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Sydney Opera House

The Operative Word - Jacqueline Dark

Why do you do the job that you do?

I have loved singing for as long as I can remember, and to be fortunate enough to do it for a living is an incredible gift for which I'm grateful every day.

Is there any other profession that you would have liked to have followed?

My other great passion is Physics and I’m just lucky that, having given it up full-time, I still get to dabble in that world a couple of times a year when I write the trial exams for the Victorian Year 12 students. My friends love this, as I always pepper their names throughout the exam and put them in all manner of crazy situations (they all try to nab the astronaut questions)!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Either that sublime moment on stage when it all just comes together and you feel as though you're flying and taking the audience with you, or a cosy social evening with people I love.

If you could have dinner with a historical figure, who would it be?

Albert Einstein and Max Planck/Erwin Schrödinger – how extraordinary would it be to watch them argue about Relativity vs Quantum Physics!

What is your greatest extravagance?

Antique and retro furniture. I find it hard to let a fabulous piece get away, even if I have to rearrange my whole apartment to fit it in. I think I'm at saturation point now, so I'll have to restrain myself.

One thing you regret is...

Any time I've inadvertently hurt someone else's feelings.

What is your favourite way to spend an evening?

Normally I'd say a fabulous evening out with friends, but this is a crazy winter season for me with five roles on the go, so I'd have to say that rare night off relaxing at home!

Who or what is the love of your life?

It sounds corny, but my gorgeous family and friends, and singing. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by so many of them so much of the time.

You would like to devote more time to...

travel. There's so much more of the world that I'd love to experience and explore.

What is your favourite food?

Japanese, caramel, white chocolate and Kanen Breen's tuna pasta … but not all together!

What is your most treasured possession?

My photos.

Which is the opera that got you hooked?

The Magic Flute – the first opera I ever sang (and pretty much the first I'd ever heard in its entirety) and the one that opened my eyes (and ears) to how sublime it could be to sing those exquisite harmonies.

Which opera do you never need to hear again?

Ariadne auf Naxos… but that's only because I always want to be SINGING it. Heaven!

You still hope to...

learn how to cook a fabulous dinner party for 20 people. Josh Bloom and Tom Hamilton are both absolute masters at it, so I may have to beg them for tips.

Which characteristics do you most admire in others?

Loyalty, honesty and courage.

You feel guilty when you think about...

the huge pile of scores sitting beside my piano, waiting to be learnt.

What type of holiday do you most enjoy?

I haven't had a holiday for ages, but I certainly have a wish list! Kanen and I are pretty keen to visit India, having become addicted to Bollywood movies and hence all things Indian. I’d also love to get to the UK, as I've never been.

Change about yourself?

More will-power, less procrastination.

You spend too much money on...

DVDs, jewellery and shoes. The jewellery and shoes are a recent addiction which seems to bloom every time the Melbourne season rolls around.

Who is your favourite character from the opera world?

I so want to write The Notary from La sonnambula, but will refrain. I love The Marschallin – she breaks my heart! Donna Elvira also appeals to me with her gorgeous, crazy ways.

The book everyone loved but you could not finish was...

The Hobbit, but I started trying to read it in Grade 2, so I suspect that I may have a little more luck with it now!

What is your favourite kitchen appliance?

Kettle. I love an evening cup of tea and it's also a hub of social activity when my friends are visiting.

If you could be anyone, who would you be?

I'm pretty happy being me, but I'd love to pop into Einstein for a day, to experience what it felt like to drive that brain!

Who is your favourite heart throb?

Ian McCahon [Artistic Administrator of Opera Australia] (any chance of a raise, Ian?)