The World’s Wife is based on an anthology of poems by Carol Ann Duffy and reflects on collective stories, historical events and myths, told from an altered, female perspective. Inspired by Duffy’s poems, composer Tom W. Green wrote a chamber opera for singer, string quartet and looping station.
Throughout the opera, different female characters take the stage, both historical and mythological, ranging from the sexually awakened little-red cap to the motherly Queen Herod. By way of response, Green’s composition contains music from past female composers who were sometimes unduly ignored, such as Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn.
Ragazze Quartet and Dutch opera director Jorinde Keesmaat are for the first time creating a fully staged version of the opera. Keesmaat (known from a.o. Andriessen’s Anais Nin + Odysseus Women) is intrigued by the absence of the female voice which paradoxically speaks through Duffy’s poems.
While stating their individuality, the women in the poetry are at the same time trapped in a male narrative. Seeking to weave their own narrative, five female performers explore their historical and mythological predecessors. They are guided by the warm baritone singing of transgender opera singer Lucia Lucas, who has recognised and has responded to her inner voice unlike anyone else. Together, they embark on a journey which leads to a (re)discovery of a collective and individual, female voice.
Photo: Nichon Glerum