This is part of a series of articles exploring opera in the 21st century. Read Shamistha de Soysa on racism and representation in recent Australian opera productions, and Greg Eldridge’s Opera Column looks at on how changing social values have shaped the presentation and reception of opera.

Women rarely survive in opera – though they have stunning music to accompany their demise. In recent years there have been calls to address opera’s gendered violence, but as Caitlin Vincent explains, it’s a complex issue with no easy fix. Employing more female composers, conductors, directors and designers is a start.

Sydney Chamber Opera
A scene from Commute by Peggy Polias, one of four operas by women in Breaking Glass, produced by Sydney Chamber Opera in partnership with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Composing Women Program, Carriageworks, 2020. Photo © Daniel...