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From The Santa Fe Opera, Key Change is a series exploring the commission and creation of new operas and their connection to our industry, our communities, and our future. Will we fail? Will we succeed? What if we keep imagining? These and other questions guide us through the ups and downs of this new collaborative initiative called Opera for All Voices. Co-hosted by Andrea Fellows Walters and Brandon Neal.

May 29, 2019

"Relationships are infrastructure." ~Andrea Fellows Walters

Of the 100 busiest conductors in classical music only for are female. A list of the 150 composers whose work is most often performed includes only one woman, and women comprise approximately 35% of soloists in opera. Of the 10 productions on the list of the most performed operas in 2017-2018, three are comedies and of the seven dramas, six end with a dead female protagonist. Women's bodies underwrite a staggering proportion of the action in the operatic canon.

These numbers are taken from a recent panel called Times Up Opera, hosted by the Santa Fe Opera.

In this episode, Andrea and Brandon explore the issues of representation, intersectionality, and content as relates to women in opera. They look at the importance of finding mentors, forming alliances with peers, and paying it forward.


Special thanks to our guests:

Chelsea Dennis, production stage manager

Anh Le, Opera Theatre of St. Louis

Madalyn Mentor, Opera Theatre of St. Louis

Susanne Sheston, conductor & chorus master

Nicole Weigelt, artistic services manager

Mo Zhou, stage director


And the Times Up Opera panelists:

Julia Bullock, singer

Chelsea Dennis

Jennifer Rhodes, seminar presenter

Mo Zhou



Key Change is a production of The Santa Fe Opera in collaboration with Opera for All Voices.

Produced and edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios

Hosts: Andrea Fellows Walters and Brandon Neal

Audio Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe

Theme music by Rene Orth with Corrie Stallings, mezzo-soprano, and Joe Becktell, cello

Cover art by David Tousley

Special music licensing from, curated by Brandon Neal

OFAV Consortium Members:  Lyric Opera for Kansas City, Minnesota Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, San Francisco Opera, Sarasota Opera and Seattle Opera.

This podcast is made possible due to the generous funding from the Melville Hankins Family Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

To learn more about Opera for all voices, visit us at