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16-19 FEBRUARY 2023

in association with 

What is the SWAP’ra Retreat?

An inspiring residential course, providing intensive support, training and skills development for new mothers and birthing-parents, facing barriers to returning to singing careers in the opera industry. A four-day programme co-hosted by SWAP’ra and Glyndebourne, February 16th-19th 2023, the SWAP’ra Retreat will support a small, intimate group of mothers/birthing-parents to improve their physical and emotional wellbeing, rebuild confidence so they feel able to promote themselves for future professional opportunities, and to connect with a friendly, safe and non-judgmental community


We will work to achieve these outcomes through a carefully curated programme of activity, including:


  • Sessions with a performance psychology coach.

  • Group yoga sessions led by an expert in post-natal core strength rehabilitation 

  • Individual vocal coaching sessions.

  • Informal discussions with peers who understand the precise pressures and obstacles faced by fellow opera parents. 

  • Two masterclasses led by industry experts. 

  • Professional recordings of two audition arias that can be used to support attendees’ return to auditions and professional engagements. 

How much DOES it cost to attend?


Places on the course will be free of charge for all artists attending the retreat, with suitable accommodation for themselves/their families as appropriate, provided. 


Can I bring my children?


Yes. It will be entirely up to you whether or not you wish to bring your family. Some may choose to treat the weekend as an opportunity to get away and focus on their career development, but for those who are unable or do not wish to leave children at home, we will provide accommodation for you, your children, and a partner/grandparent/nanny etc. Though we are not able to offer childcare through SWAP’ra, lack of childcare should not prevent you applying. Let us know your needs and we’ll do all we can to support your joining the course if you are chosen. 


Who is eligible?


The SWAP’ra retreat is open to applications from opera singers who:


  • are based full-time in the UK

  • have given birth in the past 0 to 4 years (four years and under at 16/02/2023)*

  • were in the final stages of opera training with a demonstrably promising future career, or had already established a professional career in opera before the birth of their first child

  • can demonstrate an ongoing commitment to a career in opera

  • will feel ready to record two unedited opera arias, off copy, by February 19th 2023

  • are available for the entirety of the course


We are particularly keen to receive applications from people who are experiencing multiple barriers to returning to a singing career after a period of maternity leave. We are an anti-racist organisation and welcome applications from people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to make us aware of any additional access requirements for the Retreat. If you need this information in any other format or would like to apply by recording a voice note, please contact us via

*our intention in the future is to hold a separate course for parents and carers of children in a broader age range, for those who have taken a significant career break to raise children. 


How do I apply?

Applications are now closed.



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