Terracini proves pitch-perfect performer
IN 2009, the position Lyndon Terracini took on as artistic director of Opera Australia could have been labelled a poisoned chalice.
In 2019, as Terracini agrees to extend his contract in the role for a further three years, he would describe it as a blessing.
At 69 years old, Terracini retains his characteristic good humour, enthusiasm and warmth.
He says that besides signing the new contract, he has just happily married Swiss soprano and vocal teacher Noemi Nadelmann.
He still travels the country, wakes early every morning and thoroughly enjoys a drop of red wine.
"I am fortunate that people pay me for things I love to do,'' he enthuses.
"As they say, if you do something you love, you never work a day in your life.''
But perhaps it seemed more like a working day a decade ago when Terracini, just a few weeks into the new job, made plain his ambition to alter the course of opera events.
He was determined to take opera to the people - all the people, not just an elite selection.
"The faces you see on our stages and in our orchestras do not accurately represent the faces you see on our streets,'' Terracini said at the annual Peggy Glanville-Hicks address.
Not only did these lines reflect his heartfelt desire to share the wonders of opera with every social stratum, it also defined the journey he would take the company on to travel out of financial doom and into economic well-being. As Terracini led Opera Australia from its traditional home into city parks, sandy beaches and red dirt, so have its audiences flocked to these non-traditional spaces.
Additionally, Terracini has dazzled opera aficionados with a line-up of international voices.
In turn, Opera Australia has tripled its audience and tripled its turnover.
In fact, Terracini notes that these days, "30 per cent of the audience are international visitors''.
In 2020, OA will present 923 performances throughout Australia.
Opera Australia CEO Rory Jeffes said this could not have been achieved "without Lyndon's tenacious and unwavering focus on delivering the highest-quality performances to as wide an audience as possible''.