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A short documentary by Miriam Gordon-Stewart. All about female leadership in Australian opera, and why we don't have more of it.
featuring Dr. Lindy Hume, Ali McGregor, Deborah Cheetham, Simone Young, Dr. Caitlin Vincent and Fiona Allan, soundtrack performed by Bethany Hill.

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About the cast

Prof. Deborah Cheetham AO Deborah Cheetham, Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, composer and educator has been a leader and pioneer in the Australian arts landscape for more than 25 years. In 2009, Deborah Cheetham established Short Black Opera as a national not-for-profit opera company devoted to the development of Indigenous singers.Deborah Cheetham’s list of commissions for major Australian ensembles including works for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Australia String Quartet, West Australian Symphony Orchestra String Quartet, Rubiks Collective, The Sydney Philharmonia, Plexus Collective, the Goldner Quartet and Flinders Quartet.

Simone Young AM is considered one of the most important conductors of our time. After completing her musical studies in her native Sydney, she began her career on the podium in Germany. This launched her international career, which has taken her to all important opera houses and symphony orchestras around the world. Since July 2022 Simone Young is Chief Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Young’s previous titled positions include: Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne (2017-2020), Principal Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic (1998-2002); Artistic Director of Opera Australia (2001-2003); Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon; Artistic Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Chief Music Director of the Hamburg Philharmonic (2005-2015).

Dr. Lindy Hume AM is one of Australia’s leading directors, acknowledged internationally for fresh interpretations of a wide variety of repertoire, and for progressive artistic leadership of international festivals including Sydney Festival (2010-2012) and Perth International Arts Festival (2004-2007). She has been Artistic Director of West Australian Opera (1992-96), Victoria State Opera and then OzOpera (1996-2001), and most recently Opera Queensland 2012-2017.

As a director, she has created more than 50 major opera productions across Australasia, Europe and the US at houses including  Staatsoper Berlin, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, San Diego Opera, Leipzig Opera, Royal Opera Stockholm, New Zealand Opera, Pinchgut Opera, West Australian Opera, Opera Queensland and Welsh National Opera.

Ali McGregor is a Melbourne-based singer & producer. She started her career as a principal soprano with Opera Australia. She is an award winning cabaret performer who has performed everywhere from Glastonbury to Carnegie Hall and is one of the most in demand performers on the international festival circuit. She was nominated for an ARIA award in 2014 and in 2015 was awarded a Green Room Award for her contribution to cabaret and she most recently won a coveted Helpmann Award for her cabaret show Yma Sumac - The Peruvian Songbird after successful seasons at Adelaide Cabaret Festival and the Sydney Opera House. McGregor was Co - Artistic Director for Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2016/2017 and  sole Artistic Director in 2018. In 2020 she formed FLUXUS to continue to create concepts and develop new Australian work for the operatic stage.

Fiona Allan, CEO of Opera Australia, is an eminent international performing arts leader.

She has worked in positions of both artistic and executive leadership with Curve Theatre, Wales Millennium Centre, Sydney Film Festival, and Sydney Opera House. Most recently, she served as Artistic Director & Chief Executive of Birmingham Hippodrome.Ms Allan is currently President of UK Theatre, Chair of the Midlands Regional Tourism Board, a Director of Women of the Year, West Midlands Growth Company, Stage One and a member of the ACE Midlands Regional Council, Creative Industries Federation Council and Midlands Engine Business Council. In October 2018 she was presented with the inaugural Women of the Year ‘Woman with Edge’ award and the following year the ‘Outstanding Business Woman of the Year’ Award by the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Caitlin Vincent is a librettist and researcher whose work has been performed widely, including at Washington National Opera, Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Hall.

Vincent is a Lecturer in Creative Industries and the Head of Arts and Cultural Management at the University of Melbourne, where she researches the future of work in the arts. Key areas of expertise include cultural labour, digital performance, and opera. Vincent has co-authored several high-impact industry reports, including The Status of Women in the Arts and Cultural Industries: Research Review 2010-2018 (2018) for the Ontario Arts Council, and The Impact of Australia’s Participation in the Venice Biennale (2019) for the Australia Council for the Arts.She has also contributed to funded projects commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Arts Centre Melbourne, the Melbourne Fringe Festival, and the Regional Australia Institute, among others. In 2018, she was recruited by Arts Centre Melbourne to serve as an evaluation consultant to lead impact evaluations of internal programs, including the Australian Music Vault.

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