Composer Tom Green has created a new chamber opera based on Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife poetry collection. It will receive its world premiere at Welsh National Opera’s Millennium Centre on 15 October.
The World’s Wife, released by the poet laureate in 1999, reexamines famous stories of the past from the perspective of women. Praised for its feminist re-telling of history, the collection is now on the English Literature syllabus for A Level students in England, Wales and Scotland.
Green, whose work has been supported by the PRS for Music Foundation, said he wanted the piece to “confront the tradition of ‘undoing’ female characters in opera, literature, history, our inherited culture”. As well as adapting Duffy’s poetry, the work references female composers in its score such as Clara Schumann and Barbara Strozzi.
“This piece isn’t about healing old wounds, but drawing current questions into the spotlight,” continued Green. “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.”
Soprano Amanda Forbes – who appeared in the world premiere of Philip Glass’s opera The Trial – and the Mavron String Quartet will perform the premiere.