Ahead of his MSO debut, Roderick Williams took time out of his busy schedule to answer five questions about his upcoming performance in L’Enfance du Christ, and to talk about career recognition.
We’re so pleased to be welcoming you to Melbourne for your debut with the MSO! What’s it like to be performing in a new city with an Orchestra you haven’t worked with before?
It’s fantastic. I have performed so rarely in Australia, and I think it’s such a wonderful opportunity for me to make music with a top class orchestra on the other side of the world. It reminds me, and I hope all of us, of the inclusive nature of music-making and bringing people together from all over the globe.
Travelling the world doing what you love must be so rewarding. Would you say that you were always destined for a life of music?
I think so. I had always thought I was going to be a classroom music teacher. It was only when I saw fellow undergraduate students entering the profession that I realised that it existed. So I decided to quit teaching and try my hand at this!
And thank goodness you did! Are there any standout roles in your career?
For many years I longed to sing the title roles in Billy Budd and Eugene Onegin, two stand-out roles for any lyric baritone. I thought the opportunity might have passed me by but then both fell into my lap in the same year and I’m so thrilled to have had the chance to sing them.
And off stage? What do you love to do?
I enjoy walking through the countryside. A month after L’Enfance du Christ I’ll be returning to Australia to perform at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville. I’m really looking forward to exploring Magnetic Island once the festival is over!
You were recently awarded an Order of the British Empire for your work in the music industry! Congratulations. How did it feel receiving recognition for your hard work?
Interestingly, performers have the reward of being applauded (hopefully!) every time they take the stage, whereas the honours are particularly special for people from all walks of life who rarely receive recognition for their achievements.