Anna Picard talks to Stuart Skelton

Written By The Wagnerian on Sunday, 29 April 2012 | 12:16:00 am


A great, blond bear of an Australian, with a voice of unparalleled beauty and strength, Stuart Skelton has made his career playing the man who is loved too little, too late or not at all.

Sailing to his death in Peter Grimes, stumbling into the arms of the woman whose beauty he has destroyed in Jenufa, taking his pleasure with another man's wife in Wozzeck and Kat'a Kabanova, predestined to suffer in Die Walküre and Parsifal, he is a compelling presence. Last night, he will have watched his fiancée leave him for a ghost in Jonathan Kent's new production of The Flying Dutchman. This morning, however, he will be enjoying a leisurely breakfast with his sweetheart, Sarah, who writes on opera for the Australian press, and the most well-connected, hard-partying, social media-savvy plush-toy mascot in classical music: Pigmund the Rock Pig.

Chowing down on a tuna sandwich between rehearsals in a sinister, strip-lit room in Three Mills Studios, Skelton, who likes the odd cigar, is pleased as punch to be back in London, where the walk from the stage door of the Coliseum to his apartment in Southwark lasts "exactly one Cohiba long". He flew in from New York less than 24 hours earlier but doesn't seem jet-lagged. Far from melancholy or brooding, he is in his own words "pretty gregarious". (Bryn Terfel is a drinking buddy.) A foodie and amateur mixologist, Skelton meticulously documents the development of his cocktail recipes. When he makes a Negroni, he squeezes orange zest over a lighted match so that the oil puddles, just so, on the cocktail. His recipe for key lime pie Martini stipulates crushing Graham crackers "to the consistency of sand" using a bottle of Grey Goose vodka as a rolling pin. Is he a bit of a control freak? "I am a bit nuts," he admits. "I also hang my shirts left to right in colour order."

Continue reading at: The Independent