What sparked your interest in opera?

I went to Mac.Robertson Girls’ High in its heyday, when it was known for its great music faculty. I was there on the proviso that I would learn the double bass for the school orchestra, but on the way to pick it up, I walked past the singing room and heard this incredible sound and it just spoke to me. I thought, I want to give that a go, so I knocked on the door and this singing teacher invited me in and said have a sing and I did. I’d never seen an opera before so when she said mimic me, this voice came out that I didn’t even really knew I had. She took me on straight away.

Antoinette Halloran. Photo © Charlie Kinross

Did you realise you had a voice before that?

I was always singing along to the radio and my brother would tease me because I’d sing all the pop songs an octave higher. I clearly had a big range as a child!

You saw a performance of Madama Butterflyin your teens that’s stayed...