Jessica Pratt’s anticipated debut
OPERA sensation Jessica Pratt — described as Australia’s next Joan Sutherland — has wowed audiences around the world but never in a fully-staged Opera House performance.
On Thursday that will all change when she returns home to make her muchanticipated debut with Opera Australia playing the lead role in Lucia di Lammermore.
The former Ashfield resident, 39, has come a long way since she worked at Officeworks in Glebe as a 19- year-old while studying singing at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
“It’s very exciting and a huge thrill,” she said about singing at the Opera House, an icon for many singers but “especially for someone who grew up in Sydney and was looking at it all the time”.
“In Sydney, I wanted to come home and sing one of my signature roles so it was really a question of getting the right timing.”
Her parent’s Phil and Ronnie Pratt who both teach at Summer Hill’s Trinity Grammar School will be in the audience along with her close family for the opening night performance.
“My parents are so happy,” she said.
Her father, Trinity’s director of music, encouraged her to play the trumpet as a child to “help me develop my breathing mechanism as I grew” which she says has also aided her as an opera singer. He did not encourage her to sing until she was 18 and her voice had fully matured.
“I only sang because it was fun but there was no real formal training until then,” she said.
Pratt lives just outside of Florence, Italy with her fiancé Riccardo De-Menna.
She has lived there ever since she was sponsored to study in Italy by Australians Trish and John Bradley. Her big break came when she was offered the role of Lucia.
“I got a very good review from a tough reviewer in Italy on my opening night who said I would soon be walking the halls of fame.”
She may not have believed it then but the prediction has come true.
›› June 28-July 27, Sydney Opera House, 7.30pm. Tickets from $46
Catherine Zuill, Inner West Courier, 26 June 2018