On the Couch with Rachelle Durkin

Rachelle-Durkin-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Rachelle Durkin?
I’m an Australian soprano, a wife and a doting mum of a seven-year-old who recently repatriated to Western Australia from our home New York City. For the past twenty years I have lived, studied, and performed in NYC, most notably the Met Opera and I have performed in various other opera houses around the world including the infamous Sydney Opera House.

What would you do differently from what you do now? 
If I couldn’t perform, I think I’d enjoy working with children. Either as a youth worker, teacher, or someone in a child protection.

Who inspires you and why? 
I’m often inspired on a daily basis. Just yesterday I heard from a colleague about the obstacles she faces as a female composer in a male dominated field and how she overcomes these obstacles. The day before my son received a merit from school for being such a good friend. My husband inspires me when I see the joy he has for his new job that he loves. Whether it’s my colleagues, my family, my friends, or complete strangers, if someone inspires me, it prompts me to want to do something inspiring for others.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Send every semi-automatic weapon into space and blow them all into smithereens. I’d quite like to be the one behind the detonator. Whilst living in America we would often feel unrest sending our child to school. No parent should ever have to feel this way… ever!

Favourite holiday destination and why? 
Oahu/Hawaii. I have sung with the opera company numerous times and each time I absolutely dreaded going home. At one point my husband and I contemplated moving there. It’s honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Just go and have a look. You’ll never want to leave either.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Gosh. There is so much to see here in WA. If we started in Perth, the stunning views of the ocean from the Ocean Beach Hotel in Cottesloe will have to be the first stop. Then, a drive along the coast to Fremantle for a seafood platter at Bathers Beach House and upon the return, a stop at Kings Park Memorial for stunning views of the city. If my friends were staying on, we’d head down south and do a wine tour in the Margaret River Region.

What are you currently reading? 
As I sit and write this, I’m looking at all the music scores I have open on my bed. I literally don’t have time to look at anything else. I have to say, I am so thrilled to be this busy, but I don’t remember the last time I opened a book. Juggling work and family is quite time consuming.

What are you currently listening to? 
I’ve been doing a lot of driving from my home in Busselton to Perth of late, about 3 hours each way. I went through some old CDs (Yes! Remember those?), and I found the album Kid A by Radiohead. It’s electronic music mainly, synthesisers are mixed with brass and strings. Quite clever and quite calming to drive to.

Happiness is? 
Enjoying alone time. It’s easy to get caught up in daily activities of family and work life, so I think it’s important to have that time out for personal growth and creativity.  At least I enjoy that. That might be binging a new tv series, weeding, working out, cooking, or going on a long walk by myself.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m about to perform later this week in West Australian Opera’s children’s opera Our Little Inventor and after that I’m singing in Alcina for National Opera, Canberra. I have various concerts scattered in between which will keep me busy, and then next year I’m singing in a staged version of Satyagraha for Opera Australia in Melbourne.

Rachelle stars as Mrs Livingston Li in West Australian Opera’s Our Little Inventor – which will be presented at His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth: 1 & 2 October 2022. For more information, visit: www.waopera.asn.au for details.

Image: Rachelle Durkin (supplied)