In Conversation with Lyndon Terracini

Listen to revealing conversations, surprise stories, and lots of laughs as our Artistic Director talks to some of opera’s most fascinating figures.

In Conversation with Lyndon Terracini is our podcast interview series featuring the extraordinary talents of Opera Australia — both onstage and off. Each episode features a special guest talking about how they came to work in the world of opera, and telling fabulous behind-the-scenes stories. Our guests include singers, conductors, musicians, composers, directors, designers, technical experts and more.

These conversations were originally filmed for a video series of the same name, which began in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we were forced off stage.

New episodes are released every Monday and can be found on your favourite podcast apps.

Listen to In Conversation with Lyndon Terracini on:

Episode 1: Graeme Macfarlane

There are few singers who have achieved the same career longevity as Graeme Macfarlane. For 47 years, he’s been singing tenor roles from across a broad repertoire, and is still going strong. In this interview, Graeme discusses making his Opera Australia debut in 1973 in War and Peace, our first production at the Sydney Opera House, and the changes he's seen over almost five decades as an opera singer.

Episode 2: Jun Yi Ma

The Opera Australia Orchestra is the busiest of all Australian orchestras. This extraordinary group of musicians is led by Concertmaster and Orchestra Director Jun Yi Ma. In this conversation, Jun shares stories from his life and career, starting with his days as a young violin prodigy.

Episode 3: Elena Kats-Chernin

Elena Kats-Chernin is one of Australia’s most successful and prolific composers, working across opera, concert music, ballet and film. She even composed our first opera for television, The Divorce, which aired on ABC TV across four episodes in 2015. Most recently, she won rave reviews for the score of Whiteley, our 2019 opera about the life and work of Australian painter Brett Whiteley.

Episode 4: Diego Torre

Born in Mexico City, Diego Torre has been a leading tenor for Opera Australia since he made his Sydney Opera House debut as Rodolfo in La Bohème in 2011. Diego’s most celebrated roles include Radames (Aida), Turiddu (Cavalleria Rusticana), Canio (Pagliacci), Calaf (Turandot), and Cavaradossi (Tosca).

Episode 5: Brian Thomson

For five decades, Brian Thomson has been one of Australia’s most influential designers. He started his career in close collaboration with the director Jim Sharman and created designs for three of the biggest rock musicals of all time: Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair and The Rocky Horror Show. In the years since, he’s had an extraordinarily varied career, working on projects ranging from small-scale indie theatre to the biggest live performance events in the world, including the Sydney Olympics Closing Ceremony and several years of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour.

Episode 6: Natalie Aroyan

Armenian-Australian singer Natalie Aroyan is one of the country’s leading sopranos, having taken on some of the biggest roles in the opera repertoire. But it wasn’t always her dream to be an opera star – instead, she had singers like Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Tina Arena in her sights. In this fascinating conversation, Natalie reveals her journey from budding pop singer to centre stage at the Sydney Opera House. She talks about making her professional debut as Mimì in La Bohème, tackling the enormous demands of the title role in Aida, and learning her craft from opera world royalty.

Episode 7: Chen Shi-Zheng

Chen Shi-Zheng is a visionary in the truest sense of the term. The Chinese-born director is known around the world for the extraordinary universes he brings to the stage in his deeply moving productions. In this conversation, Chen reveals the life experiences that have influenced his unique perspective as a director. Starting with his turbulent childhood in China, Chen explains how he went from studying to be a Chinese opera singer to creating his own productions on the world stage. He also talks about his landmark production of the 22-hour Chinese epic The Peony Pavilion, and how it led him to direct Wagner’s Ring Cycle.