The renowned Australian stage director’s love of music and opera goes back to school days at Homebush Boys High.

My relationship with music has all been show related. I joined the school choir and a church choir, singing Palestrina, Zigeunerlieder, Bach motets and William Byrd. But more than anything, it was going into the operas at Homebush Boys High where we did cut-down versions of Offenbach’s Gaîté Parisienne, The Barber of Sevilleand The Magic Flute.

There was such an exquisite sense of music at Homebush. It was a particular teacher, Lindsay Daines, who was doing such interesting productions with such great music in them. Our production of Lord of the Flieshad the Pie Jesufrom Fauré’s Requiem as the high point for Simon’s death and the music from La Fille mal gardée, which I then plundered for my school production of Toad of Toad Hall.

Director Neil Armfield. Photo by Tony Lewis.

But The Magic Flutewas the one that really captured me. I asked for a recording of the full opera for Christmas 1969 and my parents got me the Klemperer. It was also a particular positioning of myself...