On the Couch with James Roser

James Roser AAR On the CouchWho is James Roser?
I am an Australian baritone, currently living in Vienna. For the last decade, I’ve been singing in Europe, predominantly in Austria.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Well, ideally-speaking, I’d say ‘nothing’, as otherwise there would always be regrets to confound where you are at presently. If it was regarding another profession though, I’d say pursuing a career in what I studied at university (environmental science) would definitely be up there.

Who inspires you and why?
I have a couple of close friends who’ve been through some pretty crazy things in their lives and to see how they’ve dealt with it and come out the other end is pretty inspiring. Also, my parents, for what they’ve achieved in their lives.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’d like to believe that singing in an opera production or on the concert platform has the potential to positively impact upon people in an audience, whether that be a short-term impact, or something much longer lasting. Otherwise, like I said earlier, probably sticking with environmental science would be it.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Well my honest answer is very boring. Given that I travel a fair bit, my last few favourite holidays have been staying at home for a week! However, my favourite city is Berlin, simply because of how diverse it is: I feel like you can turn a corner there and suddenly feel like you’re in a different city. I love Tasmania as well: heading there straight after the opera actually!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Living in Vienna is pretty easy for that, as there are so many famous buildings next to one another in the centre of town, so a simple walk around Ringstrasse is kind of ideal. It also lets me take them to my favourite café in a quiet backstreet nearby.

What are you currently reading?
Solar by Ian McEwan. I just read Brighton Rock again in between though, as I’m a Graham Greene fan.

What are you currently listening to?
YouTube is dangerous for me… I get stuck in hour-long sessions listening to great singers from generations ago. If I list one singer’s name, I’d have to list fifty, so it’s best not to get me started.

Happiness is?
For the short-term, returning to Australia to sing after being away for so long is a good start! Spending free time with those closest to me makes me happy.

What does the future hold for you?
After Parsifal with Victorian Opera, I’m back to Austria to sing some concerts – Bach’s St Matthew Passion and some Wolf / Schubert Lieder, followed by preparation for a number of opera roles coming up in a few months.

James stars as Amfortas in Victorian Opera’s production of Wagner’s Parsifal at the Palais Theatre, St Kilda from 20 February 2019. For more information, visit: www.victorianopera.com.au for details.

Image: James Roser (supplied)