Anyone who saw Lucy Stevens in “What a Life” at the Festival last year will know they are in for a real treat! This is a new play with music performed by contralto Lucy Stevens and pianist Elizabeth Marcus to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, the decisive step in the political emancipation of women in the UK. Ethel Smyth, the composer, writer and suffragette, was the living embodiment of the courage and passion with which Victorian women challenged the “male machine”. As an activist, she was imprisoned in Holloway with Mrs Pankhurst. As a composer, she wrote the anthem for the suffrage movement ‘The March of the Women’ as well as composing 6 operas and many sonata’s, quartets and song cycles.
The play follows Ethel’s exploits and passions interwoven with her songs, the story of her greatest opera, ‘The Wreckers’ and her battle for an equal voice. Illuminated with anecdotes from her confidants, her letters and her own writing, “which is peculiarly beautiful and all of it rippling with life.” George Bernard Shaw wrote to Ethel; “Magnificent! It was your music that cured me forever of the old delusion that women could not do men’s work in art and other things …Your music is more masculine than Handel’s. You scorned sugar and sentimentality and were exuberantly ferocious. You booted Elgar contemptuously out of the way as an old woman.”
Ethel Smyth was the first female composer to have an opera performed at Covent Garden Opera House in 1902, in 1903, she was the first female composer to have an opera performed at The Metropolitan Opera House in New York. The next opera by a female composer to be performed at Covent Garden was in 2012 and The Met in 2016!
Date: Sunday, 20th May
Venue: The Barbour Institute, Tattenhall, CH3 9PX
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Ticket Price: £10.00