Sydney Opera House

The Operative Word - Michael Lewis

Why do you do the job that you do?

I believe that I was born to be on the stage. Besides, I can't do anything else!

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

I would love to have been a steam train driver.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Good food, good wine, good book, good music, all shared with my wife, Nicole Youl, in some peaceful spot in, say, Tasmania.

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

Verdi, and it would be preceded by a coaching session on Macbeth.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Malt whiskey!

One thing you regret is...

not having pursued more and better education, and giving up piano lessons when in my teens.

What is your favourite way to spend an evening?

Could be cooking and sharing a great meal with Nicole, watching good theatre, or cheering my beloved Sydney Swans!

Who or what is the love of your life?

Must be careful here, but I've mentioned the Swans already, so I guess that must leave my best friend and soul mate, Nicole.

You would like to devote more time to...


What is your favourite food?

Currently I love Thai cuisine.

What is your most treasured possession?

My "Jesterabilia" collection and my Grandfather's WW1 army kitbag.

Which is the opera that got you hooked?

Appeared in an opera before I saw one, but what got me hooked on theatre was Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost.

Which opera do you never need to hear again?

It's not an opera, but, Die Fledermaus.

What is your idea of misery?

Not being able to sing.

You still hope to...

stay healthy enough to enjoy my life with Nicole, to watch the development of my sons Ben and Alexander, and to perform the role of Iago in Otello.

Which characteristics do you most admire in others?

Honesty and integrity.

You feel guilty when you think about....

the amount of time I've wasted in my life.

What type of holiday do you most enjoy?

Exploring places we love, like Tasmania, Flinders Ranges, NZ and Mexico.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would talk less and listen more!

Who is your favourite band?

Queen – I love all that theatricality and harmony.

You spend too much money on...


Who is your favourite character from the opera world?

Would have to be Rigoletto. After all, we have spent 30 years in each others' company!

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

Cultural Amnesia by Clive James.

What is your favourite kitchen appliance?

Our Rancillio 'Sylvia' espresso machine.

If you could be anyone, who would you be?

It's hard enough working out how to be me, without worrying about thinking who else's problems I might like to take on.

Who is your favourite heart throb?

Myf Warhurst from Spicks & Specks. (Uh, oh. That’ll get me in trouble!)