Cover art for podcast The Opera Pod

The Opera Pod

60 EpisodesProduced by The Feast CollectiveWebsite

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.

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Ed Gardner OBE – Conductor, Principal Conductor - London Philharmonic Orchestra & the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

April 5th, 2022

32:12

From jumping in as a rehearsal pianist at the Salzburg Festival, through taking on ENO at the age of thirty-one, and onto the legacy of the LPO , Ed Gardner gives a refreshingly honest insight into his journey from a …

Lou Platt – Psychotherapist & Artist Wellbeing Practitioner

March 31st, 2022

33:42

How can we find balance when our schedules can be so punishing? How can we find meaning in our work in a world that celebrates immediate success?  …

Nadine Benjamin MBE – Lyric Soprano, Mentor, Mind Coach, Certified High Performance & Founder of Everybody Can!

March 24th, 2022

34:26

What happens when the career you have is not the one that you really want? Do you stay and climb the ladder, or do you take a risk and step into your story? Nadine Benjamin found herself thriving in the world of …

Kathleen Alder, Founding Director - WildKat PR

March 17th, 2022

29:56

Hailing from the German equivalent of the Von Trapp family with plans to be a solo violinist, Kathleen’s career took an unexpected pivot when she was …

Tracy Cox – Singer, Artist, Activist

March 10th, 2022

34:58

Have you ever been judged on your appearance? Or been on the receiving end of well-intentioned advice that - in fact - turned out to be not that …

Kate Valentine – Soprano, Voice Care Specialist & Founder of Valentine Voice Care

March 3rd, 2022

31:13

For over a decade, Kate was a busy lead Soprano singing across UK opera houses and around the world. However, some worrying panic attacks and serious vocal health issues came to the surface and required swift surgery. …

Allyson Devenish – Artistic Director, Music Director, Coach, Recitalist & Teacher

January 6th, 2022

27:08

Allyson was surrounded by music in Ottawa as she grew up - from jazz to classical and calypso - and playing the piano was an intrinsic part of her childhood, where she gathered happily with friends at festivals and …

Anna-Marie Sullivan – Actor

December 16th, 2021

33:29

Leaving home at just sixteen to get a place at a London drama school, Anna-Marie needed to support herself, so walking around the Royal Opera House …

Mark S Doss – Bass Baritone

December 9th, 2021

30:48

One of Mark’s earliest performing experiences was actually on stage for the Metropolitan Opera in Aida as a supernumerary, or as others might say, an …

Kate Freston-Davy - Head of Stage Management, Opera North

December 2nd, 2021

27:51

Kate remembers both music and theatre from her Methodist church and her local amateur dramatic society, where many of her family took roles on the …

Roderick Cox – Conductor

November 25th, 2021

30:51

Brought up by his single mom to a musical, church-going family, Roderick’s first instrument – a snare drum – arrived in its JC Penney cardboard box, which he carried the drum around in until they found a second-hand …

Andrea Baker - Mezzo Soprano

November 18th, 2021

30:30

Classical, Jazz, Funk and R&B were all embraced in Andrea’s Massachusetts household growing up, and with music already very much in the family, …

Breanna Sinclairé – Lyric Soprano

November 11th, 2021

29:32

Transgender opera singer Breanna Sinclairé felt trapped in the Tenor repertoire where she had never felt at ease, and finally told her teachers that …

Anna Patalong – Soprano, ISM Ambassador, Founder of Swap’ra & Development Consultant at BYO

November 4th, 2021

34:11

As a young girl, Anna ensured her playdates were only at houses with pianos, until her parents finally gave in and bought one just for her. Unaware …

Kit Withnail - Associate Production Manager in Opera Broadcast at the Royal Opera House

October 28th, 2021

30:18

After a car journey listening to Carmen tapes on repeat, on to failing his Grade 8 flute three times (despite the efforts of Mr House, his …

Toria Banks - director, writer, dramaturg, teacher, & co-founder of HERA

October 21st, 2021

31:44

Toria recalls dancing around her living room to Simon and Garfunkel, and insisting on learning to play the piano - with no urging from her parents. Critiquing her dad’s acting skills at the age of three, Toria went on …

Damien Geter – Bass-Baritone, Conductor, Composer & MD

October 14th, 2021

27:20

Damien grew up with his mom singing around the house, and Diana Ross and The Pointer Sisters on the record player, with a bit of Bach and Tchaikovsky thrown in for good measure. Although he went on to study music …

Robyn Allegra Parton – Soprano

October 7th, 2021

32:33

As a young girl, Robyn constantly played both Mariah Carey and Maria Callas on tape and CD, so her mum signed her up for a local children's choir where she first discovered a love for singing opera, starting with the …

Nicky Spence - Tenor

September 28th, 2021

34:08

Nicky began his musical journey in Dumfries in Scotland, staying late after school singing Elaine Paige at pitch and tinkling on the piano until the …

Dane Lam - Conductor

August 5th, 2021

31:44

Dane Lam grew up in sunny Brisbane, and recalls his grandmother playing piano at family gatherings, and started learning himself from a young age. …

Jason H Thompson & Kaitlyn Pietras – Projection Designers, PXT Studio

July 29th, 2021

35:41

Jason and Kaitlyn began their journeys in different ways, from a family that was open to following an artistic path, to another that was more …

Claire Barnett-Jones - Mezzo-Soprano

July 22nd, 2021

31:10

Claire began her musical journey at the age of three playing and singing the Angel Gabriel, and she was immediately hooked. Taking up different …

Cynthia de la Rosa – Hair, wigs & makeup designer

July 15th, 2021

33:09

Cynthia was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to the United States, and as a young girl she loved dressing up her Barbie dolls and recording …

Paula Murrihy – Mezzo

July 8th, 2021

36:15

Paula grew up with traditional Irish Music in County Kerry, but despite immersing herself in music and performance at the National Folk Theatre of …

Lila Palmer - Librettist & Producer

June 30th, 2021

35:59

The Ango-American Librettist & Producer Lila Palmer takes us to rural Vermont and to beautifully vivid moments of music in her childhood, like …

Aaron Blake - Tenor

June 24th, 2021

30:26

Aaron Blake grew up in Palos Verdes in California, where his parents indulged him in violin lessons early on in Kindergarten, even if it was just for …

Michael Volpe OBE - Executive Director

June 17th, 2021

32:06

Growing up as an Italian boy in London, Michael Volpe listened to everything from Mario Lanza to prog Rock.  Despite having very little money, his …

Eleazar Rodríguez - Tenor

June 10th, 2021

27:11

Growing up in Piedras Negras on the Mexican border with the United States, Eleazar first experienced opera from a recording his father borrowed of The Three Tenors, and he went on to buy a videotape of them, which he …

Jane Davidson – Director of Outreach & Education

June 3rd, 2021

33:25

Jane was captivated by her first opera at the age of eight, and realising she loved story-telling in all different forms, went on to study English and Drama at university. Working as a dresser while she was a student, …

Harry Bicket - Conductor

May 27th, 2021

42:57

Growing up in Liverpool, Harry drove his artist mother mad playing The Beatles and took to the piano, but thought of it as more of a hobby than …

Ruth Mulholland - Company Manager

May 20th, 2021

28:29

Ruth was brought up in Ireland by her dancer mother and singer and actor father, to a backdrop of golden era Hollywood musicals with some Beatles …

Matthew Rose - Bass

May 13th, 2021

37:41

Matthew Rose started studying music at school in West Sussex before going on to study at University in Canterbury, where he worked with Benjamin …

Fiona Maddocks – Critic and Author

May 6th, 2021

36:16

Fiona Maddocks played music as a young girl at the Royal College of Music on Saturdays, but after a frightening experience at a Masterclass with …

Duncan Rock - Baritone

April 29th, 2021

33:40

Born in Scotland and brought up on the West Coast of Australia, Duncan was set to become a lawyer, until his interest in music led him to London to …

Lou Platt – Artist Wellbeing Practitioner

April 22nd, 2021

55:29

Psychotherapist and artist wellbeing practitioner Lou Platt was brought up by her Avon Lady mother and her nuclear engineer father, who also created sets both for their local theatre, and for Lou to perform at home. …

Nicola Candlish CEO

April 15th, 2021

28:21

Nicola began music at school with the standard issue recorder, but soon took it upon herself to put down a deposit on a saxophone, much to the horror …

Frances Marshall - photographer & branding expert

April 8th, 2021

32:15

Frances Marshall began learning the piano at five years old, but was also captivated by copies of Vanity Fair around her house, which founded her …

Christine Chibnall – Director of Planning

April 1st, 2021

28:03

Taken to galleries, theatres and the opera by her parents, Christine Chibnall’s love for music was also nurtured at South Hampstead High School for …

Angel Blue – Soprano

March 25th, 2021

30:25

Multi award-winning soprano Angel Blue is known for the beautiful timbre of her voice and her captivating stage presence. Gracing many of the world’s …

Jessica Cottis - Conductor

March 18th, 2021

31:04

Picking out notes on the piano with her mother before she could even talk, Jessica started her music training young and was on the path to becoming a …

Julian Perkins – Conductor & keyboard player

March 11th, 2021

27:43

Julian began his life surrounded by music with his siblings, and was sent away to music courses by his parents, where he developed a real need to …

Gweneth Ann Rand - Soprano

March 4th, 2021

33:38

At four and a half years old, perched on cushions at The Royal Opera House in London, Gweneth Ann Rand was captivated, and declared she wanted to …

Oliver Mears - Director of Opera

February 25th, 2021

28:11

Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House in London, and award-winning director in his own right, Oliver Mears talks to Nina Brazier about the …

Lucia Lucas - baritone

February 18th, 2021

28:16

The American-born, German-based Baritone chose the moment carefully, knowing it could be the end of an operatic career. With an impeccably made-up …

Olivia Brown - managing director

February 11th, 2021

28:32

Managing Director of WildKat PR Olivia Brown chats to Nina Brazier about her journey to the top of the music PR industry, and offers insight for creatives on how to strategically promote themselves in the world of …

Cordelia Lynn - librettist

February 4th, 2021

30:15

Living in Moscow at five years old, Cordelia Lynn was on the path to becoming a fine concert pianist.  As a teenager back in the UK, her passion for …

John Liddell - Head of Costume

January 28th, 2021

27:26

John Liddell, Head of Costume at Scottish Opera for 35 years, initially studied law, before becoming a heavy metal musician in the 60s. After making suitably eclectic costumes for fellow band-members and musicians, he …

Lucia Ronchetti - composer and artistic director

January 21st, 2021

36:08

Multi award winning Composer and Artistic Director of the Biennale Musica in Venice, Lucia Ronchetti chats with Nina about experiencing music for the …

James Clutton - chief executive and director

January 14th, 2021

30:13

Chief Executive and Director of Opera at Opera Holland Park in London, James Clutton, chats openly about his 60s musical influences, early school …

Sarah Playfair - Casting Director

January 7th, 2021

29:42

One of Britain’s leading casting directors, Sarah Playfair chats through her formative years - from running away from her boarding school to catch …

Phillip Venables - composer

December 17th, 2020

25:54

Multi award-winning composer Philip chats with host Nina Brazier about how he works with his collaborators, how he creates work with such incredible …

Fflur Wyn - Soprano

December 10th, 2020

33:37

Multi award-winning Welsh soprano Fflur Wyn talks to Nina Brazier about her earliest performance at the age of three, growing up under the spotlight …

Rachael Hewer - director

December 3rd, 2020

28:32

Young director Rachael chats with Nina Brazier about her extraordinary online sensation, Virtual Opera’s digital creation of L’enfant et les Sortilegès with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, created under lockdown with …

Aurore Aubouin - Artistic Production Manager

November 26th, 2020

26:39

Aurore talks openly with Nina Brazier about her childhood in a small town in central France, where her mother was determined to give her daughters …

Tim Claydon - choreographer and movement director

November 19th, 2020

28:51

Tim Claydon chats with Nina Brazier about the series of happy accidents that have forged his career, from his early start as a classical dancer, to flying above 20,000 people as an aerialist at the opening of the …

Leslie Travers - set and costume designer

November 12th, 2020

29:33

Leslie Travers shares his journey from finding inspiration as a young, working-class Hartlepool boy in his local library, to becoming an …

Sue Willmington - costume designer

November 5th, 2020

27:34

British costume designer Sue Willmington chats with Nina Brazier about her early love of music and fabric, being tested to her limit on her first …

Director Christopher Alden

October 29th, 2020

28:36

Multi award-winning opera director Christopher Alden chats with Nina Brazier about his early obsession with Broadway musicals through the seminal …

Gillian Keith and Tom Randle

October 22nd, 2020

37:55

Real life opera couple soprano Gillian Keith and Tenor and composer Tom Randle reveal the unexpected twists and the life-changing phone calls that have built their careers. From winning the Kathleen Ferrier in jeans to …

Your backstage pass to the world of opera

September 21st, 2020

1:11

Director Nina Brazier reveals some of the big names in opera who will be joining her on The Opera Pod. Get your access all areas pass to find out more about the successes and setbacks, and the passions and pitfalls from …

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