An interview with Deborah Cheetham AO
8th March, 2021

An interview with Deborah Cheetham AO

Yorta Yorta soprano and composer Deborah Cheetham AO makes her company debut in the Opera Queensland Studio Series this month. Learn more about the artists ahead of their performance.

“This is my first recital in Brisbane for more than 20 years. I am very pleased to return and share a little of my story since all those years ago. Brisbane audiences are known for their warmth and enthusiasm and after the 2020 Toni and I have endured in Melbourne we cannot wait to share this recital with you.”

Because all the performances are so different and so personal we like to paint a picture for the audience. What can audiences expect from your upcoming performance with Opera Queensland?

Narrative is important to me. Providing personal context for each song and aria creates a bond between singer and audience which transcends performance.

How did you and pianist Toni Lalich OAM decide on the repertoire for your performances?

Toni is my partner in music and life and I count that as a great blessing. We are both deeply interested in the poetry and music of women, the unique view of Australian composers and of course First Nations cultures and languages. Our process will usually begin with a theme, in the case of our Brisbane recital we chosen songs which have helped to shape our identities and personal narratives.

Is there a piece from your recital program that is particularly difficult or particularly rewarding to perform? How will you prepare for your recitals?

I am particularly looking forward to performing two songs by French composer Lillie Boulanger which are new to my repertoire. As a composer I am greatly influenced and inspired by the works of the first female composer to win the Prix de Rome. Boulanger’s harmonic colour palette is exquisite and a joy to sing.

The performance title implies the recital is personally and culturally significant for you. Can you share some more detail with us?

There are few relationships of greater significance than that between a mother and child. My own experience of this relationship was complex and has defined me in ways that only music can articulate.

Songs My Mother Sang To Me
Deborah Cheetham AO and Toni Lalich OAM

Two performances only
Friday 19 March 7.00pm
Saturday 20 March 2.00pm
Opera Queensland Studio, South Bank

    Sign up for the latest news

    By signing up to the Opera Queensland newsletter you agree to our Terms and Conditions and that you have read our Privacy Policy, including our Cookie use.


    Hi, what are you looking for?