The swap'ra team

Rebecca Bottone

Social Media Manager

Soprano, Rebecca Bottone studied at the Royal Academy of Music and has performed internationally on opera and concert platforms. Highlights include Queen Tye in Akhnaten at ENO, Pelléas et Mélisande at the Hong Kong Arts Festival with WNO, the title role in Patience in the BBC proms conducted by Charles Mackerras, Joanna in Sweeney Todd at La Monnaie and the maid in Thomas Ades’ Powder her Face at

The Royal Opera, Covent Garden.


She has made appearances in BBC2’s Television documentary The Genius of Beethoven with the English Chamber Orchestra‚ David Starkey’s Music and Monarchy and the role of a singer in Steven Poliakoffs acclaimed film Capturing Mary.


Sophie Gilpin

Chief Executive Officer

Sophie Gilpin is a stage director working in both opera and theatre. She is Artistic Director of HeadFirst Productions and established A Festival of Sex, Love and Death in 2017; a multi-arts festival for which 54% of the creative teams were female.  She has directed productions for companies including Hampstead Garden Opera, Riverside Opera/Rose Theatre Kingston, Celebrate Voice, and Re:Sound Music Theatre/Oxford Lieder Festival, as well as working for Opera North, Opera up Close and Iford Arts.  Sophie is passionate about engendering more inclusive working practices where women in senior leadership positions are no longer the exception to the rule.

Ella Marchment

Development Manager

Ella Marchment is an award-winning director and artistic director who has worked across Russia, Scandinavia and the EU on over 120 productions with companies and houses including The Mariinsky, Wexford Festival, Buxton International Festival, Bury Court Opera, The Royal Opera House, The International Opera Awards and Copenhagen Opera Festival. She has been hailed in reviews as ‘the leading artist of a generation’, and has also founded and led four International opera and theatre organisations (Helios Collective, Constella OperaBallet, Theatre N16, and the Danish Arts Fest). This year her directing credits include The International Opera Awards 2018 Ceremony, Magic Flute in Copenhagen, and Madigan at The Danish Arts Fest.

Anna Patalong

Head of Operations/Project Manager

Anna Patalong (soprano) studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is laureate of the Francisco Vinas and Stanislaw Moniuszko competitions. She performs regularly in opera houses across the UK and Europe and is fast gaining a reputation across Europe for her "warm and smooth-toned soprano" (Telegraph). Anna initiated SWAP’ra in order to celebrate the achievements of women in our industry in 2018 and to discover creative ways in which areas may be improved for the future.

Madeleine Pierard

Head of Marketing/Project Manager

Lyric soprano Madeleine Pierard was a Jette Parker Young Artist with The Royal Opera, Covent Garden where she has sung numerous roles and recitals. A native New Zealander, she studied at the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio, garnering numerous awards and now performs worldwide in a huge variety of roles. Recent Highlights include the title role in Louise and Cecilio in Lucio Silla for Buxton Festival, Rufus Wainwright's 'Prima Donna' and performances of Britten's Rape of Lucretia with Muhai Tang in Tianjin, China. Madeleine has always been passionate about championing women and parents in this beloved industry.

Kitty Whately

Partnership Manager/Project Manager

Kitty Whately (mezzo soprano) trained at the RCM and GSMD. She was winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award and the Royal Overseas League, and a BBC New Generation Artist. She performs regularly for the main opera companies and recital festivals in the UK and abroad. She has been a mother for her entire professional career, and feels that there are a great many opportunities for positive change within the opera industry. She is keen to explore ways in which the opera world could be more inclusive of women, and accessible to people with dependents.

Chief Executive Officer - Sophie Gilpin

Development Manager - Ella Marchment
Head of Marketing - Madeleine Pierard

Music Director - Jessica Cottis

Head of Operations - Anna Patalong

Partnerships Manager - Kitty Whately

Social Media Manager - Rebecca Bottone

Project Manager (Instrumentalists) - Beth Higham-Edwards


jessica cottis

Music Director

Jessica Cottis maintains a busy guest conducting 

schedule worldwide, working with orchestras 

including the RPO, LPO, Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Houston 

Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Malaysian 

Philharmonic, and at the BBC Proms. This season she makes debuts with the LA Philharmonic, LSO, and conducted a new opera by Israeli composer 

Na'ama Zisser for the Royal Opera House. 

A gifted communicator, Jessica Cottis is already acting as an inspiration to the younger generation. She has has conducted projects with organisations such as the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and Sistema Scotland, and led courses for aspiring female conductors with the Royal Philharmonic Society. In 2015 she was appointed Associate Member of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM), an honorary award for former students who have made a significant contribution to the music profession.


Beth higham-edwards

Project Manager (Instrumentalists)

Beth is a percussionist who works extensively in theatre and contemporary music. Her recent projects include Inala (West End and international tour 2019) Amadeus at The National Theatre, Othello at Shakespeare’s Globe (2018) and Common at The National Theatre (2017). 

She is a founding member of the all-female percussion group Beaten Track Ensemble  where she performed to critical acclaim in the Tate Modern’s Alexander Calder exhibition Performing Sculpture. She appeared on BBC Radio 3 In Tune and Music Matters with the group.


Beth is also a workshop facilitator and educator. She has recently worked with the Wigmore Hall, LSO, Royal Opera house Bridge, London Chamber Orchestra, Snape Maltings, BBC Proms Learning, London Music Masters and Creative Futures. Beth trained as a Trainee Music Leader with Spitalfields Music 2014-15.



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