On the Couch with Tahu Matheson

Tahu Matheson Arts Review On the CouchWho is Tahu Matheson?
Head of Music at Opera Australia, Conductor and Pianist; about to conduct Griffith Opera on the Beach – Aida in Coolangatta.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would eat more quinoa, kale and bean sprouts; I’ve been told a combination is excellent for everything from digestion to short term memory. Unfortunately, they taste like quinoa, kale and bean sprouts.

Who inspires you and why?
I think it’s difficult to point to a single inspirational figure. However, I recently watched a wonderful documentary series on the Roosevelts and found myself enthralled by the account of the lives of those tremendous figures. Franklin and, in particular, Eleanor were astonishing human beings. Perseverance in the face of extreme adversity, an extraordinary conviction, strength and fortitude, and a deep understanding both of the depth, but also the limit of human wisdom, make them, in my mind anyway, exemplars in the realm of human achievement.

What would you do to make a di?erence in the world?
I would make it mandatory for every child to learn a musical instrument and to sing.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Rome. I’d like to say it’s for the history and the culture, but the pizza and the pasta is probably just as important.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The Sydney Opera House to see an opera, of course!

What are you currently reading?
Always several things, and I’ll probably never finish any of them. The main one at the moment is a history of the Holy Roman Empire: Absolutely fascinating, but immense. It will probably take me as long as the empire lasted to read it.

What are you currently listening to?
Well, unfortunately, when taking my wonderful 10 year old step daughter to school, I am often subjected to a litany of inconsequential, but loud, brash and sententious pop songs. As I don’t really listen to music very much for myself, I suppose that is the closest thing.

Happiness is?
Not listening to that.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully, many more fruitful years at Opera Australia. The diversity of people, artists, productions, designs, places; but above all, the astonishing music that we are so lucky to engage with as our everyday job is something that I cherish and never take for granted.

Opera Australia will present Aida on the Beach on Coolangatta Beach: 21 – 30 September 2017. For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.

Image: Tahu Matheson (supplied)