Opera Australia’s heavyweight champion talks Falstaff, fatsuits and fad diets.

Warwick Fyfe has every reason to be cock-a-hoop. The Australian baritone and stalwart of Opera Australia has pulled in exceptional reviews for his role debut in Verdi’s version of Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor.Catching up with him in his dressing room at the Sydney Opera House, complete with stunning view of the Harbour Bridge, he would appear to have even more reasons to be cheerful. Yet like so many artists his first concern is “was it alright?” He’s referring to the opening night and he should know by now that it was something of a triumph. “Last night was better”, he tells me. “Some brave souls were standing up; and I knowit was a better show.”

With a sense of humour drier than one of Sir John’s flagons of Jerezand his slight air of self-deprecation, Fyfe has an easy charm. He might not share the fat knight’s bombastic nature, but he’s well on the way to matching him for loquacity. I’m interested in his journey – how did he get from casting to opening night? And who does he think hisFalstaff is? I saw him...

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