Young bass baritone Jeremy Kleeman will make his first Opera in the Paddock next week. He took a little time to talk about next week’s events.
What are you most looking forward to about performing at Opera in the Paddock?
I am really happy with how we have put together the program for Opera in the Paddock; it is a wonderful mix of opera, operetta, and classic songs, and I can’t wait to sing it all with orchestra. I am also looking forward to teaming up with Tim Sexton again having really enjoyed worked with him on Cloudstreet in Adelaide last year, and finally, Armidale is where my mum was born and where my grandparents lived and worked for a time, so it is always meaningful for me to come and sing in the area.
Do you think there are any differences between rural and metropolitan audiences?
Certainly not when it comes to opera knowledge. I regularly come across big opera fans in the country. Perhaps if anything, a greater appreciation for each performance as there aren’t generally as many.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Being part of the creation of two new Australian operas last year, Cloudstreet, and Voyage to the Moon, the latter also being my first professional lead, my first national tour, and my first individual Helpmann Award and Green Room Award nomination.
Last year, tenor Brad Daley swallowed a fly while in full flight on stage. Can you tell us about something interesting/funny/quirky that might have happened to you?
Well I have also swallowed a fly while practicing my breathing while riding my bike. But on stage, what comes to mind from when I sang Figaro on tour last year. In one show somebody in the audience’s phone was ringing every 10 minutes. Normally, I would just let it go and assume that it was a once off, but on the fourth occasion I just had to say something. Luckily we were in a dialogue scene at the time, so when Susanna asked what my plan was I replied, “I will tell you in one moment just after this person switches off their phone!”. It is always a risk to ad lib, but on this occasion it was well received and we were able to get on with the show! I do feel sorry for the owner of the phone in question though, one of my biggest fears as an audience member is my own phone going off!
For times and ticket information, go to http://www.operainthepaddock.com.au.