Artists in Isolation: 2020 wrap

18 Dec 2020

Throughout 2020, we’ve had great fun peering into the lives of talented singers and theatre makers across the world for our web series ‘Artists in Isolation’.

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Across our 27 episodes, we visited (virtually, of course) Tuscan villas, Greek beach houses, Germany’s Black Forest and homes around Australia. We heard how our family of artists adapted to life throughout this pandemic; their narrow misses, lucky escapes and many cooking adventures.

As we adapt to a new normal in 2021, the series will aptly take a name change to Artists off Stage. We’ll still be heading into the homes of some of our favourite artists, but our focus will happily move away from life in lockdown.  

To wrap the series for the year, we’re awarding some of our favourite episodes.

Most Lamps Award: Kanen Breen

Gloriously mad, Kanen Breen is endlessly entertaining onstage and off. We discovered he’s long collected lamp shades and bits of material to decorate them, like a bower bird. Lockdown allowed him a chance to create some spectacularly theatrical lamps. Watch for the lamps, stay for the laughs.

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Best Maggie Beer Award: Maggie Beer

We were thrilled to have iconic Australian cook Maggie Beer join the series to speak about her great love of her music. What we didn’t expect was a cooking demonstration and she tantalised our taste buds constructing her signature dessert for Jessica Pratt, ‘La Dolce Jessica’. Yum!

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Best Advice Award: Queenie van de Zandt

Musical theatre star Queenie van de Zandt spoke candidly about responding to mental health challenges and learning to manage anxiety. This is one of our top interviews from the series filled with great storytelling and much laughter as well as these insights.

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Coolest Guest Award: Mat Verevis

This award could also go to the Lucy Maunder…both her and fellow musical theatre star Mat Verevis have a very easy cool. The Voice contestant makes his way back to Victorian Opera for The Who’s Tommy in 2021. You’ll inevitably see his swagger on display.

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Best Lithuanian Summerhouse: Vida Miknevičiūtė

The star of Salome enchanted us all with her lakeside summerhouse. Built by Vida and her husband, their holiday home is surrounded by lush gardens, thriving strawberry bushes and a sauna too. What’s not to love?

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Best Opera Couple Award: Antoinette Halloran and James Egglestone

With everyone stuck at home, we had the opportunity to catch up with two of Australia's favourite singers together. Though without the typical meddling baritone, this soprano and tenor love story is hardly operatic. This is a lovely glimpse into their joint life together away from the spotlight.

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Best Olive Grove: Jessica Pratt

Our very first guest Jessica Pratt took us on our guided tour of her home in the hills of Florence; a charming Tuscan villa complete with hundreds of olive trees. It offered us armchair tourism when we needed it most.

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Best Cookie Recipe: Elisa Colla

Ever-charming Elisa Colla, a star from our 2019 production of A Little Night Music, is a sensational cook as well as a talented performer. We spoke shortly after she’d established her cooking blog ‘An Italian and a Greek’ from which she shared her recipe for salted chocolate chip tahini cookies. Delish!

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Most Watched Award: Roger Hodgman

At home in Southern Tasmania, director Roger Hodgman offered a glimpse into his beautiful island retreat. With an abundance of local seafood available, his anecdote about fresh crayfish and chips vans on the side of the road made many of us hungry.

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By Scott Whinfield

Do you have a favourite from the series? Comment to let us know.