There have been a few, very few, at the head of an opera house and some have not lasted very long.
Mary Allen at Covent Garden, Cressida Pollock at English National Opera, for instance.
Ulrike Hessler ran the Semperoper in Dresden for two years until her early death in 2012. Eva Kleinitz died after two years at Strasbourg.
Francesca Zambello, at Washington National Opera, is presently the only head of a major US company.
Birgitta Svendén has headed the Royal Opera Stockholm since 2010.
Two more have just started – Laura Berman at Hannover and Sophie de Lint at Dutch National Opera.
There’s Katharina Wagner at the family business.
And that’s about it.
Christina Scheppelmann, who has just started as general director at Seattle Opera, is convinced there is a glass ceiling. She says: ‘I’m sure there has been, often, discrimination. But if I put this in my head, I will not change the discrimination. I can only change it by proving that I’m doing a good job.’
Read on here.
UPDATE: We’ve been reminded of Pamela Rosenberg who ran San Francisco Opera for five years and was joint chief at Stuttgart for seven. Simone Young was both music director and intendant at Hamburg State Opera. Karen Stone runs Theater Magdeburg and Lilli Paasikivi heads Finnish National Opera. Bregenz Festival is headed by Elisabeth Sobotka. Hanna Munitz lasted 30 years at the Israel Opera Tel Aviv.
UPDATE2: From conductor Francesco Cilluffo: I would like to point out that Rosetta Cucchi is the new General Director of Wexford Festival Opera, Cecilia Gasdia is General Director of Arena di Verona and Teatro Filarmonico, Anna Maria Meo is General Director of Teatro Regio di Parma, Barbara Minghetti is co-director of Macerata Opera Festival and Parma, and Cristina Ferrari runs Teatro Comunale di Piacenza. So not such a bad score, for Italy.