On the Couch with Liesel Badorrek

Liesel-Badorrek-On-the-CouchWho is Liesel Badorrek?
I am a Theatre director, writer and occasional performer. I used to do a lot more performance when I ran Loose Canon Arts but directing has taken over now. I’m directing Opera Australia’s inaugural Opera on Cockatoo Island with a new production of Carmen. I’m kind of late to the Opera party but I’m really excited about what I think we can do with this particular production. Carmen still has a lot to say to a contemporary audience.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I’d play the piano… learn French and spend less time in the sun.

Who inspires you and why?
My friend Jackie Largo is a Kings Cross copper, so she’s already working full time. But as well she founded and runs a charity called Paws and Recover which looks after the pets of people that need to go into hospital or homeless shelters or domestic violence refuges, or anywhere that people in trouble might not be able to take their much-loved animals. She saw that need and did something about it. She now has foster carers and volunteers who help her, but it’s still an enormous amount of work. She’s such an animal lover and also just a super kind human being making a real difference to people.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I wish I was doing something as impressive as Jackie. I guess if I had a magic wand, I’d make some hefty changes but… I do make a lot of theatre for young audiences – mainly with this wonderful company called CDP but also with the Opera. I’m a big believer in giving kids the opportunity to experience art and music and performance. With my company Loose Canon, I also took shows into schools all over Asia and the Middle East for many years. It’s always exciting encouraging kids to express themselves and understand they can make their voice heard through the Arts.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Amsterdam is a favourite. I can endlessly wander around its beautiful streets dodging bicycles. But a few years ago, my family and I did a trip to Istanbul and Lebanon. I’d already travelled a lot in the Middle East, but Lebanon was a revelation. Incredibly beautiful, edgy, historical and the Lebanese people were so beautiful. My husband’s father migrated from Lebanon, and we wanted our son, who is named after him to see where his grandfather came from. We did a road trip that took in Byblos, Tripoli, Bcharre, Zahle and Baalbek. One of the best days of my life was hiking in the Kadisha Valley where there are thousand-year-old monasteries carved out of the cliffs

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
If they were coming this November/December I definitely take them to the Opera on Cockatoo Island. You get to start your night somewhere gorgeous like Circular Quay or Barangaroo, then take a ferry on the Harbour, which is always delightful, then drink champagne on an island while watching the best opera of them all. Unbeatable! Even if I wasn’t directing it.

What are you currently reading?
A Carnival of Snackery is the 2nd volume of diaries by American humourist David Sedaris. The title alone makes me laugh. He always has brilliant titles for his books. My favourite is Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, with When You are Engulfed in Flames, a close second.

What are you currently listening to?
I recently did an interview with Simon Moore on Fine Music and had to choose 5 pieces of music that had inspired me or impacted my career. It was such a wonderful task. It gave me the excuse to really think about my favourite pieces of music and listen to them again and think about what they meant to me. One of the pieces was by the brilliant pianist and composer Leonie Cohen. I chose a piece off her album Jerusalem, but in trying to decide on which piece I re-listened to her other albums – Sideshow Pony and also Pages Suite. It was a glorious afternoon. Her work is so beautiful

Happiness is?
…sitting in my loungeroom with my beautiful husband Johnny, patting dogs and listening to our son Samir play the piano. Bliss.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully a lot more of the above… plus trips to Amsterdam and Lebanon.

Liesel is the Director of Opera Australia’s production of Carmen on Cockatoo Island – currently playing until 18 December 2022. For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.

Image: Liesel Badorrek (supplied)