On e morning last December, Nicole Car was wandering around a market in Paris with her then 10-month old baby Noah and her mother when the Paris Opera called. Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva was ill and so Car would be going on that night as Mimì in its controversial, new La Bohèmeset in outer space.

Nicole Car Nicole Car. Photo: Georges Antoni

“I came home, dropped the baby off and said, ‘see you in a few hours’ and went up to the theatre,” says Car chatting to Limelighton the phone the following morning, having clearly taken it all in her stride.

As an opera singer with a busy international career, an opera singer husband (French-Canadian baritone Etienne Dupuis) and a baby, juggling has become a way of life for the high-flying Australian soprano. Not that the call was a complete bolt out of the blue. Car had been scheduled to take over from Yoncheva anyway – she just found herself making her first performance 12 days ahead of schedule. “Unexpectedly early debut @operadeparis tonight in Claus Guth’s new Boheme! Off into space I go!!” she tweeted.