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Engender is a celebration of, and platform for, women in opera, and an investment in their future. The Royal Opera’s Engender initiative aims to highlight the wealth of female talent both onstage and behind the scenes, and provide a platform for conversations exploring gender in opera today. With a focus on new work, you can expect first glimpses of work in progress, performances from emerging artists and the opportunity to debate the future of opera with practitioners working across the art form.

The Royal Opera's Engender initiative is part of the Royal Opera House's commitment to promoting diversity in the arts, both on and off the stage. Alongside Engender, this Season The Royal Opera's Jette Parker Young Artists Programme hosts two Women Conductor courses, seeking to place women at the heart of classical conducting and change the landscape for women conductors across the globe.

Engender Network

The next meeting of the Engender Network will be on Friday 14 February at 1pm. The Engender Network is open to all women working in or studying the field of opera. If you would like to find out more information about the Network, or would like to join, please contact us on Please also find us on LinkedIn here.

Call for Open Studio applications

As part of the Royal Opera House’s 2020 Engender event, The Royal Opera are offering up to three female creative teams space, time and artists' fees to seed an idea for an operatic work.

The development period will run from mid-March until the end of April. Within this period we would expect fees to cover three development/planning days and two days of workshops with a director, pianist and singers - the second of which will take place w/c 27 April and will culminate with an Open Studio session taking place in The Clore Studio, Royal Opera House on 30 April or 1 or 2 May 2020 as part of the 2020 Engender event.

Application Criteria

We welcome proposals from emerging to late career artists, and the chosen teams will represent a range of experience and diversity of perspectives. We expect teams to comprise of:

1. One composer and one librettist


2. Interdisciplinary creatives working with collaborative models of creation

Successful proposals will:

  • Articulate strong ideas that are intrinsically theatrical and have a clear narrative
  • Demonstrate exceptional musical quality
  • Show that the creative team have considered the relationship between the opera form, content and their own practice and considered the audiences they are creating the work for
  • Be for ideas that will lead to a theatre/staged-based production

We are looking for proposals that represent exciting new directions for contemporary opera and encourage proposals designed for a range of audiences and age groups.  Whilst experience working within opera is not essential, a curiosity for the form is. We are looking for proposals that contain an awareness of and innovative approach to the relationship between music, stage and text. Proposed projects may draw on a variety of influences both cultural and musical but must use the operatic voice as part of its make-up.

To apply

Please fill in the application form and diversity monitoring form. If you would prefer a paper form or need any further assistance in applying, please contact Abigail Ellison.

Deadline for applications: Monday 17 February 2020, midday