The opera singer who’s leading London’s noise against Trump

The opera singer who’s leading London’s noise against Trump


norman lebrecht

July 13, 2018

The contralto Gráinne Gillis will sing Ethel Smyth’s March of the Women at this afternoon’s women’s march against Trump.

She explains why:

Every new story brought tears to my eyes.

This was a few weekends ago, when the news of family separation in America was at its zenith. Those cries. That anguish. What can I do? was the question that gnawed at me.

I’ve been an immigrant for most of my life. Not an asylum seeker, or a refugee, like many of those children in cages. I have dual citizenship, both Irish and American. But when my American father and Irish mother brought us to Cork, we were the kids with the funny accents. We were the half and halfs who put the wrong emphasis on words like “tomayto”.

Amid all the uprooting and the sense of displacement that naturally ensued from the move from New York to Cork, we had our parents. We were going to a nice house by the sea. We were not venturing into the unknown with our immediate caregivers, our world, being torn from us in the most traumatic, violent way possible, to make some sort of weird, bullying, political point.

It’s the bullying that gets me with the Trump administration….

Read on here.


  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Good for her. Can’t help wondering if the American media will show how many people are protesting at President Chump sticking his ignorant nose in where it is not wanted but then of course he is being helicoptered everywhere to avoid all the protests against his hatred of all but himself.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      The Trump tragedy is widely covered in mainstream publications like the New York Times, the Washinton Post, the New Yorker, the Atlantic… As usual, what is essential (like the changes in the judicial system) gets less attention than what is noisy. So chances are the protests will be well covered.

      No post war US president has had a lower net approval in post war history.

      • Elizabeth Owen says:

        God to know. Thanks.

      • Sue says:

        These media you mention, they’re heavily into ‘confirmation bias’. One of the reasons the mainstream media is in its death throes and likely to be replaced by U-Tube, podcasts and the long-form discussion/interview which no third party can edit and exploit. We’re living in exciting times now with this opportunity to get our information and news largely without propaganda.

        • Petros Linardos says:

          I pick and choose from the above media. The NYT and the New Yorker spice up its reports with a heavy dose of criticism, but their investigative reporting is thorough, their facts mostly vetted – worst case, they publish corrections. The best of reader comments in the NYT offer a healthy dose of criticism. My favorite columnist is Nicholas Kristof- check him out and you’ll understand why. There are also lots of op-eds from insiders, such as former judges or veterans of previous administrations, including republican ones. They know what they are talking about.

          I forgot to mention, which has lots of statistics that illuminate reality, in a time when misinformation from the executive branch of the US goverment happens on a daily basis.

          Podcasts and video discussions would be too time consuming for me. I prefer the written word. I also find it more thorough.

          As for your other comment, I have to admit that I sometimes vent about Trump, but usually include some relevant link. In general, I find that under his administration, combined with the republican congress, the US is regressing or stalled in many important areas. These such as health care, gun control (Australia got that one right!), racism, environment, justice, education, research, safety, even the free market (protectionism!). The US is far behind other nations in many metrics of prosperity, largely due to spectacular inequalities of income and privilege, which have been gradually exacerbated since the 1980s.

          Even worse, Trump’s contempt for law and order and daily insinuations about the government and institutions undermine democracy. I am not saying anything new. Others can discuss it much better than I. And of course I know more about music than politics.

          Count my venting for Trump (and regietheater!) among my weaknesses. Some of yours are more fun though: worshipping Kleiber and Austria in general.

  • Jane Ennis says:

    Congratulations to her! !

  • Novagerio says:

    A “career strategy”?…One can say what he wants about Trump, but all this noise is utterly childish.

  • Nik says:

    Are we to take your (her) word that she is an opera singer? I can’t find any record of her in any of the usual sources.

  • Mike Schachter says:

    We have the usual middle class poseurs calling themselves the Resistance. Unlike the real Resistance totally risk free of course

    • Petros Linardos says:

      So what would be an appropriate way for the British to resist Trump?

      What would it take them to be in the company of the 2017 Charlottesville counter-protesters to the white supremacist protesters to the far demonstrators the Bigot-in-Chief defended. The Charlottesville counterprotesters included one fatality. I hope this won’t happen in Britain.

      • Mike Schachter says:

        In what way are these juvenile protesters “resisting Trump”? As you well know none of them will come to any harm in Britain, though I am sure the left would welcome a martyr or two.

    • Allen says:


      Pathetic, isn’t it?

  • Mary says:

    Brava, Ms. Gillis!

  • Drld says:

    “It’s the bullying that gets me with the Trump administration….”

    You poor victim.

  • Sharon says:

    Ironically, if families were turned away together at the border and forced to return to very dangerous countries where they might be killed, few people would say anything except, “We have a right to protect our borders”.

    However, when people ask for asylum instead of being released on their on recognizance, as previously, they are now imprisoned within the US awaiting disposition of their cases. Since one cannot put kids in the same prisons as their parents, the kids go to separate facilities. This is being done to discourage people from coming to the US and requesting asylum.

    I am not justifying this in any way, shape, or form. I certainly believe that keeping families together in family facilities as is done in Europe is much more humane.

    My point is that turning people away at the border is just as inhumane but most do not care if they themselves do not see the inhumanity because it is being done at the border instead of within the country itself.