On the road with pianist Simon Tedeschi, the actor puts the case for resurrecting 19th-century melodrama with music.

One thing I’ve enjoyed throughout my career is performing on stage with live music. There is no buzz like declaiming Shakespeare alongside a symphony orchestra in full cry, or standing in a small space with a group of virtuosi, observing their technique while enjoying the thrill of the woody timbre of the instruments vibrating through your whole body.

I’ve done big gigs with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra including Peter and the Wolfwith Ashkenazy and (when I was very young) The Soldier’s Talewith Robert Helpmann. I’ve had two goes at Walton’s challenging Façade; the first with Stuart Challender, the second with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, when I shared the stage with the delightfully flamboyant Lady Walton.

John Bell Actor John Bell

Recently I had the pleasure of making a recording for the ABC: the melodrama Enoch Arden, a narrative poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson with a piano score by Richard Strauss. My colleague was the great Simon Tedeschi. We’re taking the show on the road...