Brett and I met up in Melbourne a couple of years ago, after I was first asked to play Hamlet, and went to his studio to record the famous ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy. A lot of Brett’s music is based on Sprechgesang, so he wanted to hear both how I approached it as an actor and how it lay in my speaking voice. It was great to get to know each other and for him to find out what sat comfortably in my voice and what I enjoyed doing. He’s been fantastically collaborative, but he’s his own man. If it’s what Brett wants, then that’s what we’ll do.

Learning all the music was fairly hellish. All of us found it very difficult – even Barbara Hannigan said it was one of the trickier ones to learn! Brett doesn’t make concessions, which is what makes it so terrific, but it means you have to put in a hell of a lot of time.

Hamlet, Opera, Brett Dean, Adelaide Festival, Allan Clayton Kim Begley and Allan Clayton in Brett Dean’s Hamlet. Photo © Richard Hubert Smith for Glyndebourne

Because the music came a...