“There aren’t many fat ladies singing in opera, and when they do the brickbats fly,” writes Anita Singh in Saturday’s (1/19) Telegraph (U.K.). “That could change with the launch of a competition which will use blind auditions … By Voice Alone … backed by the Royal Opera House, English National Opera and other leading companies. Its founder, Melanie Lodge, wants to bring more diversity to the industry. There is no age limit, people with disabilities are welcome, and … in the first round, the judges will not be able to see the contestants’ CVs or even be given their names, in an effort to eliminate unconscious bias…. Lodge, founder of Audition Oracle, an online platform … has contacted the Royal National Institute of Blind People, Scope and Action on Hearing Loss … to raise awareness of the competition, which launches in March.… The prize fund is £5,000, with two awards of £500 each to be made in the first round recognizing singers who have potential and would benefit from further training. Lodge said: ‘The most interesting thing is … discovering the raw talent in the first stage and helping those people get more support and tuition to find their way into the profession.’ ”

Posted January 23, 2019