Bohème on the Beach conductor Simon Bruckard talks about his love of opera, conducting and his excitement about his first visit to Adelaide.
When did you first fall in love with opera?
I’ve always loved theatre and been fascinated with how text and music come together. When I was studying languages and music at uni I made friends with a lot of singers and this led to playing and seeing lots of opera. I became infatuated with the unique way emotion and text is expressed through opera. The first opera I saw was Victorian Opera’s concert of Stravinsky’s “Oedipus Rex”, which I still think is one of the most incredible pieces of music ever written.
What do you love about conducting?
Conducting is an addictive habit. It’s all about communication – between the conductor, the singers, the orchestra and of course the audience. The theatrical, performative quality is fun, but ultimately it comes down to the music and the drama, helping everyone perform the best they possibly can. And the collaborative quality is intoxicating – the first rehearsals where you hear the singers or orchestra for the first time are the best. You get different musical offers from every musician, and it never stops inspiring you to find new things in the music.
What was your first “I’ve made it” moment?
I’ll never forget when I saw my name printed in the season brochure for Victorian Opera for the youth opera I’d written for them, The Selfish Giant. I’m not sure if I felt like I’d “made it,” but it was truly surreal! It was quite terrifying leading up to it being performed for the first time, but it’s certainly one of the things I am most proud of.
What is something about you that may surprise our audience to know?
You may be shocked and appalled that I’ve never actually been to Adelaide before! I’ve toured to practically every other corner of Australia, and I cannot wait to visit and perform in Adelaide for the first time.
What excites you outside of Opera?
I’m both proud and a little ashamed to admit that I’m a bit of an amateur birdwatcher. Not much excites me more than sitting in a damp bit of bush for hours in the hope of seeing a Lyrebird. I also love cooking. I get very excited by the brief few weeks where artichokes are in season, and will talk passionately at anybody unfortunate enough to be nearby about the best ways to cook them.