The Australian photographer on shooting undercover at the Paris Opéra and undertaking a Mahler pilgrimage.

I have a deep love of music that goes back to the earliest memories for me. I remember lying in my bed listening to the radio late at night when I was probably eight or nine, and being overtaken by this strange subterranean rumbling of orchestra and singers on the transistor radio. This thing went on and on and on, and I remember hours into it, sometime after midnight, I was electrified and sitting up in bed with a pencil and paper thinking, “God, what am I listening to?” At the end of this strange experience the announcer came on and I tried to write to write down phonetically what I had heard. Off I went to the city in Melbourne, to Thomas’ record shop, and presented this piece of paper; there was a roar of laughter because I had tried to spell out Götterdämmerung!

For many years I’ve had a particular interest in two conductors – Rafael Kubelík and Carlos Kleiber. But it was Erich Kleiber who I played to Simone Young when I was asked to photograph her for the National Portrait...

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