Covent Garden’s Tsar brings Eugene Oneginto Australia and talks Tchaikovsky, childhood and the future of opera.

You became artistic director of the Royal Danish Opera in 2000 when you were only 27. You were the youngest director of a European opera house for many years. Was that a daunting thing for a 27-year-old?

Yes and no. It’s a bit overwhelming because you think it’s a job that you would do maybe at a late stage in your life if you’re very lucky. On the other hand I always knew it was an offer that I couldn’t turn down. It was for me my childhood home in artistic terms – the place where I had seen and grown up with opera. When they called and asked me would I like to be the new Artistic Director, yes it was daunting, but although I said I needed to think about it, it didn’t take me very long.

Why do you think you got the job at that time?

Well that’s a question for them of course, but I had worked at the Royal Danish Opera as an assistant director and directed one show myself, of course. I guess they thought I had...