I hadn’t seen an opera in Perth but joined the company in 1973 straight from a season of Cabaret at the Playhouse Theatre, just because I wanted to sing.
One of my favorite operas was Countess Maritza in 1989. Performing with people like Deborah Reidel and Geoff Harris and partnering Elisa Wilson ( Kessey ) was a real joy Added to the fact that it was directed by, the one and only, John Milson with choreography by Kevin Johnson. Kevin had a hard time teaching me to tap dance in riding boots and christened me his ‘dancing fool’ and often refers to me as that when we meet.
In the Falstaff production of 1996 in the role of Bardolph I was given a rather bulbous nose for effect. In the opening scene Bardolph and Pistol are badly beaten by Falstaff. During the fight my nose got knocked sideways and was laying across my cheek. Big panic, no way of re-fixing it myself. In the few minutes between scenes, and in an area of just over a square metre, we had to change for the next scene whilst make-up tried to stick the nose back in place. There was incredible work done in the wings and backstage.
When I played Koko in the Mikado, Lindy Hume and I tried to add something special to Koko’s entrance. As I was given a pair of spectacles to wear I decided to appear to be cleaning them and walk off the stage into the orchestra pit! Of course, I had no idea what the effect might have on the audience but by all accounts everyone leaped to their feet to see where I had gone. Of course I had several mattresses to land on and eventually clambered out to sing ‘Taken from a County Jail’.
Lindy also introduced me to a glove puppet in that show ‘Tit Willow’ which I became quite attached to. I never thought I would ever have to sing to a bird puppet on my hand but there you are.
Thanks for the chance to relive the memories