I've done an interview for SWAP'ra, the new charity which aims to change the opera world to make it more user-friendly, all round, for women and parents.
Support for Women And Parents in Opera will be holding an inaugural gala concert at Opera Holland Park on 31 July consisting of extracts from operas famous and less so, in which all the performers and directors are female (though some of the composers, like Mozart and Strauss, were blokes...). Much to our delight, they're also including a scene from Roxanna Panufnik's and my Silver Birch - Anna's aria, in which she tells her son Jack that she will never let him risk his life. Helen Sherman plays our heroine and our original director, Karen Gillingham, will stage it. To my intense frustration, I won't be there. I have no objection to visiting Australia this summer, but I'm sorry to miss Silver Birch's first extract to be performed in London.
The full gala line-up is here. Do go along - there's treat upon treat upon treat, culminating with the Trio from Der Rosenkavalier starring Janis Kelly, Diana Montague and Mary Bevan, conducted by Jessica Cottis. Booking here.
Taster of my interview is below, and there are lots of other hard-hitting, tell-it-like-it-is interviews with the stars of the gala on the SWAP'ra website.
SWAP’ra Supporting Women and Parents in Opera – was established in response to a collective frustration with the unconscious gender bias in the industry. The ultimate aim is to foster an environment in which a female CEO, Music Director, Artistic Director, Conductor, Composer or Librettist is no longer noteworthy.
The founders – Sophie Gilpin, Ella Marchment, Anna Patalong, Madeleine Pierard, and Kitty Whately – will address the gender imbalance in opera by encouraging best practice strategies for diversity and inclusivity, and effect industry-wide positive change by working to dismantle barriers for women and parents in leadership positions and senior artistic roles. Acting in an advisory capacity, SWAP’ra will work alongside a range of organisations to develop projects and schemes to further support or nurture female artistic talent.
Funds raised by this inaugural SWAP’ra gala will enable the organisation to make significant change in the industry. For more information, please visit the website: www.swap-ra.org