Jacqueline Mabardi is an opera singer, concert performer and oratorio recitalist who is also at home in musical theatre and operetta, having worked in all these fields. This year she will be singing for the first time at Opera in the Paddock at Mimosa, Delungra, on Saturday, March 24.
Why did you decide to become an opera singer ?
I sang from a very early age; I would simply call it my destiny in life. My parents were often told by professional people on panels at eisteddfods or present at concerts I performed in that I should be trained. Luckily, my mother resisted all these suggestions at too early an age. I then followed the right channels, I believe, and prepared to audition for the Qld Conservatorium; I was accepted mostly on vocal merit.
How has your career progressed ?
My career began with Opera Queensland in their Choice Voices program, singing Second Lady in The Magic Flute and also in solo concerts with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Since then, I have worked extensively in Australia and internationally. Some of the highlights have been as soloist at the Shalyapin music festival in Kazan, Russia; singing at the Sydney Opera House; Aida at the Helicon Theater, Moscow; gala concerts for the opening of the Galina Vischnewskaja Opera Centre, Moscow; televised performances for the Bolshoi Theatre and Tchaikovsky Hall, Moscow; Lisa in Pique Dame for the Ravenna Festival, Italy; televised performances of Nedda in Pagliacci in Lithuania; Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus in Germany; Pamina in The Magic Flute and Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera in Australia.
I also sang the title role in Tosca for 4MBS-FM, Australia and in 2006 took the roles of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni for the 4MBS-FM Music Festival in Brisbane and Rosalinde in Opera Queensland’s production of Die Fledermaus, which was performed in Brisbane and then toured Queensland. More recently, I sang the role of Gertrude in Hansel and Gretel for Opera Queensland, was soprano soloist for Opera in the Markets in Melbourne, performed The Countess in The Marriage of Figaro for State Opera of South Australia and appeared with the Queensland and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras.
In 2009, I sang Minnie in a new production of La Fanciulla del West for State Opera of South Australia (SOSA) and appeared in Opera Australia’s New Year’s Eve Gala in Sydney. The following year, I sang Minnie, as well as the title role in Tosca for Opera Australia. Last year I appeared as Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Curly’s Wife in Of Mice and Men and Musetta in La Bohème for Opera Australia. This year I will be undertaking the title role in Aida for Opera Australia’s Sydney Winter Season and will appear as Musetta for SOSA.
What does it take to make a career in opera, and how dedicated do you have to be?
A tenacity, love and tenacity! I have worked with great and amazing teachers on a few continents, but taught myself the most out of all of them on the actual journey. I was determined I could always find the answers myself once put on the path by others. You have to be like that, or you can’t survive in this career.
What attracts you to a career as a performer, and which singers do you have as exemplars?
Number one – THE MUSIC. Singing Puccini and Verdi is always a privilege and always a highlight. Singing in the Sydney Opera House looms large on that list. Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland are my exemplars.
Your favourite operas and parts … and why? Do you think opera is attractive to young people ?
Puccini, Verdi are a big inspiration to me. La Bohème, Tosca, Minnie in La Fanciulla del West, Lady Macbeth, Violetta in Traviata. Aida. All sublime! I think the arts speak to all who are really open to the experience and who are ready for passion in their lives. Not everyone likes the same things, and that is human nature. I think Australia has lots of programs in place where they interact with a young public, such as school tours and the like. Education is essential to the continuation of all the arts.
Why did you accept the invitation to sing at Opera in the Paddock? What do you think about performing in the country, on stage, in a paddock? Is it something you’ve experienced before?
I think most opera singers are acquainted with singing outdoors. This particular gig has actually become quite well known in the operatic community, and a lot of my colleagues have performed at Opera in the Paddock. I am, for one, delighted to take part.
Opera in the Paddock 2012
Opera in the Paddock enters its second decade this year, with Jacqueline Mabardi as one of the new faces on stage for the concert at Mimosa, Inverell on Saturday, March 24 and Twilight Recital at the Inverell Town Hall, on March 23. Opera Australia, once again the performance partner, is sponsoring conductor Phoebe Briggs and a pianist.
A group of female singers from Inverell, Armidale and the region will provide several choruses for the evening, including the popular Nun’s Chorus. On the Paddock stage with Jacqueline Mabardi will be tenor James Eggleston, baritone Barry Ryan, mezzo sopranos Elizabeth Lewis and Elizabeth Campbell, and soprano Peta Blyth. The program includes excerpts from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Verdi’s Il Trovatore.
Opera North West Ltd receives sponsorship from Arts NSW, Destination NSW, Opera Australia, Inverell Shire Council, NAB, Regional ABC & Classic FM, Malachite Resources and the German Consul.
Contributed by Rosemary Mort.