THE only people who go to the opera these days are the rich and the old, says fresh-faced classical singer Matt Dixon.
“I think young people see it as an elitist thing they can’t access,” he said.
“But if you have a night at the opera where you have someone really good singing something absolutely fantastic, it changes your soul. It transports you to another place where you can let go.”
The Coolbinia crooner, also a tennis buff playing state grade for Mt Lawley Tennis Club, travels to London this monthto audition for the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
It’s a huge opportunity for the 20-year-old Dixon, who was handpicked to audition for the institute famous for training actors Ewan McGregor and Daniel Craig.
“All my mates are sporty tennis players and think, ‘come on Matt, when are you going to give up this classical music thing?’ and I did dabble around in trying to learn the guitar and things like that but I absolutely loved musicals and went from there,” he said.
“The first ever solo I did was in Year 5 where I sang the school song in front of everyone and I was absolutely crapping myself and it was awful but I loved it at the same time.
“I went straight from school to WAAPA and started taking opera more seriously every year I was doing it until now when I’m thinking I might be able to make a career out of this.
“As soon as you walk on stage you feel as though it’s a different world where you can be yourself – which sounds a bit weird because you are going to be yourself privately – but you can afford to take risks and communicate with people in a way you wouldn’t by yourself at home.”
When asked whether he was nervous about auditioning for Guildhall, Dixon surprisingly answered “no”.
“I’m not nervous because I’m so young in this world – in the opera world 20 is like a baby,” he said.
“They say the male voice doesn’t fully develop until you are in your mid 30s and 40s so I’ve got a while to go and that’s a problem because I’m so eager to get into this business and start earning money and entertaining people but I can’t because I’m so young.
“It’s frustrating, but if you actually make it and get there it’s incredibly rewarding – if you do make it.”
Dixon’s long-term dream is to sing one of the biggest roles at the Royal Opera House in London.
For now, he will perform Schumann, Strauss, Bernstein, Gounod and Duparc at the WAAPA Graduation recitals on November 14.
Guests can see him and fellow graduating students perform free hour concerts at the campus throughout the month.
Program at www.waapa.ecu.edu.au.