Once again time has been slipping by and I realised I hadn’t written about the last month or so, regarding my time as assistant director for Carmen. The production was directed by Matthew Barclay, resident director at Opera Australia and was for the South Australian Opera’s season at the Adelaide Festival Centre.

Of all the activities I have had the great pleasure and opportunity of pursuing this year, this season of Carmen was the furthest away from my previous experiences, as Opera is relatively new to me. I did wonder at the beginning of the rehearsal period how I could contribute effectively and what I could bring, when I really had little prior knowledge of this specific production of Carmen. I kept reminding myself that a large part of this fellowship is the learning experiences I have gained this year and the potential for future partnerships through the experiences offered to me.

From the very first day of rehearsals Matthew Barclay introduced me to the cast with reference to who I was and the fellowship opportunity. This put me at great ease and allowed me to soak up and absorb his process during the early stages of rehearsals. I quickly discovered that directing Opera is not too dissimilar to how I would direct my own dance theatre works and quite quickly I felt I could contribute more and fulfil the role of assistant director. As Carmen is a very physical Opera, the importance of movement and staging are pivotal to the work. Matthew kindly allowed me to ‘take over’ rehearsing certain sections and adjusting movement to suit the artists involved. From that point on I felt connected to the production and enjoyed the process immensely.

The season was a great success I believe and from my personal point of view the connection I have now made with Matthew is exciting. He has already spoken to me about the possibility of working with him again on other Opera’s and potentially choreographing, which is where my strength is. Here’s hoping that comes to fruition!

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