Sydney Opera House

La Rocca curious about le smile

Singing for as long as the fates allow: The Operative Word with Teresa La Rocca

Teresa La Rocca is now on Twitter - follow @effielarocca to hear the latest on her work


Why do you do the job that you do? Singing exquisite music makes my job easy on most days. And even the more trying ones are bearable when you work with such amusing colleagues.

Who has influenced you most professionally? My singing teacher, Rae Cocking from Adelaide. She heard me in an audition for the Adelaide Conservatorium Vocal Program, and asked what I wanted to do with my singing.  At the time I was happy to perform in the State Opera Chorus part-time, while studying to be an arts administrator. Staring at me intently from behind the piano, Rae said; "I bet you my salary that you'll change your mind by the end of the year." How right she was!

Is there any other profession that you would have liked to have followed? I've become a bit of a pastry chef, with a particular interest in decorating cakes in fondant designs. Cath Carby and I were partners in crime in the cake department and many of our colleagues got to enjoy the fruits of our labour.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? My family and friends at the dinner table, trying to outdo each other with outrageous stories. I also love a cup of tea at interval – I’m low maintenance.

If you could have dinner with a historical figure, who would it be? Leonardo Di Vinci; I’d really love to know why the Mona Lisa was smiling.

What is your greatest extravagance? I own real estate in Sydney – enough said.

One thing you regret is…Ooh...lots of regrets, but the biggest one is that I didn't take advantage of a job offer in Italy many years ago. But you live and learn and I am truly lucky to have employment with the premier opera company in Australia.

If you could have any opera character as a friend, who would it be? Leporello from Don Giovanni because he sounds like hilarious company, and Musetta from La bohème because she knows how to have a good time.

Who or what is the love of your life? My family. It’s very hard living away from them, but I fly home to visit at least once a month - I've become quite the frequent flyer.

What are you optimistic about? The future...bring it on, no matter what it is!

You would like to devote more time to…Learning my music and exercising.

What is your favourite food? I live in the Inner West, so we have great Vietnamese food, but I love to make pasta from Italian at heart.

What is your most treasured possession? I have some very early published copies of Beatrix Potter books, which I look forward to reading to my children one day.

Which is the opera that got you hooked? The Marriage of Figaro. I had sung in many operas before I put on Susanna's shoes (which fitted so perfectly), and it was only then that I knew I wanted to sing opera for as long as the fates allowed.

Which opera do you never need to hear again? Pearlfishers. Probably best not to ask why.

If there’s one quote that really speaks to you it’s…"I don't have to make sense, I'm Italian."  Gina Lollobrigida.

What is your idea of misery? Camping.

You still hope to…Have children.

Which characteristics do you most admire in others? Being able to rise above the situation no matter how trying they are, being positive in the face of adversity, and intelligence.

You feel guilty when you think about... Not havingbeen to the blood bank to donate in a while because I've been too busy. But it’s on my "to-do" list.

What type of holiday do you most enjoy? Beach, sun and lots of cocktails. I'm taking my niece to Thailand next year as a reward for doing so well at University.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’m too sensitive and I have a bad temper.

Who is your favourite band? Muse.

You spend too much money on…Flights, but they’re worth it.

Your greatest achievement has been...Buying real estate in Sydney.

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

What is your favourite kitchen appliance?I'm a pastry chef so I can't do without my Kitchenaid, and I need the dishwasher to clean up the mess.

How do you stay up to date with new technology and trends? My sister tells me what to buy and how to use it.

Who is your favourite heart throb? Alexander Skarsgard from True Blood – why do we always love the bad boys?