Your favourite colour?
The dark blue/grey of clouds just before a big storm.
Your favourite meal?
Thai Penang curry… Thank goodness for the Asien Markt on Staulinie.
Your favourite animal?
Horse. I grew up training horses and have always felt a deep affinity for them.
Your favourite sport?
Yoga, swimming and cycling.
Your favourite plant?
They have such an unusual silhouette, and there is something wonderful about the way they actually need the fury of a bushfire to regenerate – the saplings flourish in the ash. Who needs a mystical phoenix when we have gum trees in real life?
Your favourite TV-show?
I watch very little TV but for pure indulgent escapism I do love Game of Thrones.
Your favourite TV commercial?
The EDEKA “supergeil” advertisement https://www.youtube.comGenius.
Your favourite author (prose)?
I keep coming back to Milan Kundera, a Czech/French author.
Your favourite piece of art?
The Sydney Opera House. I know it’s technically architecture, but isn’t it also a kind of sculpture built into the backdrop of that beautiful harbour?
Your favourite lyricist?
Ani diFranco, an American singer-songwriter.
“I want somebody who can hold my interest –
hold it and never let it fall;
someone who can flatten me with a kiss
that hits like a fist
or a sentence, that stops me like a brick wall.”
Your favourite person in History?
Tough question… I’m going to go back to my primary school Australian history class. Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth – the three explorers who first crossed the Blue Mountains west of Sydney in 1813. I’ve hiked a lot in those mountains and they are riddled with cliffs, canyons, poisonous snakes… Anyone who goes out into unchartered territory is deeply impressive to me.
Your favourite character on the opera-stage?
Violetta, La Traviata. What a woman.
Your favourite composer?
Mozart. His ability to infuse classical elegance with real human passion is so unique.
Your favourite aria?
May I pick an ensemble instead? I think that two or more human voices together is just so much more exciting than a solo! Off the top of my head, I’d say the sextet from Lucia di Lammermoor… or maybe the Presentation of the Rose from Der Rosenkavalier…
or the St Sulpice scene from Manon by Massenet… stop me whenever you like… Pamina’s Selbstmord Szene from Die Zauberflöte…
Your favourite piece of music?
I’m sorry, I can’t do it. Too hard. Next?
If your life would be an opera, which composer would you wish for the future?
Jules Massenet. His music is like a movie soundtrack perfectly supporting the actors.
Your chief characteristic?
Just try it.
Your main fault?
Impatience, with myself and others.
What is your present state of mind?
How do you want to die?
Your idea of misery?
Christmas shopping crowds in London (I lived there for two years… December was beyond ghastly).
Your idea of happiness?
Playing with Marley, our family dog, on Turimetta Beach in Sydney.