“But if you go and watch a show and you can’t see anything of yourself up there on stage, why would you connect with it?”
Lodge has contacted the Royal National Institute of Blind People, Scope and Action on Hearing Loss – Janine Roebuck, a deaf mezzo-soprano, has proved that her hearing loss is no bar to success – to raise awareness of the competition, which launches in March.
Lodge is also encouraging able-bodied singers of all sizes to take part.
She recalled a conversation with a male opera-goer about a performance they had seen. “I was chatting to the guy next to me and said, ‘Wasn’t the soprano wonderful?’ And he basically said, ‘She was very overweight.’
“It’s frustrating that people want to see a certain thing. I don’t think you can ever look at a person and know what their voice is going to be. If somebody touches your soul, that’s the important thing, not that they look amazing and fit into a size zero couture dress.”
In 2014, the size issue came to the fore when Irish mezzo Tara Erraught was deemed by critics to be too fat for her role in Der Rosenkavalier at Glyndebourne.