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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Todd

The wonderful Cinderella team before our 100th show - note the purple shoe cake! Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane.

I write this before walking to the theatre for our 100th performance of Cinderella. Coming from the opera world, it is wild to think of doing 100 consecutive shows of anything – let alone eight shows a week! Before embarking on this journey, I had worried that the schedule would have a deleterious effect on my voice. But I’ve found comfort in the repetition and regularity. For me, Richard Rogers’ music is both interesting and challenging enough to keep my voice and brain engaged – not allowing me to completely switch off or ‘phone it in’. It’s also given me the opportunity to experiment and play with my technique across familiar music that uses my full range. As a result, I actually feel my technique getting stronger with each show.

Backstage as Lord Pinkleton, with the stunning Bianca Bruce as Charlotte

The musical itself is a joy. Based on the familiar fairy tale, but featuring touching and pithy modern twists, it is a masterful piece of optimistic escapism. Exactly what this world needs right now! Douglas Carter Bean’s updated book includes funny and deft jokes, as well as a subplot where the kingdom transitions from absolute monarchy to representative democracy! A happy counter to the creeping authoritarianism of our recent years!

The Brisbane season has been terrific with warm crowds and warm weather. QPAC is a wonderful venue, and its continuing growth signals that Queensland is serious about the arts and culture. I had the joy of performing a week of shows as one of the characters I have been covering - Lord Pinkleton, the operatic town cryer and Pooh Bah of the court. The cast, crew and company management were wonderfully supportive during that hectic week, and I am grateful for their positivity and encouragement! The Brisbane season of Cinderella will finish on September 3, before our Sydney summer season begins in late October.

In the meantime, I am very excited to be included as a featured artist for Do You Hear The People Sing in late September (Melbourne) and early October (Sydney). This will be a “concert spectacular of epic proportions” celebrating the epochal collaboration between lyricist Alain Boublil and composer Claude-Michel Schönberg, whose works include Les Misérables and Miss Saigon. Boublil and Schönberg will be there in person for the events, which will take place at Melbourne's Hamer Hall and the Sydney Opera House’s newly refurbished concert hall. With a raft of international soloists, the concert will also provide an interesting chance to hear live some of the pair’s lesser-known works, such as Martin Guerre and their first ever collaboration La Révolution Franćaise.

While I couldn’t have imagined that 2022 would be a year of musical theatre for me, I’m really enjoying the unexpected flows of my life and career. Where to next, I wonder?

* * *

Before coming to Brisbane, Rose and I had a well-earned holiday up in Cairns. After a difficult couple of years oscillating between job insecurity and the borderlands of burnout, we had a deeply refreshing and rejuvenating time! Watching the sun rise over the twin peninsulas to the south of Cairns city, I wrote these linked haiku:

Low tide returning –

Two sleeping salamanders

Breathing in sea air

Hindquartered valleys –

Mountain creatures basking in

Sunlight and shadow

We travelled up to the Atherton Tablelands and north to the southern Daintree, just past Mossman. Being immersed in rainforest is refreshing to the soul, as being immersed in water is refreshing to the body. While walking among the rainforest surrounding Lake Barrine:

An exuberance of palms

Elicits a temperate awakening

In the cool silence of this tropical upland.

Warm palms soothe a hanging face,

Untangling furrows and exalting tears

That fall like raindrops into green shade,

Nourishing rich soil.

Two vines encircle, twisting helix,

Each supporting – structural kissing,

Too weak to stretch alone into the void

They turn and turn

Always towards each other,

Reaching out into a world

They would be too fragile

To explore alone.

This is my first blog in many months. It has been a difficult and busy time, and while I have been doing a lot of writing, none of it has made it to this forum. I felt discouraged about neglecting this blog, but have ultimately found peace in the knowledge that we must find the balance of our lives. There is a season for all things. Things will occur when the time is right. What other philosophy can a freelance musician and writer have?


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