Friday 9th February - 7:30 pm
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”.
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.
George Bernard Shaw wrote to Ethel; “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 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!
Lucy studied voice at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama after completing a Community Theatre Arts degree at Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama.
Singing credits include Gotterdammerung (Flosshilde) at Longborough Festival Opera, Die Fledermaus (Orlovsky) at Opera Holland Park and Oedipus Rex (Jocasta) at the ICA. Acting credits include the UK premier of Bernhart’s The Ignoramus and the Maniac (Queen of the Night), The Wizard of Oz (Wicked Witch) at Liverpool Playhouse, Beauty and the Beast (Paloma) at the Unicorn Theatre and The House of the Spirits (Ferula) at West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Lucy has followed her passion for developing and performing new work including Wellspring Songs by Sam Paechter (written for Lucy) for the Opera North New Composers’ Forum; Silver Swan by Paul Clark for Clod Ensemble in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern and at the Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House; Arcane by Paul Clark for Opera Circus at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells; Unborn in America by Luke Styles at the Vaults Festival 2015; Melanie Wilson’s Opera for the Unknown Woman; Phenomenal People, a live performance and digital garden for Fuel; Amelia and the Mapmaker (Amelia Earhart) for 19th Step and Behind Closed Doors: Shakespeare Reimagined (Helena’s Spirit) at the Old Vic. At BAC Tom Morris directed Lucy in Newsnight The Opera (Kate Adie) by Tansy Davies. Richard Thomas’s Jerry Springer the Opera (Andrea) and Tourette’s Diva (Daughter Diva). Currently touring Kathleen Ferrier Whattalife! (Kathleen Ferrier) and Shakespeare in Song.
Born in Brighton and studied at the Guildhall School. While at college she won the Raymond Russell Competition for harpsichord, the Dove Memorial Prize for top Graduate of that year and the Carl Meyer Memorial Prize for outstanding service to the School.
Elizabeth has performed at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Floral Hall at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and St. John Smith Square and appeared in concert with Alastair Miles, Janice Watson, Sally Matthews, Robert Hayward and Claire Rutter. She has broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4, Classic FM, BBC 2 TV, Channel 4 and French National Radio.
She has been official accompanist for the Peter Pears, the Richard Tauber and the Kathleen Ferrier competitions and for masterclasses with Ileana Kotrubas, Guisseppe di Stefano and Sherrill Milnes. She is much in demand as a vocal coach and works regularly with singers such as Alastair Miles, Patricia Bardon and Sir Willard White.
Elizabeth is a founder member of the Tzigane Piano Trio, which performs regularly all over the UK and has released a disc of the complete music for Piano Trio by Cecile Chaminade. She has also released a disc of South American songs with the tenor Luciano Botelho. Elizabeth is music director of ‘Kathleen Ferrier Whattalife!’ which has a busy touring schedule in the UK. She has recently been made a Fellow of Guildhall School of Music and Drama.