On the off chance anybody's still following this pseudo-saga, my Mediawatch post has been updated with the latest articles — Richard Hickox finally speaking out against the allegations of Fiona Janes and others, in particular the accusation of nepotism regarding his wife, Pamela Helen Stephen. May I just say, whatever the truth of any of this stuff, I think this particular slur is a non issue. First of all, Pamela is great. Not earth-shattering, but she's a fine singer and certainly at (or above) the standard of this company, whoever she might be married to. Second, if he was going to play favourites, wouldn't he have made a much bigger fuss of her? A Sydney season as Nicklausse, a short Melbourne season of Carmen and six performances of Werther next year — it's not exactly excessive, is it? Especially when, as I say, she's a good choice for those roles regardless. There may well be some unbalanced casting happening at OA but I don't think this is it. Third, the suggestion — and I have seen it made — that the fact that Pamela is Richard Hickox's wife should in and of itself prohibit the company from engaging her for anything is patently ridiculous. Please, opera has never worked like this. Of course people shouldn't hire their absurdly untalented spouses, but if the right person (or one of the right people in an array of choices) happens to be married to you, how silly would it be to pass them over for that reason alone? What if Richard and Joan had never been allowed to work together? Where would we be?