16 Mar 2017

Women of Wonder

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Women of Wonder

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From singers to bookshop owners, women are taking their rightful place in the world once and for all.

With it being International Women’s Month, Welsh soprano Ros Evans came to speak with us about women in opera and the dementia choir she is currently involved with. From Sydney to Swansea the soprano has had a varied career and continues to share her experiences with the youth of today.

The Life of an Opera Singer

Evans’ stumbled upon the beginnings of her successful career at Kings College, London whilst studying music. She entered as a violinist but upon the realisation of the lesser work bestowed upon the singers she decided that would be her major. However it was Della Jones who instilled her love of opera. “Listening to Della Jones live was astonishing. That’s what really made me want to be a singer” said the singer of Della Jones.

After studying in London Evans returned to her homeland to teach the youths of Swansea and sing on the side. “Unfortunately something had to give,” said the soprano “So in 1999 I gave up teaching and became a fulltime singer”. Following her decision she sang in the chorus of The Welsh National Opera until 2002 when she became a freelance singer.

Of singing in Sydney Opera House Evans said; “I had a moment. It took my breath away.” Following on from this she described how she was bombarded with admirers whilst leaving a performance in Cardiff. “I was star-struck. I was very lucky to perform there.” In spite of this her favourite opera’s she’s performed in are Queen of Spades by Tchaikovsky and produced by Richard Jones and Perale de bouche by Benjamin Britton.

Standing shoulder to shoulder against social acceptance

Ros Evans decided to set up numerous choirs a few years ago in her home town of Swansea. The choirs consist of people of all ages, sizes, gender, and background which makes these groups appeal to everyone. The choir ‘Mums the word’ are well-known for their amazing voices as well as all their charity work. They’ve raised hundreds of pound for charities such as Maggie’s cancer care, Macmillan, the special care babies unit, Down Syndrome, and for a close friend of hers who needs around £3,000 for Chemo therapy every month. Ros also has a Dementia choir, which has been recognised for their amazing work for the community.

Having the social aspect of a choir without worrying about your background is extremely important, and the Dementia choir is a perfect example of that,” she said.

She then went on to speak about the most rewarding part which for her seeing the response of a range of people. People can be themselves and not have to worry about what others think.

No matter where you go, there’s always music. Try your hardest and you will reach your goal.

Thirty second question round

We asked Ros Evans to answer as many would you rather questions in thirty seconds that she could. This is how it turned out:

  1. KFC or McDonalds – “Neither I’m a veggie!
  2. Violin or Piano – “Piano
  3. Violin or Viola – “Viola-in
  4. Welsh or English – “Welsh
  5. Sweets or Chocolate – “Chocolate
  6. 70s or 80s music- “80s
  7. DVD’s or Cinema – “Cinema
  8. Buxton or Brecon Carreg – “Brecon Carreg
  9. Fanta or Sprite – “Sprite
  10. Coke or Pepsi- “Coke
  11. Pink or Purple – “Purple
  12. Bahamas or Caribbean – “Caribbean
  13. Planes or Boats – “Boats
  14. Mickey or Minnie Mouse – “Mickey

Who’s making a stand for women?

United Nations Women (or UN Women) are a feminist organization who also go by the name of United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. UN Women have many

celebrity ambassadors such as Nicole Kidman, Emma Watson and Anne Hathaway who are all feminists. Furthermore they are actively involved in charity work and deliver many inspirational speeches across the globe.

What about the World of Literature?

For international women’s month a quaint bookshop in Cleveland displayed all books by men backwards to show the gender disparity in literature. However after talking to a Mumbles bookshop owner we learnt the true extent of the discrimination. Although we aren’t lacking in women authors we are lacking in men who are willing to read books that are written by women. For example, one of the most influential authors, J.K Rowling, originally went by that name so that boys wouldn’t think that it was written by a woman. “Women are much more willing to read books written by men and women” says Cover to Cover shop owner Sarah Samuel, which shows that readers are female dominated in general. She also makes a point of saying that the representation of female characters in literature has changed significantly over the years as we’ve gone from Little Women in the classics to the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Mass which has a female assassin as the protagonist.

Whatever a woman’s background or career path, one thing is certain, when we put our minds to it anything is possible.
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