Return to site

#05 Ali McGregor — The Soprano Who Ran Away With The Circus

My guest on this episode is the soprano, cabaret performer and one of the stars of Victorian Opera's Lorelei, Ali McGregor.

Ali trained as a classical soprano and performed as a Young Artist with Opera Australia before she was lured into the world of cabaret.

Her credentials on that circuit are held in such high esteem that she was appointed as Artistic Director of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival - for two years she steered the ship alongside Eddie Perfect and for a third she took the wheel on her own.

Ali performs around the world, and I have joined her in various cities around Australia as well as Hong Kong and Edinburgh, where she is a festival favourite. I talked to her in Melbourne, where she is rehearsing Lorelei, the show she convinced Victorian Opera they should make.

I hope you enjoy this conversation with the soprano who ran away with the circus, Ali McGregor.

In this episode we discuss:

  • "I think all art is a conversation. It really only finds its true calling when it has another’s gaze (or ears) upon it."
  • How the opera singers from Covent Garden who sang after-hours at Wilton’s Music Hall inspired Ali’s show Opera Burlesque with Antoinette Halloran and Dimity Shepherd.
  • "At one time [when you went to the] opera you’d play cards, drink and eat salami in the balcony. You’d throw stuff at the stage if you didn’t like it and cheer if you did. Opera is such a refined, high art these days that I think it’s lost some of its bawdiness."
  • Miss Behave Game Show
  • Any art has its extremes
  • I’m a big believer in collaboration and really finding fantastic collaborative groups of people.
  • "I do believe I have pretty awesome taste in people."
  • The flow on benefits of gifting someone(s) with your trust
  • "Letting down my defences and trusting the room full of creatives was a massive challenge. It was shocking to me how much of a challenge that was."
  • How her three years as Artistic Director of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival continue to inform her work as an artist.


Ali McGregor website facebook instagram

Lorelei Victorian Opera book tickets

photo credit: Claudio Raschella