On the Couch with Sally Wilson

Sally Wilson oncWho is Sally Wilson?
I think you’d probably be better off asking someone else that!

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Hmmm… Nothing. I mean, if I wanted to do something differently, I’d go ahead and do it. It wouldn’t stay a hypothetical.

Who inspires you and why?
Any number of people past and present inspire me: Seneca and Socrates come immediately to mind, Rilke, Viktor E. Frankl, Yehudi Menuhin, Miguel Ruiz, Ainslie Meares, Nelson Mandela, Sally Kempton – who I had the privilege of meeting, people among my acquaintances who I imagine would be horribly embarrassed if I named them! I think it’s a certain humble greatness (very different to anything resembling false modesty) and the striving to “know thyself” in these people, which inspires me.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I would try to be responsible for my life and time here – being environmentally conscious and accountable, trying to live the best I can from moment to moment. I manage it occasionally!

Favourite holiday destination and why?
For a real relax and get away I love Noosa and surrounds. It’s not too far to go, has warm water (relative to Victoria!), a wonderful National Park, good restaurants and cafes… The Noosa market is fantastic, too.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Depending on where they have come from and how long they’re staying for, I’d take them to the Great Ocean Road (particularly international friends who have most certainly been gazing at pictures of it in their travel books!) and the Otway Ranges, perhaps some of the beautiful seaside towns here on the Bellarine, where I live, like Queenscliff or Barwon Heads; a winery or two… It depends on what I think those particular people would be most interested in.

What are you currently reading?
I am simultaneously finishing The Razor’s Edge by Somerset Maugham, and starting A Rape of the Soul so Profound by Peter Read.

What are you currently listening to?
BBC Radio 4 – comprehensive and intelligent international coverage, where a clear attempt is made at presenting multiple sides of an issue. Their radio plays are often riveting, too!

Happiness is?
… possible in every moment. I truly believe that. Boy, it can be a challenge, though!

What does the future hold for you?
I wouldn’t hazard a guess at that.

Soprano Sally Wilson has performed in Europe, Asia, Australia, the UK and the USA for the past twenty years. Her repertoire spans from baroque to contemporary, and includes several world-premiere performances across four continents. For the last several years she was soloist at the Freiburg Staatstheater, Germany, and moved back to Australia in late 2013.

Sally has performed at such venues and festivals as Oper Bonn, the Konzerthaus Berlin, Aldeburgh Festival, Wigmore Hall, The Washington Opera, the Puccini Festival, Cracow Philharmonie, Opera Instabile, Ravinia Festival, the Lincoln Center and Theater Freiburg, and with such ensembles as Chicago Symphony Chamber Players, National Polish Radio Symphony, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Freiburg Philharmonisches Orchester and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Sally has recorded with the Freiburg Philharmonisches Orchester and the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, as well as for the ABC. She has performed the lyric mezzo repertoire, in roles including Komponist, Carmen, L’Enfant, Armida (Rinaldo), Rosina and Dorabella and moved into soprano repertoire in 2013, making her debut as soprano as Jenny (Kurt Weill’s Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny) in Winterthur, Swizerland, in December 2013.

In May 2014, Sally made her debut as Frau (a role composed for her) in a new opera by Hèctor Parra entitled Das Geopferte Leben at the Münchener Biennale with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and Ensemble Recherche, conducted by Peter Tilling.

In addition to her performing commitments, Sally has taught privately and given masterclasses in Australia, Asia, the USA and Europe, and at such schools and venues as Geelong Grammar School, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Pennsylvania State University and at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre. She is on the teaching staff at Monash University and has private studios both in Melbourne and in Ocean Grove, where she lives.

Sally will be appearing in Melbourne Opera’s production of Der Freischütz at The Athenaeum Theatre from Saturday 31 January. For more information, visit: www.melbourneopera.com for details.

Image: Sally Wilson – photo by Andrew Vukasov