For most companies in most countries, the past two years has been one of disaster and heartbreak, with record numbers of cancellations in Europe, America, and Australia leading many artists to either retrain or look for alternative employment, and those who remain in the profession experiencing a vicious cycle of hope followed by crushing despair as events are cancelled or postponed. Yet, amidst all of this scheduling carnage there has appeared a new phenomenon in the international world of opera: a number of individuals who, far from fearing the enforced furloughs, have decided to launch completely new festivals and companies. And there’s a common theme about them, which should give hope to us all.

“We pride ourselves on having a team made up of progressive artists and administrators who adequately reflect the demographics of our industry,” reads the description of Opera NexGenwhich was launched in June 2020. “An opportunity for … community members of all backgrounds and skill sets to take part in…” announced Opera Festival Scotland...