An ex-pat Englishman and a Tony-Award winning Brazilian opera singer walk into a Manhattan bar, and what do they talk about? The coffee of course.

“It’s not the same here,” exclaims Paulo Szot, settling into an armchair in a quiet corner of the Empire Hotel. It’s July 2018 and he’s in town for his seventh annual cabaret appearance at New York’s 54 Below, but we are hear to chat about the anticipated pleasures of his imminent visit to Australia. “As a Brazilian we’re used to good coffee, we drink it all day. When I arrived in Melbourne and had my first coffee I was like, ‘What is this? This is amazing! The flavour, the weight…’ Then I had the next one, the next one and the next one and they were all incredibly good.”

Paulo Szot at 54 Below. Photo © Maryann Lopinto

Szot, the tall, dark and strikingly handsome operatic baritone who won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical as Emile De Becque in Broadway’s 2008 revival of South Pacificis reminiscing about his previous visit down under when he played the title role in...