We do our best,
we Queens, we mothers,
mothers of Queens
That saying? Behind every famous man...? From Mrs Darwin to Queen Kong, Carol Ann Duffy's The World's Wife is a poetry collection that takes a swipe at the famous men of history and myth from their spouses' perspective. Composer Tom Green has transformed these firework poems in to a 21st century opera for solo soprano and string quartet and loop pedals. Join us for the debut of a radical new operatic voice, as five onstage musicians construct disembodied choirs and armies of string quartets to tell a story we all share.
The World’s Wife is a 21st century chamber opera. Using loop pedals to turn a small group of musicians into a universe of sound, this piece tells the story of women through the ages as you’ve not heard them before.
composer Tom Green says:
I want to confront the tradition of 'undoing' female characters in opera, literature, history, our inherited culture - and Carol Ann Duffy's words are perfect for excavating these ancient prejudices. Composing with a motherlode of loop pedals has allowed me to have multiple active characters sung by a single soprano, all giving an explosive re-telling of their stories. As the string quartet loops itself from a string orchestra to an army of mechanical ants, the soprano's characters accumulate, and she becomes an archetype - the World's Wife. This piece isn't about healing old wounds, but drawing current questions into the spotlight. I've written the music using material from various female composers - is this just another man stealing women's work for glory? Maybe. Questions of gender are still with us, and they need to be asked.