Report: Covent Garden fails women directors

Report: Covent Garden fails women directors


norman lebrecht

August 25, 2021

An Australian researcher has been running the numbers on the Royal Opera House and finds it seriously wanting.

In 2019, The Royal Opera joined the Keychange 50/50 initiative, pledging that women would make up 50% of all creatives on new opera productions by 2022.

In order to assess the status of women working at the company — and the likely impact of this pledge — we turned to historical production data. We analysed the production credits of 325 operas staged between 2005/06 and 2019/20. Drawing on the self-identified pronouns used in professional biographies, we then mapped the gender profile of 1,342 credited directors and designers.

The man at the top
The role of stage director was critical to our study because directors assume a leadership position over the artistic vision of a staged work. They are also responsible for selecting the other members of the creative team.

Over the 15 seasons included in our study, 90% of all opera productions at The Royal Opera credited a male director.

Read the full story here.



  • Patricia says:

    Art by percentages. Affirmative action rather than a good track record. Never mind talent – if you are female you must be the best for the job.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    I think they’re confusing us with people who give a s***

  • M McAlpine says:

    This numbers game is utter nonsense. I want to see the best directors whether it is 100% men or 100% women. People should be selected on merit not on a PC numbers game

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    It might be useful, if no more interesting, to know the track record of other houses in the diversity field. In the past 15 years and going back even longer I can’t really say that the actual number of women directors has been that much different elsewhere and aside from a handful of dominant directors there are as likely to be a proportionately large number of (straight) male directors who struggle to get their productions on many stages. Still, more research to fuel the whingers and the woke.

  • Nick says:

    Idiocy unveiled!! It’s quotas time, folks!

  • Helen says:

    Persuade a few to change gender, problem solved.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Having seen Coline Serreau’s Fledermaus in Paris about twenty years ago, I can safely say that she failed the Paris Opera.

  • Dermot Agnew says:

    How many opera directors are there in the world? What is their gender breakdown? Anybody know?