Why do you do the job that you do?
There's this generator inside me that insists that I do what I do. I don't sleep very much, I just think of all the stuff that relates to Opera Australia, that I have to do. I don't have a life except for the life that I have here. It's always been this way for me – when I was singing, when I was running festivals, and now that I am artistic director of Opera Australia.
Is there any other profession that you would have liked to have followed?
I've worked in this business all my life and I have no idea what else I would do.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The perfect performance. It transports you somewhere else.
If you could have dinner with a historical figure, who would it be?
Probably Jesus Christ – I'd be interested to see whether he turns up! If it ended up being the second coming it would be phenomenal! Think of how many tickets one could sell!
What is your greatest extravagance?
Motor vehicles – I love my bright yellow 1979 land cruiser ute. It used to be a bush fire brigade truck. I also love good red wine and a really good cigar.
What is your favourite way to spend an evening?
Being in the theatre on one of those magical evenings when everything comes together and you realise that opera is the most extraordinary art form that we have.
Who or what is the love of your life?
My wife Liz.
What is your favourite food?
Hand-made pasta, cooked al dente, with a really good, thick sauce and a fantastic red wine. I love making my own sauces.
What is your most treasured possession?
My wife and my two daughters, Catherine and Alexis. They’re not my possessions of course.
Which is the opera that got you hooked?
Turandot. I would carry my spear into the wings and listen to Donald Smith sing "Nessum Dorma", before it was a soccer match hit. It was the most extraordinary thing.
Which opera do you never need to hear again?
The Triumph of Honour. By Alessandro Scarlatti I think. Dreadful thing.
What is your idea of misery?
Life without music.
Which characteristics do you most admire in others?
Generosity of spirit.
What type of holiday do you most enjoy?
I don't like holidays. If I'm really exhausted I'll mess around at home and watch the football on TV.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Sometimes I get impatient. I'd like things to happen a lot quicker than they do. And that's probably not a good thing.
Who is your favourite band?
Meatloaf and Bon Jovi.
If you won lotto, how would you spend your winnings?
I'd give almost all of it away. Some to Opera Australia. Money has never been a driving force in my personal life.
What is your favourite CD?
At the moment, it's probably Chucho Valdes' Solo. He's the greatest jazz pianist on earth. He's just extraordinary.
The book everyone loved but you could not finish was....
What is your favourite kitchen appliance?
A wooden spoon for stirring pasta sauces.
If you could be anyone, who would you be?
I'm happy being me. I greatly admire Obama but I wouldn't want to be him because then I'd no longer be able to admire him!