Local and international artists will gather under the stars for Opera Australia’s annual Mazda Opera in the Domain on Saturday 1 February at 8:00pm. The free outdoor concert will feature popular arias from works by opera’s greatest composers and celebrate the magic and memorable moments in opera. Conductor Brian Castles-Onion has worked with Opera Australia, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Rossini Festival in Italy and the Canterbury Opera in New Zealand, and now he’s really looking forward to Opera in the Domain. The BRAG grabbed him for a few quick questions.

What inspired you to get into conducting?

My inspiration came from the desire to tell my own story through the music of the great opera composers. Hopefully, what an audience experiences is a combination of MY personality, the drama of the sung words and the music of a great composer.

What’s your favourite piece of music to conduct?

I don’t have a favourite. Whatever I’m conducting at the time is the most important music in my mind. It has to be – to communicate that passion to the audience with a clarity and energy.

What can people expect from Mazda Opera in the Domain?

Opera Australia’s Opera in the Domain performances are always ‘Events’. Where else can you experience a great orchestra, excellent singers and a program of operatic favourites combined at a fabulous venue for free? It’s a highlight of the Sydney 2014 musical year. I’m incredibly honoured to be on the podium for the performance.

What’s your next project going to be?

The morning after Opera in the Domain, I fly to Perth to conduct TOSCA. Then I return to Sydney to conduct Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour Madama Butterfly… then I conduct Carmen for Opera Australia in Melbourne. I’m very fortunate that I’m so busy conducting the greatest operas ever written.

Do you ever get called Maestro?

Never at home…just at work. I dislike the term and prefer to be known as Brian!

Mazda Opera In The Domain is on Saturday February 1 in The Domain.

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