On the Couch with Greta Bradman

Greta Bradman Arts Review On the CouchWho is Greta Bradman?
A dreamer, and a doer. I dream of a full-time life in rural Australia with a big veggie garden, some chooks and a house cow, and lots of music and backyard sport. I grew up on a farm – we bred shorthorn cattle and Welsh Cobs (horses) as well as having chooks, pigeons etc. and I’d love that sort of childhood for my kids. It’s not going to happen but we spend some time out that way! Who am I? A mum, wife, friend, opera singer, ABC Classic FM presenter and broadcaster, clinical psychologist.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Umm… Actually I know – I’d be better at remembering to turn my phone off silent when I emerge from a rehearsal / studio session / meeting.

Who inspires you and why?
Anyone who can be in the moment with what they’re doing, without judgment and with an open and compassionate heart. You know that thing where you meet someone and you think “wow, that person is really great at listening and really being ‘present’ in an open way” – when I come across that I find it so energizing and inspiring. Gosh, there are other things too but I’ll leave it at that. As for naming individuals, we’d be here all day!

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
One of the things I love doing is incorporating positive psychological interventions.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
My first inclination is to say the family farm where I grew up – it’s the best place in the world! Having said that, Central Australia blows me away. I find it so humbling and awe inspiring. The local Indigenous people are so warm and welcoming and it feels like stepping into the heart of Australia being there. I’m singing near Uluru for the first time this year, and I can’t wait!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I live in Melbourne and when friends come to town I love taking them down the alleyways to some delicious coffee roaster and café. If there’s time and they have kids we’ll drive out to Healesville Sanctuary and stop for lunch at either the Healesville pub, or spend a lazy day or afternoon out in the Yarra Valley. Having said all that, to be honest it feels like such a luxury being at home, I’m likely to invite friends around for a home cooked meal, a bottle of plonk and a sorely missed in-person catch up into the wee hours.

What are you currently reading?
I’m re-reading Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection, and the more recent text Positive Psychological Interventions, I’ve just finished Bill Burnett and Dave Evans’ Designing Your Life, various articles, and I’m always reading books and articles about the history of this or that composer or piece of music too, in part because I love it and in part because I need to make sure I know something of what I’m talking about for Classic FM! I presented the Sunday Opera Show over the summer and I learnt so much! I also recently read Henri Murger’s book La Vie de Bohème, on which Puccini’s opera La Bohème is based, as part of prep for my debut as Mimì in the Sydney Opera House with Opera Australia come this February. Eye-opening!

What are you currently listening to?
Sweet, glorious silence and the sounds of the street through my open balcony door. On my walk home from Opera Australia this arvo? Bessie Smith (bless iTunes streaming!)

Happiness is?
Living a life in line with values that truly mean the most to me, and being willing to ‘show up’, be vulnerable and focus on the positives. I guess that’s kinda part of remembering what’s important, being true to yourself, and not being swayed or coaxed away from your path. Savouring precious moments when they come along, expressing gratitude. It all probably sounds pretty airy fairy but I’m serious!

What does the future hold for you?
Singing surrounded by amazing colleagues at Opera Australia – right now that’s occupying the biggest slice of excited anticipation for me!! I can’t express quite how excited, terrified, elated I am about it. Singing Mimì feels like stepping into a fairytale, which I’d dreamt of being a part of but never believed it’d actually happen.

Then some other operas and concerts, primarily in Australia – there’s such a pull overseas for young singers but with my young family and my love of being near my family being in Australia and making singing work here feels so right.

I’m looking forward to kicking off my 2017 radio show on ABC Classic FM too – every Sunday morning 9am – 12noon, the show is all about offering the listener some down-time to refresh and rejuvenate – with the help of some of the most gorgeous classical music!! Other exciting projects too, like another album for Decca Classics, and some other recording projects with amazing ensembles.

Still doing projects in line with my passion for clinical psychology and wellbeing too and finding ways to link that in with my passion for music and the performing arts. Oh – and I’m looking forward to time learning the ropes on my sewing machine! After pleading for years finally Santa delivered! If you see me on stage singing in a three-arm-holed gown anytime soon, you’ll know why!

Greta will be making her Opera Australia debut as Mimi in La Bohème at the Sydney Opera House from 24 February 2017. For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au or www.gretabradman.com for details.

Image: Greta Bradman (supplied)