture with great galleries, theatres, markets and rich cultures. We’d do all of them. Footscray, Victoria, Prahran, South Melbourne, and Camberwell markets. Diverse and so much to see. The MCG is great to take in a footy match especially if the Tigers are playing because they have the best song. A walk around the city itself. and then into the Botanic Gardens. Catching a tram to St. Kilda or Port Melbourne. We would finish off the day at my favourite family owned Italian restaurant, La Lucciola. Aunty cooking in the kitchen, son outfront knowing all the eighties songs I grew up with and good food. Melbourne isn’t one attraction, it’s everything.

What are you currently reading?
My script – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I haven’t done a play before so this is a huge leap out of my comfort zone. I’m also reading a german translation of my next opera, Lohengrin. But, it’s all about the play at the moment so I’m just constantly going over the script.

What are you currently listening to?
Wagner – Lohengrin. I’m singing the role of the King in August for Melbourne Opera. It’s a monster of a piece!

Happiness is?
Sharing time with loved ones and sharing love with them in that time. A good friend told me about the time his father died. His dad would always say to his mum, “I love you “. His dad said this to his mum just before he went to bed. “I love you”. His father passed away in his sleep. My friend said it was a happy story because the last moments she shared with him was him sharing his love for her. Happiness is many things and sharing love is definitely one of them.

What does the future hold for you?
Doing my best for this great company I’m working for at the moment. Giving my all to contribute to this play. It’s an honour to be asked to play a role as an actor. My future is still being written. I’ve been a professional opera singer for thirty years now. My window for future opportunities is getting smaller. We all get old. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just nature. We are only as good as our last performance and it’s competitive (and luck too!). So, I’m going to make the most of the window while I still can. In this life as a singer, I’ve met so many wonderful people all over the world, and many have become as precious as family. My past, present and future is family, friends and song. This is true joy and is timeless.

Eddie is currently appearing in Monster Media’s production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the Southbank Theatre until 11 June 2017. For more information, visit: www.mtc.com.au for details.

Image: Eddie Muliaumaseali’i (supplied)