The director of Driving Miss Daisy and Double Jeopardy describes stumbling into opera direction at a cocktail party.

How did you first come into contact with classical music?

I started listening to it when I was a kid growing up in Sydney, listening to it on the ABC. My parents didn’t know anything about classical music, in fact, I think they finally went to their graves not knowing anything about it. But I used to hear it on the ABC and I remember thinking, “God, that’s good.” I became interested purely from that.

Were there any composers that particularly appealed?

Oh, yes. My first – my great – love, and the thing that really kicked me off was Bartók. I remember hearing the Bartók String Quartets and being absolutely electrified at the ferocity of the Piano Concertos.

Director Bruce Beresford

What was it about the music that spoke to you?

I really don’t know. I’d never heard any other classical music before that – I had nothing to compare it with – and I suddenly heard this music. I remember it was Bartók’s Second Piano Concerto and I thought, “My God, that music’s wonderful!”...