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Ethel Smyth: Grasp the Nettle
Saturday 28 September 2019 @ 7:30 pm
Hay Memorial Hall, Cornhill
Saturday 28 September 2019
A new play with music performed by Lucy Stevens with musical accompaniment
Following her hugely successful productions Kathleen Ferrier Whattalife! and Shakespeare In Song which are currently touring the UK, professional contralto and actress, Lucy Stevens is developing a new show for 2018 – Ethel Smyth: Grasp the Nettle to coincide with and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, the decisive step in the political emancipation of women in the UK getting the vote.
Dame Ethel Smyth, the composer, writer and suffragette, was the living embodiment of the passion with which Victorian women challenged the “male machine”. As an activist, she was imprisoned in Holloway with Mrs Pankhurst. This feisty lady was not only a talented composer but also a political activist.
She played an important part in the suffragette movement and was jailed for smashing the windows of an important politician. 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.
In 1902 she was the first female composer to have an opera performed at Covent Garden and, 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 at The Met was in 2016.
George Bernard Shaw wrote to her “Magnificent! It was your music that cured me for ever 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 – Grasp the Nettle is a whirlwind of Ethel’s exploits and passions interwoven with her songs, the story of her greatest opera, The Wreckers, and her battle for an equal voice. It is Illuminated with anecdotes from her confidants, her letters and her own writing “…which is peculiarly beautiful and all of it rippling with life” (Maurice Baring).
Performer: Lucy Stevens
Music Director: Elizabeth Marcus
Director: Dodger Phillips
Producer: Penny Mayes Dramatic Solutions
Under 16 / Full Time Education £6.00
Family (4 tickets, maximum 2 adults) £30
*(OAP, Disability and Unemployment Benefit)
Tickets will be available at the following outlets four weeks before the event:
The Ice Cream Shop, Portsoy
Tickets also available on the door but booking advisable