A rather sleepy season launch at the Royal Opera House was slightly enlivened yesterday by an arts reporter’s question about the absence of women conductors in main-stage productions.
Oliver Mears, the Royal Opera director, said quite reasonably that achieving a gender balance was a high priority but it was unlikely to happen overnight.
This was blown up into a Guardian headline: One female conductor ‘not acceptable ratio’, admits Royal Opera House
The article continued in admirable virtue-signalling style:
The Royal Opera’s director of opera, Oliver Mears, was asked if that was a good ratio. “No it is not an acceptable ratio at all … of course,” he said. “But this is something which is a long-term project. It’s not going to happen instantly and in the following years we have a much better ratio of female conductors and it is something which is is an absolute priority for us.”
All arts organisations in the UK are under intense – and, many would say, long overdue – scrutiny to translate words and aspirations on diversity into positive action.
Ah well, that’s journalism in 2019.