|Tina with two of our glamorous cast members|
In February, 702 ABC Sydney’s Richard Glover ran a competition on his popular Drive program, giving listeners an opportunity to win a walk-on role in the opening night performance of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: La Traviata. Listeners were asked to describe their favourite opera plot in 140 characters or less. The winning entry was submitted by Tina Mucci, a mother of four, who teaches drama to Years 9-12 and art to years 7 and 8. We asked Tina about her experience and how it changed her view of opera.
|Tina Mucci has her makeup|
done and her hair prepared for a wig!
What was your winning entry for the 702 ABC Sydney competition, and how did you come up with it?
"Boy meets pro, dad says no, pro lets go, prefers the show. Meet too late, seal their fate. TB or not 2 b?"
It was a joint effort over dinner with some of my family and a good friend who had popped in. We were discussing what a clever competition it was and what a great prize. Our friend was very familiar with the storyline of La traviata, and after explaining the narrative to us he proceeded to come up with the first line – “boy meets pro, dad says no”. We loved it and started to brainstorm the rest. We joked about winning, but said it didn't matter if we didn't because we had so much fun coming up with the entry!
Where were you when you found out you’d won?
I was shopping for that night's dinner, so missed out on the announcement on the Richard Glover show. It wasn’t till Opera Australia rang me that I found out I had won. I think I was embarrassingly loud in the supermarket as I was overcome with excitement.
Are you a long time opera fan?
I teach drama at a local high school so I love anything dramatic, but my operatic experience was limited. Now I am a convert!
Do you have much previous experience on stage?
Not as much as you would expect a drama teacher to have, but I like to direct more than act.
|Tina Mucci with a cast member|
What were rehearsals like for you?
I really enjoyed the rehearsals and especially liked the opportunity to see 'behind the scenes'. Once I had attended a few rehearsals it hit me how daunting the task was, and I have a newfound respect for how professional and hardworking these people are. From my wig and costume fittings, to the night-time rehearsals, to the performance itself, my emotions veered between excitement and nerves.
What was it like seeing the stars of the show in rehearsal?
I was in awe of them, although they were very down to earth. I think it is really hard to sing and act at the same time and they gave it 100%. Even in rehearsals the emotion was there.
Were you nervous on opening night?
My main fear was that I would slip, as I had to wear heels and the stage was quite steep, not to mention it was a full house and 3000 people were there.
What was your experience of performing that night?
I was surprised at how few nerves I had. I attribute that to the great support and acceptance I had from those around me backstage, especially Jane Pinkerton, who was assigned to look after me and did a great job of gently guiding me to the right spot, and who at times literally took me by the hand. From the moment I got on stage for Flora's party I was in performance mode and my 8 minutes of fame went very fast…and I didn't trip!
|Family and friends of Tina|
before the show
What did your family and friends have to say about seeing you perform?
My family and friends were very excited and apparently laughed from the moment I got on to the moment I got off. It was my eldest daughter's and my mother's first opera. My daughter commented on what an amazing night it was: on the harbour, on a beautiful evening and with her mother on stage. I think any opera experience after that would pale in comparison.
Have you got any closing thoughts on Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, and would you recommend it to your friends?
We have such a beautiful backdrop in our harbour, and to take advantage of it in this way takes the experience to another level. It was such an ambitious and visionary project, and one that definitely paid off. I hope that this is the start of more opera on the harbour, and La Traviata will always have a special place in my heart.