One of the world’s finest Lucias talks Donizetti’s mad masterpiece and why Melbourne needs a new venue.

It’s not easy being one of the world’s most in-demand bel cantosingers, as Australian soprano Jessica Pratt tells me. “I went to a chiropractor and he was looking at my x-rays and he said to me, “So, I’m guessing you were in a car accident when you were younger?” But I hadn’t,” Pratt says. “And then he said, “Oh, so you were in an abusive relationship, then?” Which I definitely hadn’t been. I was totally confused about what was going on and so was he, because he said he could see this damage that looked like I’d been really thrown around. That’s when I said, “Oh, I’m an opera singer – I get thrown on the floor all the time!””

This professional hazard is, for the most part, courtesy of a role that Pratt has earned an international reputation for: the tragically crazed heroine of Donizetti’s masterwork, Lucia di Lammermoor. Pratt has portrayed this character in 20 different productions on some of the world’s most hallowed stages, including the epicentre of the bel cantotradition, Teatro alla Scala in Milan. “The...

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