The soprano talks about her upcoming show DIVA, a funny and warm tribute to Joan Sutherland and June Bronhill.

What was the big idea behind your show Diva? What made you want to do it in this particular format?

When City Recital Hall approached me to do my very own show, I was extremely excited… I saw it as a great opportunity to celebrate our favourite Aussie divas, while showcasing the roles that brought them world-wide acclaim.

Do you see a theme, or a specific story threading through the different arias you will perform together?

Not many people know that June Bronhill followed Dame Joan Sutherland in the role of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. This is a thread throughout the show Diva!

How did Guy Noble get involved with Diva? What made you think of him for the role of compere?

I’m a great admirer of Guy Noble, as a conductor, a musician and radio announcer… he can also be very funny, he is writing the script for Diva!

Was it important to you to involve other Australian artists like Elena Kats-Chernin and Tamara-Anna Cislowska?

Yes, I’m thrilled with the fact that all our artists are Australian, particularly honoured to be singing the brilliant original works of Elena Kats-Chernin and accompanied by Aria Award winner Tamara-Anna Cislowska on Piano. Acacia Quartet will be playing along with a select Choir. We are blessed with an enormous wealth of talent in our country.

Though most everyone knows Joan Sutherland, what makes June Bronhill special for you, and why did you include her in Diva

June Bronhill was an audience favourite, a huge star in operetta for Sadler’s Wells in London and she will be remembered for her firecracker personality. She was a very famous Merry Widow, a role which Dame Joan Sutherland also performed… I have also enjoyed great success in the role so this ties us all together.

What are you most excited or nervous to be performing on the night?

I’m really excited to be singing the fabulous original works of Elena Kats-Chernin, in particular La Stupenda which charts the career journey of Our Joan.

Sutherland has long been a source of inspiration for you – has this inspiration changed and evolved over the years? What does she mean to you now?

I’ve always been in awe of Dame Joan and her extraordinary gifts… there will never be another Joan. I’m delighted to be able to honour her in this way.

Why do you think opera fans are such diva worshippers? Why does the figure of the soprano garner such adoration?

Could it be the tight corsets…? The fluttering eye-lashes? The scintillating top notes as they soar to the Heavens? A combination of the above…?

How do you hope audiences will feel or take away from the evening?

I hope the audience finds DIVA! to be an uplifting and delightful night in the theatre… the music promises to be stunning and I’ll make sure they laugh…VIVA the DIVA!


Amelia Farrugia’s DIVA is at City Recital Hall on August 25.

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