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Phoebe Haines: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

20 questions with mezzo soprano Phoebe Haines


The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?

My family and friends.


“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?

“If you ask me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you I came to live out loud” (Emile Zola) or “The bigger the hair the closer to God” (Dolly Parton).


Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2014?

Probably lighting a cigarette off of a ceramic hob (à la Katona circa 2007).


Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?

Being a toddler running around in the nude.


What might you swap all your wealth for?

The guarantee that I will be able to stage my own ultra-kitsch production of Carmen when I am 70. I would use an assembled cast of historic opera singers of old along with a motley crew of other living people.


Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?

Trump owns casinos, right? So, he’s probably richer right now than some of the people who used to work in casino banking. It’s an odd term actually. The house would never lend you credit when you’re down at the poker table as they’re not that stupid. Trust me, they can spot a loser but the banks on the other hand, they used to love you writing cheques that you couldn’t cash.


What phrase or word do you most loathe?

“Basically” (though I basically say it all the time).


In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?

Absolutely: Charity begins at home. If more people looked after their nearest and dearest we wouldn’t need as much organized help to sort them out. The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund is a cause that is close to my heart.


The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?

Hmm the Albert Einstein quotation about technology springs to mind: I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. “The world will have a generation of idiots”. We probably need to just spend a lot more quality time actually socialising with the people whose company we enjoy, rather than masterminding the best possible ways to publicise said interaction on ‘social’ networking.


Phoebe Haines
Phoebe Haines

If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?

If you’re on The Orient Express without Hercule Poirot that’s a missed opportunity… Other than him, I would cordially request the company of my six very best girlfriends.


If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?

Atop something high like the Christ the Redeemer in Rio or somewhere by the sea, entirely alone, eating steak frites.


What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?

Well, you can figure that it’s always going to be 5pm somewhere in the world, right? Having said that, see the question below…


A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?



Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

Ones that last all night on a beach, with driftwood and a fire and a really good guitarist.


Who is the most positive person you know?

My friend Martha because she is both the wisest and youngest soul I know and I love her dearly for that. And of course my gorgeous partner Gerard, who is always able to make me see the sunny side of things whenever I’m in a rut.


What’s your most guilty pleasure?

Eating Ambrosia rice pudding out of a giant tin with a spoon.


If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?



If you were a car, what marque would you be?

I feel like one of those dodgy Robin Reliant things off Only Fools and Horses most of the time (though ideally I should say I’d like to be some sort of black Porsche I imagine).


Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.

I recently got quite weirdly and involuntarily starstruck on seeing Cilla Black.


What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

A 2014 Metropolitan Opera calendar.


Mezzo soprano Phoebe Haines is a highly regarded singer. She won The International Opera Awards Foundation Grant 2013/2014 and has been awarded the Salzburger Festspile Young Artist and Britten Pears Young Artist awards in 2014.


Follow Phoebe Haines on Twitter @PhoebeHaines.



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