In a major shake-up to its Board, Cardiff-based Welsh National Opera (WNO) has appointed its first ever female Chair as well as five new members, the opera company has announced.

Welsh-born Yvette Vaughan Jones took up the position of Chair with immediate effect in October. She has long worked in arts advocacy and has extensive experience of working in the sector both in the UK and internationally.

Her distinguished career has seen her working for independent arts organisations, the Arts Council of Wales – where she set up Wales Arts International – local authorities and the Welsh Government. Vaughan Jones is an experienced trainer and moderator and a regular guest teacher at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Commenting on her new role, Vaughan Jones said: “I am thrilled at the opportunity to take on the Chair of Welsh National Opera at this time and am acutely aware of the eminence of previous Chairs who have done such a fine job. WNO is a fantastic organisation whose origins are well known to have been formed in the community choirs for which Wales is rightly famous.

“WNO has for many years been a beacon of quality and excellence in the opera and music world and now the challenge is to show how the light from that beacon not only shines in the smaller towns and villages across Wales but also illuminates the desires and interests, giving a voice, through opera, to many more people.”

The five new appointments to the Board of Directors are also women and take the Board to 13 serving members. They strengthen the Board in key areas including governance, finance, diversity, Welsh language and higher education.

Taking up the new role of senior independent director is Lynne Berry OBE, currently Chair of Sustrans. The four other appointees are Manon Edwards Ahir, Aileen Richards, Dr Chitra Bharucha MBE and Nicola Amery.

Chair of the WNO Board Nominations Committee Andrew Miller, who oversaw the recruitment process, said: “Through our searches for a new Chair and Board members, we have strengthened the WNO Board with wide-ranging skills and lived experience that will position us well to face the challenges of the 2020s.

“I am delighted that all our appointments are women and that for the first time in our 73-year history, WNO will have a female Chair in Yvette Vaughan Jones. We have also widened our diversity, making the WNO Board more representative of the public who fund us with perhaps the most inclusive Board anywhere in UK opera.”



Yvette Vaughan Jones has been appointed the Welsh National Opera’s first female Chair in the company’s 73-year history.