S3 Episode 8: Mezzo-Soprano Deborah Humble - from Wagner to Wine


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By The Actionable Futurist® Andrew Grill. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

As a special holiday edition of the podcast, and the final episode of this current series, I’m joined by Internationally acclaimed Mezzo-Soprano Deborah Humble.

She is highly regarded for her Wagner roles and has performed in opera houses around the world including Paris, London, Sydney and Hamburg.

She’s also been a friend of mine for over 35 years.

Born in Bangor, Wales, Deborah grew up in Adelaide, Australia. She received her musical and vocal training first at the Elder Conservatory of the University of Adelaide and later at the University of Melbourne.

Deborah was a member of the Young Artist Program of the Victoria State Opera, and in 2002 became a principal artist with Opera Australia at the Sydney Opera House. She was also the winner at the beginning of her career of the prestigious Dame Joan Sutherland Scholarship in 2004, and the following year, she became a Principal Mezzo with the State Opera of Hamburg.

In 2008 she was a finalist of the International Wagner Competition of the Seattle Opera.

In 2009 she was included in the Who’s Who of Australian Women.

Since 2010 she has been a freelance artist and she has performed over 60 operatic roles worldwide.

In 2016, after 25 years living in Europe, Deborah returned to live in Sydney, and today she's coming to us from Brycefield estate in the Hunter Valley where she lives with her Partner Dr Bruce Caldwell.

Like many performers, Deborah has had to adapt to multiple cancellations and changes brought about by the global pandemic.

In this podcast, Deborah looks back on her 25-year career as a Mezzo-Soprano and also looks at how she has adapted by becoming a winemaker, created a show channelling Julia Child and a look behind the scenes at how Operas are made and what can go wrong, alongside a look at how different cultures respond to Opera.
In this fascinating chat, we covered literally Wagner to Wine:

  • Deborah’s journey from Wales to Australia
  • When did you decide to become an Opera singer?
  • Why pick Opera as the genre to focus on?
  • How Opera singers project their voice
  • The preparation required for a huge Opera
  • The experience of living in Hamburg
  • Being an Australian in Hamburg
  • Why did you return to Australia?
  • The need for resilience
  • The Brycefield Music Festival
  • The Hunter Valley region
  • Becoming a winemaker
  • The need to change direction during the pandemic
  • Becoming Julia Child
  • Performing at the Bennelong Restaurant at the Sydney Opera House
  • Stories from the life on the road
  • The story behind Opera costumes
  • Performing for different audiences
  • Dealing with negative feedback
  • German vs English vs Australian audiences
  • What’s next?
  • Career highlights

More on Deborah

Brycefield Estate Website
Deborah's Professional Website
The Diva Diaries - travels of an Opera Singer
Your Host: Actionable Futurist® Andrew Grill
For more on Andrew - what he speaks about and replays of recent talks, please visit ActionableFuturist.com
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47 episodes