Antoinette Halloran’s Runaway Soprano is racing to Arts Centre Melbourne

Antoinette Halloran | Photo by Susan Papazian

Antoinette is downing the apron and wooden spoon, and heading up to the Hamer Hall stage.

Having just completed a season of Sweeney Todd with WA Opera, Antoinette is back in Melbourne and is bringing her show Runaway Soprano to Arts Centre Melbourne’s Morning Melodies series. With an impressive list of credits across both opera and musical theatre, Antoinette has proven herself one of Australia’s most versatile sopranos. Recent credits include Mrs Lovett (Sweeney Todd), The Fox (Cunning Little Vixen), Mimì (La Boheme), Despina (Così fan tutte), and the title roles in both Madama Butterfly and Tosca.

Accompanied by her partner and acclaimed tenor James Egglestone, Runaway Soprano is sure to be a wonderful glimpse into Antoinette’s brilliant life as a performer.

Do you have a favourite role that you have performed?

I tend to fall in love with the project I am currently working on. So I just finished Sweeney [Todd] and Mrs Lovett must be one of the most fun and fabulous roles ever written. Sondheim manages to make a serial killer strangely appealing in her wild, smart and lusty ways! But [Madama] Butterfly will always hold a place in my top three roles of all time…vocally and dramatically, a tour de force. I am about to embark on Verdi’s Lady Macbeth and I think she may sneak into this list too. Vocally so challenging yet when the stars all align, so exhilarating to sing.

Is there a role you’d love to play in the future?

I was once cast as Minnie in La Fanciulla del West. The original spaghetti Western by Puccini. I had to withdraw as I was pregnant. To play this gun toten’ diva would be a real treat. I feel the need to sing Puccini in cowboy boots soon.

Antoinette as Madama Butterfly

What have you found are the biggest differences in preparing for an opera or musical role?

Vocally there is a lot of adjustment to be made. Especially in the high belt roles. The last thing you want to do is sound like an opera singer in a musical. But where the drama is concerned I approach them the same way. Getting into character and understanding who this person is and what makes them tick is universal in all kinds of theatre I think. I hate the idea that people cant cross over boundaries. I sing…and I sing everything! I just performed with Nick Cave and Jose Carreras! This year I sing Sondheim and Verdi. It is exhilarating and keeps me motivated. I never want to be pigeonholed. I think I wouldn’t be as interesting an opera singer if I didn’t get to draw from other worlds.

Do you have any advice for those trying to break into the opera/musical industry?

Listen to your inner voice. It will drive you. If it says to keep going, then just push on. If it says to do something else, then honour that. It is a subjective industry and talent is often not enough to support a good career. So you have to honour your own journey. When I hear people get up at award ceremonies and say “if you work hard it will happen” – I think that is NOT true. I know many great artists who work hard, but for some reason, can’t work consistently.  So plug away and work hard… but know it isn’t always an easy and fair path. You have to put your individual colours on the palate at each audition and sometimes the artistic director just prefers beige, or the colour he used last time.

What can audiences expect from your Morning Melodies performance?

A little bit of everything….something familiar…not too peculiar! A beautiful ensemble of Melbourne Symphony players… and spunky tenor… and a soprano who likes to run away from the opera world sometimes and tinker in the worlds of Broadway and jazz!

Antoinette Halloran performs her show Runaway Soprano as part of Arts Centre Melbourne’s Morning Melodies program. 

Monday 16th September – 11am and 1:30pm

For tickets and more information, please visit the Arts Centre Melbourne website.

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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