A backstage pass to the world of opera. Stage director and industry insider Nina Brazier interviews guests from all corners of the industry, exploring the influences and obstacles that shaped their journeys, and discovering how they each found a unique operatic voice.
Fiona Maddocks – Critic and Author
Fiona played violin as a girl, but knew she didn’t belong on stage. After studying English at Cambridge, she set out as a hopeful writer but found the doors shut. She helped set up Channel 4, music editor of The Independent, was the founding editor of BBC Music Magazine and wrote four books, all while raising a young family. As Chief Music Critic of The Observer, Fiona is the only woman in that role on a UK broadsheet newspaper.
Fiona’s books can be found here and her literary agency can be found her
Duncan Rock - Baritone
Growing up in Australia, Duncan was set to become a lawyer, until music led him to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Finding his niche as a sailor in Billy Budd at Glyndebourne and ENO, Duncan became a Jerwood Young Artist at Glyndebourne, and an ENO Harwood Young Artist. He now works across the world from Glyndebourne to the Met to ROH among many others. Duncan shares his story of the injury that spurred his interest in nutrition and health and venture as a nutritionist and exercise professional.
Lou Platt – Artist Wellbeing Practitioner
Lou was brought up by her Avon Lady mother and nuclear engineer father, who created sets for their local theatre, and in their home. Lou became a professional performer, co-founding The Other Way Works, creating immersive theatre. Despite her love of performing, she suffered from performance anxiety. Lou founded Artist Wellbeing, enabling artists and performers to take radical care of their mental health and wellbeing and reach their fullest potential.
Please note, this episode contains some swearing.
Nicola Candlish CEO
Nicola began playing the recorder at school, but soon paid a deposit on a saxophone - to the horror of her parents. She studied music at Durham through to PhD, then worked as a Stage Manager in UK opera companies, pantomimes, and toured the world with Shakespeare’s Globe. At RAM as Producer and Opera Company Manager, she produced opera in external venues and managed a visit from the Royals. Nicola is now CEO of BYO, giving opportunities to singers, musicians and tech trainees beginning their careers.
Frances Marshall - photographer & branding expert
Frances began learning the piano at five years old, but was also captivated by copies of Vanity Fair around her house. As an usher at nineteen at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, she persuaded her boss to let her backstage with her camera, giving her access to all the visiting artists. Soon, she was working as a photographer, and went on to found Marshall Light Studios, creating bespoke branding, website design, portrait and stage photography for the world of classical music and opera.
Christine Chibnall – Director of Planning
Christine’s love for music was encouraged by her parents, and further nurtured at South Hampstead High School for girls. After studying English, she sent countless letters and went for a PA role at WNO despite having no typing skills. She ended up not only as PA but chaperoning children, fundraising and organising tours. At Opera North, she brought structure to the work around her. Christine chats about her in-depth experience of the UK opera scene and shares tips for what not to do in her auditions.
It’s a fantastic podcast!
I love this podcast!
Nina asks the right questions and gives her guests the space to talk.
Elizabeth Day of the opera world
Such an amazing insight into the world of opera, from so many different perspectives. Nina Brazier may well be the Elizabeth Day of the opera world. I’m a huge fan already, and can’t wait for more episodes!