“If you’re in a repertoire company maybe somewhere in Germany, this would be a luxury rehearsal period,” says English bass-baritone Darren Jeffery.

In Australia to take on the title role of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchmanfor Melbourne Opera, Jeffery is referring to the four weeks’ rehearsal time he’s been given, compact by any other measure. But, he maintains, there are certain advantages to working this way, chief among them the clarity of focus it necessitates.

Darren Jeffery. Photo supplied

“It’s easy to think that in a short rehearsal period you just throw on some kind of show and hope for the best, but that’s really not the case. Rather, everyone comes in and is very focused because they know there’s only a certain amount of time available to them. By the end of the first week we pretty much got the general shape of all the scenes and we’ve been working on the detail ever since.”

This will be Jeffery’s second Dutchman and the first time he has performed in Australia, appearing in a new production by Suzanne Chaundy with Wagner specialist Anthony Negus returning to conduct after last year’s acclaimed Tristan and Isolde....