On the Couch with Jenny Liu

Jenny Liu Arts Review On the CouchWho is Jenny Liu?
I was born in Beijing, China, and lived there with my maternal grandparents until the age of 8 when my mum brought me to Sydney. I was thrust into an all English speaking girls school with no English except for ‘Hi, I’m Jenny!’, which led to some very confusing moments, one of which being completely confounded during my first Christian Studies class when everyone bowed their heads in prayer.

In my first year of high school, after being told by an art teacher to stop being a ‘drama queen’, I realised maybe the stage would be my true home. I met my first wonderful singing teacher who introduced me to the world of opera and never looked back!

After completing a Bachelor of Music degree at the Sydney Conservatorium, I was halfway through my Diploma of Opera when I was cast in my first professional job as Tuptim in Opera Australia’s The King and I, and now I can be seen playing Susanna / Barbarina in OA’s touring production of The Marriage of Figaro.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
If I had the chance for a do over, I’d probably go easier on myself – I’m a perfectionist and it’s easy for me to forget to let go and enjoy what I do. If I weren’t singing, I’d like to do something that lets me travel and see the world…maybe a travel and food writer, I like the idea of getting paid to eat!

Who inspires you and why?
I’m lucky enough to be constantly surrounded by wonderful, inspiring people in my everyday life. My mother is a brave, intelligent, giving and resilient woman who I very much look up to, and my friends are the same.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I am very passionate about animals. If I am ever fortunate enough to have the funds, I would like to be able to significantly contribute to, as well as establish, animal shelters, animal rescue programs etc.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
This sounds ironic for me to say, as I have the rather unfortunate habit of being glued to my phone, but I’d love to go anywhere off the grid, crystal clear waters, balmy weather, and no mobile reception to zone out and relax.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I’d love to take them somewhere off the beaten track so they get to experience places that aren’t in all the tourist magazines. There are some amazing hidden beaches in Sydney and it’s like your own little private paradise.

What are you currently reading?
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan – beautifully written and a great read for our many travel days on tour.

What are you currently listening to?
I am OBSESSED with true crime podcasts! After listening to Serial on the recommendation from a friend, I’ve become addicted! My favourite is Casefile, an Australian produced podcast. It comes out most Sundays and you can safely bet that’s what I’m listening to first thing Sunday morning with my coffee.

Happiness is?
Being able to do what you love, while being surrounded by the people you love. Oh, and coffee. And Game of Thrones.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully many big and exciting things! I absolutely love what I do and I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner.

Opera Australia’s touring production of The Marriage of Figaro is currently playing in Queensland through to the end of July, before heading to the Northern Territory and Western Australia in August. For more information and performance schedule, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.

Image: Jenny Liu