1. Three operas you love most?

It keeps changing as I become more familiar with some and also discover new ones! Currently Pearl Fishers, unsurprisingly, Turandot and I think Bohème and Eugene Onegin are battling for third place.

2. Three favourite sopranos?

Ah, I don’t think I can do three! Jessye Norman, Angela Gheorghiu, Edita Gruberová, Montserrat Caballé, Maria Callas.

3. What do you do to relax?

Yoga, I love yoga. I’m also an avid gardener and star gazer.

Desiree FrahnSoprano Desiree Frahn

4. Most memorable musical experience as an audience member and why?

Barber’s Adagio for Strings with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in the Town Hall, 2003. Growing up in the country meant high-end, live classical performances were rare. I tagged along on another school’s music trip (there was unfortunately no senior music program at my school) and remember sitting shocked and motionless in the audience – completely transported, brought to tears by the sheer beauty of the music.

5. If you weren’t an opera singer, what would you be?

After high school I had a back-up acceptance into an astrophysics degree, in case I didn’t make it into the Conservatorium.

6. Three operas you could happily never hear again?

Can’t say I’ve come across one yet, let alone three. But I’d be quite happy to not sing Einstein on the Beach again, my voice was not designed to sing like that!

7. Funniest moment onstage?

Tripping and face planting as a chorus member in Saul – front and centre, completely spread eagle on the stage – so hard that my shoe came off and landed three metres away. Thankfully the stage was covered in several inches deep, crumbled foam so it was a very soft and humorous landing, crumbs puffing everywhere… the director thought it was hilarious and asked if I could keep it in.

8. Three favourite films?

Lord of the Rings, Schindler’s List, absolutely anything Star Trek!

Desiree FrahnDesiree Frahn as Leïla in State Opera of South Australia’s The Pearl Fishers. Photo © Bernard Hull

9. Three operas you like but never get to see?

I have yet to see Turandot live, or Rosenkavalier. I would love to see Eugene Onegin.

10. A recording to be stranded with on a desert island?

Something orchestral! I can’t help but think and analyse when listening to singers.

11. A singer of the past you’d like to perform with?

Gosh I would love to have seen Callas in action, she had such a unique way of performing.

12. Which pop star would you most and least like to see in an opera?

I think Pink would make a great mezzo/alto. No Bieber, nooooo Bieber…

13. Most overrated composer?


Desiree FrahnDesiree Frahn as Leïla in State Opera of South Australia’s The Pearl Fishers. Photo © Bernard Hull

14. Most underrated composer?

There are so many composers whose work I haven’t really explored yet… give me a couple years/decades to look into it!

15. The last book you couldn’t put down?

I just finished devouring several Patrick Rothfuss books, but the last was The Slow Regard of Silent Things. Hurry up and finish the series, good sir!

16. Five opera characters you would like to have around for a dinner party?

Figaro, Susanna, Marcello, Musetta, Papageno.

17. An opera character you’d like to go on a date with?

Quick from Cloudstreet.

18. Three clichés that annoy you about opera?

Opera arms, the fat woman sings, elitism.

19. Most embarrassing moment?

Definitely snuggling up to, squeezing the bottom and kissing the neck of a gentleman in the supermarket who was NOT my husband but happened to be wearing the same clothes… thankfully everyone had a good laugh!

20. Three guilty pleasures?

Gaming (Skyrim, World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons)


Turkish delight

Desiree Frahn sings Leïla in State Opera of South Australia’s The Pearl Fishers until May 19.