This year has certainly been different, though - and maybe you’ve noticed the change in tone since I’ve gone from being Schmopera’s primary voice, to its behind-the-scenes editor and sometimes-guest author.
“Even though I was brought up speaking Irish Gaelic, it didn't occur to me to commission composers to write on Irish Gaelic texts,” says Ní Mheadhra. “Colonization does weird things to a country.”
You likely noticed that most of the stories are anonymous - but that doesn't mean I never got a name. It's a weird mix of feeling entrusted with delicate information, and feeling laden with a secret that's not mine to tell.
"I drifted off, and at some point, I saw a dark figure come into the room, with two more full glasses of wine... and the next thing I knew I was fully naked, and I didn’t know where I was. I eventually just went along and didn't fight it, I was completely incapacitated and drunk, mostly asleep and hours away from home with no available help."
"I haven't told people about this, and those I have, I have been very cryptic about names. This is because this man's wife is very prominent in my business, and although a part of me would love to go up to her and tell her exactly what kind of a man her husband is, I am too scared that she would not believe me, and would do her best to make sure I never work again."
"It seems to be quite a non-standardized industry, so many people think they can dictate how 'the industry' is run, and they can tell that to young, inexperienced, bright-eyed bushy-tailed students, and do whatever they want."
At one point, I tried to express how uncomfortable I was, my teacher told me that I was an adult and I could have left at any time. I was 20. On my way back home, my teacher's husband told me that they had decided to increase John's paycheque for all of the extra work he had put in.
"Each rejection only affirmed this belief; if I really had talent, someone would want me. On the other hand, each time I did manage to be cast, I was afraid it had been a mistake, and wondered if there was some other sort of agenda. To this day I find it difficult to trust mentors."
"Several years ago I was cast in a production opposite a tenor I had briefly dated. After the breakup he had harassed me and my friends, so I was dreading seeing him, but figured that as he was cast as Basilio, we wouldn't have too many scenes together."
"It is my sincere hope that men in the opera industry and in general will read stories like this and gain a deeper understanding of what real consent looks like."