This is part of a series of articles exploring opera in the 21st century. Read Dr Caitlin Vincent on gender and sexual violenceagainst female characters in our March 2022 magazine, Shamistha de Soysa on racism and representationin recent Australian opera productions, and Greg Eldridge’s Opera Columnlooks at on how changing social values have shaped the presentation and reception of opera.

Caitlin Vincent is to be congratulated on producing a well-thought, largely even-handed article on the problems of violence against women in the operatic canon ( Diva or Canon Fodder, March 2022). However, I was a little disappointed that she seemed unable to interrogate these issues more deeply with regard to the plot and character arcs of the operas whose principal female characters she mentions.

Her opening telegraphic list of characters and their fates is good attention getting but a more detailed examination of their dramatic evolution would go a long way to explaining the superficially grisly ends they all seem to meet.