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Desert Island Discs

Rita Rae, Lady Rae, lawyer and judge

Desert Island Discs
Desert Island Discs

The Honourable Lady Rita Rae is a lawyer and judge, and the current Rector of the University of Glasgow. Early in her career she was a rare woman in the heavily male-dominated legal world. She went on to work on many high profile criminal cases over five decades as a solicitor, an advocate and subsequently a judge in Scotland’s Supreme Court.

Rita grew up in Plains, Airdrie, to the east of Glasgow. She was a shy child but earned the nickname ‘The Last Word’ from her parents because of her need to argue her case when she felt something wasn’t right. She was inspired to become a lawyer by her maternal grandfather, a noted advocate and anti-fascist from Naples.

Her parents met in a munitions factory in Italy where her mother was working. Her father was a Scottish bomb disposal expert helping to dismantle munitions after the war. They married and moved to Scotland, but Rita and her brother were not accepted by her Scottish family because of their Catholicism.

Rita became a solicitor in 1974, entering a world dominated by men. When told by a senior colleague that women were ‘emotionally unsuitable for court work’, she set about proving him wrong. She became a partner in her firm at the age of 27, and was called to the bar in 1982, one of just 13 female advocates in Scotland at the time. She was made a Sheriff in 1997 and a Judge of the Supreme Courts in 2014.

In 2021 she was elected Rector of the University of Glasgow, the first female working rector in the university’s 570-year history.

DISC ONE: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18 - III. Allegro scherzando. Composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff, performed by Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) and London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by André Previn DISC TWO: “Ah! Dite alla giovine” from Act 2 of La Traviata. Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, performed by Angela Gheorghiu (soprano), Leo Nucci (baritone) and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducted by Sir Georg Solti DISC THREE: Mamma - Beniamino Gigli DISC FOUR: Aranjuez mon amour - Massimo Ranieri DISC FIVE: Cheap Flights - Fascinating Aïda DISC SIX: “The Flower Song” (“La fleur que tu m’avais jetee”), Carmen, Act II. Composed by Georges Bizet, performed by José Carreras (tenor) and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducted by Jacques Delacôte DISC SEVEN: Ave Maria. Composed by Giulio Caccini (Arr. Brinums) and performed by Inessa Galante (Soprano), Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Aleksandrs Vilumanis DISC EIGHT: Climb Ev’ry Mountain - Peggy Wood

BOOK CHOICE: The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, its Regions and their Peoples by David Gilmour LUXURY ITEM: A solar powered car CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Mamma - Beniamino Gigli

Presenter Lauren Laverne Producers Paula McGinley and Tim Bano

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