Meet the team: Sibyl Communeau

Meet the team: Sibyl Communeau

What was your first job connected with the arts?

My first job connected with the arts was back in high school, a summer ‘paid’ internship at Radio France Culture in Paris. The production team implemented a new programme called ‘Cultural Audio Productions’ and they hired actors to recite a short story, using a live orchestra in the recording studio while some musicians were in the next room creating sound effects with daily life objects.

It was fascinating to see what was going on behind the scenes of an artistic production and it made me realise that I wanted to work in the arts industry.

Tell us about some of the jobs that you’ve had that have helped you prepare for this one.

Having worked in a fast-paced film production company helped me prepare for this one as it taught me how to communicate with both audiences and art professionals. It also helped me gain technical skills in administration and in marketing.

Having also worked for art and film festivals, in India and in Australia, it gave me knowledge of working as a Box Office Manager and coordinating events. I gained insight about what it takes to put a production together, and especially all the hard work of talented people that goes on behind the scenes.

What attracted to you working in opera?

The opera! I was always interested in the opera. I like that it is a blend of theatre and music, and I was always curious to see the production side of it.

I also wanted to find a job where I would interact with people. I find it very satisfying to help customers with what they need and leave them happy.

What is your job and key activities that take up your time?

My job title is Box Office Manager and CRM. The role encompasses both ticket sales and high-level customer service.

At the moment I am still in training with our database tool, Tessitura, and with Julie the Box Office Manager. With the pandemic going on and New Zealand being in the red setting, there are a lot of cancellations and ticket refunds to be done. Later on I will be in contact to build relationships with our customers and benefactors. Part of my role is also to manage the technical, analytical and daily operation of the box office.

I am looking forward to managing the box office at each venue when our productions can resume. I love seeing the buzz of Opening Night and how everybody’s work all comes together.

What is your set-up for working from home and who are you with?

A nice little desk, a mega pot of coffee, and Edouard the neighbour’s cat.

Do you have any tips on how to stay positive during this time?

Cliché but important: taking the time to do things you love and taking care of yourself.  For me, stealing the neighbour’s cat for early morning purring sessions seems to work. Edouard is a legend.

Do you have a favourite receipe to share with our supporters?

A recipe of the Black Rose, a French cocktail that dates back to the Roaring 20s era, for a pre-opera drink!


Black Rose


  • 140g of blackberries
  • 100g of raw sugar
  • 100ml of water
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 sprigs of thyme (or rosemary)
  • 50ml of dry gin
  • Tonic water
  • 1 lime zest
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

Method (long but worth it!)

To make the blackberry syrup, heat the blackberries, sugar and water in a saucepan until boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the lemon zest and 2 sprigs of thyme and leave to steep for 20 minutes.

(You can strain and pour into a sterilised sealed bottle. This will keep the syrup in a cool, dark place for up to 2 weeks.)

Then put the syrup with the gin and lime wheel into a cocktail shaker. Add ice cubes and shake well.

Strain into a chilled goblet over ice. Top up with the tonic water and garnish with a rosemary sprig.

Sip outside, preferably under a lemon tree at sunset with your cocktail glass in one hand and the opera brochure in the other.