Last time Australian soprano Helena Dix spoke to Limelightwas in April 2020. She had just returned to her London home after a terrifying bout of COVID-19, which landed her in hospital for two weeks. Struggling to breathe and in “insane” pain from blood clots in her lungs, she was connected to an oxygen machine.

As is her wont, Dix’s ebullient nature surfaced as she slowly recovered and she posted tweets of her singing out in full operatic fashion as her machine beeped to alert the nurses that her oxygen levels had fallen. Each day in hospital, she attempted to sing a little of Norma’s aria Casta Diva, despite the pain, to monitor how her breath control was going. Finally she was allowed to go home. The doctors were amazed that she had survived.

Australian soprano Helena Dix Helena Dix. Photograph © Clare Hannan

A year on, Dix chats to Limelightagain just before hopping on a plane for Australia to play Vitellia in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Titofor Canberra’s new National Opera.

She sounds chirpy but admits that the journey to...