SWAP’ra Gala

A star-studded celebration of female operatic talent


31 July at 7.30pm

Opera Holland Park Theatre

Tickets £20, £25, £30

Concessions are available in all price brackets (£5 off)





Hosted by star of stage and screen Fiona Shaw*, the SWAP’ra Gala is a celebration of the incredible wealth of female talent in the opera industry. A series of semi-staged scenes conducted, directed, performed and accompanied by some of the UK’s best loved artists, the evening is not one to be missed. Featuring music from opera favourites such as Le Nozze di FigaroMadama Butterfly, and Eugene Onegin as well as contemporary work by female composers Elena Langer, Roxanna Panufnik and Josephine Stephenson, the gala promises to be a spectacular event showcasing nearly 40 much-loved soloists, from rising-stars to the stars themselves. 


Conductors include: Jessica Cottis (Gala music director),  Alice Farnham,  Sonia Ben Santamaria,  Susannah Wapshott

Directors include: Lucy Bradley,  Karen Gillingham,  Sophie Gilpin (SWAP’ra co-founder),  Francesca Gilpin,  Ella Marchment (SWAP’ra co-founder),  Robin Norton-Hale

Singers include**Rosie Aldridge,  Giselle Allen,  Jeni Bern,  Mary Bevan,  Katie Bird,  Lee Bisset,  Rebecca Bottone,  Katie Bray,  Katherine Broderick,  Rebecca Caine,  Catherine Carby,  Sarah Castle, Fleur de Bray,  Anna Devin,  Carolyn Dobbin,  Anne Sophie Duprels,  Jenni France,  Nazan Fikret,  Catherine Hopper,  Yvonne Howard,  Jennifer Johnston,  Fiona Kimm,  Janis Kelly,  Rhian Lois,  Caroline Macphie,  Diana Montague,  Anna Patalong (SWAP’ra co-founder),  Madeleine Pierard (SWAP’ra co-founder),  Rosalind Plowright,  Gillian Ramm,  Meeta Raval,  Amanda Roocroft,  Lucy Schaufer,  Helen Sherman,  Angela Simkin,  Sarah Tynan (SWAP’ra patron),  Kitty Whately (SWAP’ra co-founder),  Catherine Wyn Rogers.

Orchestra: All-female SWAP’ra Orchestra

*Subject to availability

**Lineup subject to change


Full gala programme:

Mozart, Die Zauberflöte

Conductor: Jessica Cottis

Director: Francesa Gilpin

1st Lady: Katie Bird

2nd Lady: Catherine Hopper

3rd Lady: Rosie Aldridge


Britten, The Rape of Lucretia

Conductor: Jessica Cottis

Director: Ruth Mariner

Lucretia: Jennifer Johnston

Female Chorus: Lee Bisset

Lucia: Nazan Fikret

Bianca: Rhonda Browne


Roxanna Panufnik, Silver Birch

Conductor: Jessica Cottis

Director: Karen Gillingham

Anna: Helen Sherman


Mozart, La nozze di Figaro

Conductor: Sonia Ben-Santamaria

Director: Daisy Evans

Susanna: Rhian Lois

Marcellina: Gaynor Keeble


Puccini, Madama Butterfly

Conductor: Sonia Ben-Santamaria

Director: Sophie Gilpin

Cio-Cio San: Meeta Raval

Suzuki: Carolyn Dobbin


Mozart, Cosi fan tutte

Conductor: Susannah Wapshott

Director: Poppy Burton-Morgan

Despina: Sarah Tynan

Fiordiligi: Jeni Bern

Dorabella: Katie Bray


Tchaikovsky, Eugene Onegin

Conductor: Susannah Wapshott

Director: Francesca Gilpin

Tatyana: Katherine Broderick

Mme Larina: Amanda Roocroft

Olga: Angela Simkin

Filippyevna: Fiona Kimm


Mark Adamo, Little Women

Conductor: Jessica Cottis

Director: Fiona Williams

Jo: Lucy Schaufer

Beth: Rebecca Caine

Amy: Jennifer France

Meg: Karen Cargill

Britten, Peter Grimes

Conductor: Jessica Cottis

Director: Poppy Burton-Morgan

Ellen: Giselle Allen

Auntie: Yvonne Howard

First Niece: Rebecca Bottone

Second Niece: Gillian Ramm


Bellini, Norma

Conductor: Alice Farnham

Director: Lucy Bradley

Norma: Madeleine Pierard

Adalgisa: Catherine Carby


Donizetti, L’elisir d’amore

Conductor: Alice Farnham

Director: Fiona Williams

Gianetta: Anna Patalong


Rossini, La Cenerentola

Conductor: Alice Farnham

Director: Noa Naamat

Angelina: Sarah Castle

Clorinda: Fleur de Bray

Tisbe: Samantha Price


Puccini, Suor Angelica

Conductor: Alice Farnham

Director: Sophie Gilpin

Angelica: Anne Sophie Duprels

Principessa: Catherine Wyn-Rogers


Monteverdi, L’incoronazione di Poppea

Conductor: Susannah Wapshott

Director: Robin Norton-Hale

Poppea: Anna Devin

Nerone: Kitty Whately


Josephine Stephenson, Les Constellations

Conductor: Jessica Cottis

Director: Robin Norton-Hale

Marianne: Caroline MacPhie

Marie: Gillian Keith


Strauss, Der Rosenkavalier

Conductor: Jessica Cottis

Director: Lucy Bradley

Marschallin: Janis Kelly

Octavian: Diana Montague

Sophie: Mary Bevan






This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.