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WAO Playlist Series Curated by Matthew Dixon

Welcome back our WAO Playlist Series! This week, our Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist Matthew Dixon curates a playlist filled with passion, hope and high b-flats, featuring musical moments from Verdi’s Otello to Disney’s Hercules.  

Already an accomplished and award-winning baritone, you may recognise Matthew from his leading role as the Emperor in our 2020 production of The Nightingale. He will next be seen in our beloved event City of Perth Opera in the Park on 26 and 27 February. 

Stream and read about Matthew’s playlist below!


Per me giunto… Io morrò – Don Carlo

Ludovic Tézier is my favourite baritone alive today. This man is nowhere near respected enough for the superfluous ease and beauty in his performing of absolutely any role in the baritone repertoire, as well as his abounding humbleness. I met him in Salzburg at the 2018 Easter Festival where he was singing Scarpia and again in Sydney at a concert performance of Andrea Chénier, and in London for a performance of La Forza del Destino. He makes everything sound so easy!

Ave Maria (Desdemona) – Otello  

Krassimira Stoyanova is by far one of the best sopranos that’s ever lived…and she’s alive! Again, the absolute ease she brings to every role is nothing shy of true beauty. The constant spinning of sound that pierces over any other singer on the stage is so exciting to hear! All whilst singing one of the most difficult and beautiful soprano arias ever written by Verdi. Funnily enough, again, she is one of the most humble singers to grace the stages of the world today.

“Du bist wie eine Blume” Myrten, Op.25:XXIV – Robert Shumann

Now for my favourite Mezzo. What can I say…Sophie Koch is the complete package! This is one of my most treasured songs by Schumann and was one of the first ever Lieder I wanted to learn. Thank you, Sophie, for committing to making a disc with this cycle on it!

An die Musik Op.88, No.4, D.547 – Franz Schubert

Oh man…what a singer Fritz Wunderlich was…and what a Lied. One of the simplest and yet most beautiful pieces ever written by the man who was THE master of simple songs. Somehow simple is the wrong word, I think. Just like how Shakespeare’s writing is so complicatedly layered, Schubert’s writing can be infinitely similar in its rewarding qualities. If only this man lived past 35 years old to see what he would have accomplished! Not dissimilar to the composer of the Lied as well!

Go the distance – Michael Bolton

I’m a Disney kid and not just because I’m a 90’s kid. The quality of the musicians that have done all the 90’s Disney movies is astounding, and one of my favourites for so many different reasons is this. This guy could have been one of the world’s best operatic tenors if he wanted…I am convinced! Nevertheless, this song always makes my cry! Digging deep and moving forward no matter the situation or surrounding circumstances, and boy, I’ve had a bit of that…

From now on – The Greatest Showman

My favourite belting-in-the-shower piece! All about picking up the stilts and getting on with life despite some immense challenges and setbacks. Haven’t all of us in the arts had that over the last year! But Hugh tells us never to fret, and instead to focus on what really matters in our lives more than anything…family and friends and moving forward no matter the cost. Just have a look on YouTube at some of the videos from pre-production of this movie, to see how influential being amongst a group making this kind of sound can be for anyone. They all look like they’re having SO much fun!

Resta immobile – Guglielmo Tell

Although I’ve already listed my favourite baritone, there is just no way that I can miss Sherrill Milnes singing one of the most fiendishly exciting roles in opera (originally written in French with the Italian version almost never performed) and adding a high b-flat in the final cadenza! Obviously, the mammoth of Milnes found Rossini’s original writing not Rossini-like enough! An American singing a Swiss story, written in French, and translated into Italian. If that doesn’t teach you to get on with your fellow humans then nothing will.

I still haven’t found what I’m looking for – U2

I think this is a really personal song for anyone involved in the arts and in particular opera right now. We all do what we do out of an immense love for the satisfaction singing gives us and the ability to tell stories. Not having the opportunity to share and develop our gifts of storytelling over the last year has definitely given us a lot to think about in terms of our futures. We can only hope that we find that again in a world so easily distracted by politics, health and money.

This is why I’m so looking forward to City of Perth Opera in the Park in February, as it’s a chance for us to tell stories through the wonderful medium of music to our own audience from our own artists here in WA. What a gift we have to give, and what a gift it is for us to have an audience to share it with!

Dancing Queen – ABBA

Nothing really to say about this one except throw your dancing shoes on and thank God for Swedish people! The most uplifting music of all time…period!

This is the time – Billy Joel

My mum used to sing this to me all the time and shared her strong belief in its every word. I can see why now! Nothing lasts forever and every moment we have we need to cherish, because it’s gone in the blink of an eye. What a gift, and how exhilarating!


Don’t miss your chance to see Matthew Dixon perform at City of Perth Opera in the Park next month – register for the complimentary livestream or click here to find out about exciting new screening options!