I’m really pleased to be making my Opera Queensland debut with John Adams’ opera A Flowering Tree. I performed one of John’s other big works, The Gospel According to the Other Mary, which I love, and this piece is his big operatic work before Other Mary.

Natalie Murray Beale, A Flowering Tree, John Adams Natalie Murray Beale. Photo © Benjamin Ealovega

It’s a ravishing score. It has a really different flavour to Nixon in China– it’s less of a political piece. Some moments are more intimate, certainly in the storytelling. It was inspired by Mozart’s The Magic Flute, so that already takes us into a different territory.

Essentially it’s a love story and one of the themes it delves into is the idea of beauty. Is it figurative? Is it the idea of a beautiful woman or a beautiful man? And it asks us to look past that, to look at beauty as being something deeper that’s not based on the physical elements alone. It also looks at the idea of what can happen when love is tested, and the idea of forgiveness, which is critical to the piece. Those parallels with The...