Oboist Mikaela Sukkar is currently in Melbourne taking part in AYO February Season – a new production of Wagner’s Parsifal with Victorian Opera. We caught up with Mikaela to find out more about the operatic world and life in the orchestra pit.
Hi Mikaela! How is Melbourne treating you so far?
Hey there! Melbourne has been a fantastic city to be in! It’s such a great place to explore; so many wonderful cafes, street art… and the trams are super convenient.
Are you an opera lover?
I absolutely love opera! I don’t think I could tell you a favourite one – I guess it’s whichever one I am playing at the time!
Were you familiar with Parsifal before embarking on this program?
I had definitely heard of Parsifal before, but had never performed it. I’d actually never heard it in full before the upcoming weeks to this AYO season.
What has been the most challenging thing about the program so far?
I think the most challenging thing about this AYO program is rehearsing one piece that lasts such a long duration. It definitely requires a lot of concentration, and patience while other instruments rehearse their parts with the conductor. I have also become really good at counting rests! Haha!
Does playing in an orchestra pit differ much from playing on stage?
Most definitely. Firstly, you’re quite close to the other musicians around you, and your eyes must be always glued to the conductor, as the tempos can change frequently and unexpectedly. It’s also a little easier to get distracted, as there are so many interesting things happening on stage that grab your attention… not to mention beautiful vocal lines.
Had you considered working in an opera or ballet orchestra before?
I most definitely had. I would love to play with a professional opera or ballet orchestra one day. The excitement and unpredictable nature of playing for a ballet or opera is so exhilarating, and rewards you with a feeling you won’t receive anywhere else.
What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming performances at the Palais Theatre?
I feel so immensely blessed to be able to play at the Palais Theatre; a venue where so many incredible musicians have performed before me. I can’t wait for the opportunity to perform this opera, which I have worked so hard on rehearsing and practising, and I’m excited for the challenge to make each performance new and exciting. Also, I would love to prove to myself that I can stay focused and on the ball for over 4 hours! If you can do that, I think you can do just about anything.