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It is a truth, maybe not universally acknowledged but a truth nonetheless, that epiphanies tend to happen earlier rather than later in one’s life. Soul-shattering, life-changing experiences occur more regularly when the soul is tender enough to be shattered and the life malleable enough to be changed.

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As a teenager, I was a Greek tragedy tragic. While my friends had crushes on George Michael and Boy George (in retrospect, not the most promis­ing objects of desire), I was crushing on Sophocles. It was 1983: shaggy perms, rolled-down leg warmers, cheap syn­thetic leggings, winklepickers, and a school Portakabin that reeked of fumes from the paraffin heater. It was a miserable Tuesday in January, with nothing but three more months of winter and a new set text to look forward to. The text was Sophocles’ Electra.

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It’s such a vivid memory. I’m sitting in the carriage of a train, travelling from Caringbah to Oatley. It’s a Saturday afternoon late in January and I am returning home after a morning of competition tennis ...

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It was during the still relatively tentative explorations I was making into the world of international arts festival direction that I swallowed hard and made my first visit to Glyndebourne. I had lived in London throughout the 1980s, had performed there many times in various venues from the National to the Drill Hall to Wyndham’s in the West End ... ... (read more)