In her artist statement, Ruby explores themes of home and finding her roots through the strength and stories of the women in her family.

“I grew up in Australia, then moved as a teenager, and then continued moving until pretty much now, so the idea behind this project really stemmed from the idea of my roots. That brought me to the women in my family who really inspire me. I started thinking about my mum, and her mum, and her mum, and her mum, and I focused in on my great-grandmother, Ruby Maria Bridget Barlow, and the strength that I find in her name.”

“The first song that I chose to use was Be Not Afraid, and I learnt about this song through an account that my great-aunt had written about my great-grandmother, Ruby. She said that in the last few weeks of her life in the hospital, Ruby heard this song over the intercom and quickly learned and memorized it. The second song is Nachtviolen by Schubert, which I sang to my Nana in 2013 when I was visiting her for Christmas, and a song that I recorded while overseas to be recorded at my Nana’s funeral in 2014.”

“I definitely do want to continue this project in some way because it made me feel so connected to my family, my ancestors, and most importantly to my great-grandmother, Ruby.”

Ruby Nightingale is an Australian Soprano and composer based in New York. Most recently, she joined the National Opera Intensive with Against the Grain Theatre and University of Toronto, as well as the Westchester Summer Vocal Institute in New York. She was a 2020 Britten-Pears Young Artist (Composition, Alternative Performance and Performance Art). Performances include Frank Denyer’s The Fish that became the Sun with Rubythroat ensemble at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (premiere recorded by BBC Radio and winner of Royal Philharmonic Society’s large-scale composition Award), Trinity Laban’s opera scenes as La Fée in Massenet’s Cendrillon, Agathe in Weber’s Der Freischütz with Opera at Bearwood, and Sancho Panza in Don Quixote visits the Duchess by Boismortier with Richmond Opera. She has performed as a soloist in GrandMother by Esmeralda Conde Ruiz Union Chapel, and Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Festival in London, and a solo recital of contemporary repertoire including her own song cycle we will part for voice, loop pedal, and harmonium, at The Swiss Church in London. She made her conducting debut at The Normansfield Theatre in 2018 as Assistant Music Director of Richmond Opera.


Thank you to Ruby for sharing her project and artistic voice. You can find more of Ruby on Instagram, as well as by visiting her website.

The Artist Statement Project was created as a part of AtG and University of Toronto’s National Opera Intensive program in August 2021. To explore more projects by participating artists, click here. To learn more about the National Opera Intensive, click here.