The star of Rufus Wainwright’s Adelaide Festival opera talks us through the highs and the lows of life as a Prima Donna

Tuesday March 14: I’m on a plane with the score for the opera that has lived in my voice and heart for months, and I’m excited and a tad terrified that it’s about to come to life. Whilst rehearsing the RingCycle, Neil Armfield snuck up to me, slipped a score under my arm, and whispered: “Have a look at this and see if you could sing it.” The title: Prima Donna. Three characters: Prima Donna, Maid, André. I immediately SMS-ed Neil: “Am I the maid?” (mezzos assume!), but Prima Donna it was! I screwed my courage to the sticking place and I accepted.

Wednesday 15th:10am. First piano rehearsal with the cast (me, Andrew Goodwin, Eva Kong) conductor (Guy Simpson) and Rufus. Deep breaths. Singing in front of the composer. Singing an extraordinary, difficult score. Syncopations within shifting time signatures. In French. Which is also syncopated. The world seemed to stop when Rufus walked in. Reserved and charismatic, he was incredibly generous and complimentary, and we all adored him immediately.

Thursday 16th:Full day of orchestrals. The...

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