Singing Fiona proves there is a life after motherhood

Surely, holding a door open for a member of either sex is just good manners?

LESLEY KEATING: Would you dare hold a door open for a woman?

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What if you could live a second life, look the way you want to look, and be whoever you wanted to be?

That sentence is the slogan for a new opera to be performed at Glyndebourne next week.

And it is a perfect fit for Fiona Alsop who will be among the cast for the world premiere of Imago at the world-famous opera house.

For that blurb could have been written with her in mind.

The 50-year-old from Waterlooville is proof that you do not have to be a spiky-haired youth still collecting pocket money who tickles the fancy of someone like Simon Cowell, to hit the big time.

Now, performing in opera might not sound like making it big to the masses who absorb things like X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. Yes, it is a minority art form, but it is a passion for Fiona and her teenage daughter.

When Fiona steps onto that legendary stage in front of an audience deep in the East Sussex countryside, it will be every bit as special for her as reaching the final of one of those so-called ‘talent’ shows on television.

And perhaps more importantly, the mother-of-three is showing that once your children have fled or flown the nest you can follow your dream, get your life back and plough your own successful furrow.

‘I thought this type of thing would be way out of my league,’ says Fiona, who sings with Portsmouth Festival Choir.

‘I have three grown-up children... but now they’re out in the world I have more time to do things for myself, hence Glyndebourne.’

It does not matter a jot if many believe opera to be elitist. Fiona doesn’t.

What matters is that she has done the childbirth bit, raised her family, coaxed them out into the world and then turned her attention to something in which she could indulge – singing. A bit of what is these days called ‘me time’.

It is an important issue for all mums, so many of whom feel bereft once their children leave home. As Fiona has shown, if you shake yourself down and re-enter the human race absolutely anything is possible.