Spectra Ensemble presents

The Boatswain’s Mate

Music and libretto by Ethel Smyth (1913-14) After a short story by William Wymark Jacobs

This performance will go ahead as planned – find out more here.

“Fix a date for Dreamland Margate…”

Summer 1953: peace reigns in Europe, and the waters of the English Channel are troubled only by holidaymakers. Young and old alike have flocked to Margate for summer loving and strolls on the promenade.

But at a quiet pub set back from the seafront, the landlady has a nuisance on her hands. She’s confronted with a suitor who simply won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. And, when he comes up with a last-ditch plan to win her heart, our formidable heroine gives him more than he’d bargained for…

Written after a stint campaigning with the Suffragettes, Dame Ethel Smyth’s opera put female emancipation centre stage when it premiered a century ago. With rollicking humour, romantic yearning and a new arrangement for piano trio, Spectra Ensemble’s acclaimed revival brings this neglected gem to a new audience.

About the Company

Formed in Oxford in 2015, Spectra Ensemble aims to explore and redraw the conventional bounds of opera. The company champions neglected works and gives a platform to pieces which cross deftly between genres, often fusing classical styles with folk, jazz and other popular traditions. Drawing inspiration from the artistic collaborations of the early twentieth century, Spectra treats opera as a collaborative endeavour at the intersection of design, movement, words and music. This all-encompassing mode of storytelling offers something for everyone.

Previous productions include Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha, which was nominated in the Broadway World Awards for Outstanding Achievement in a New Opera Production, and Liturgie, a ballet-opera originally conceived by Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, but completed only in 2016, with newly-commissioned music by Spectra Ensemble associate Daniel Lee Chappell.

Post Show Talk

Join us on Saturday 10 September for a post-show discussion with music historian Dr Leah Broad, who is currently writing a biography of Smyth and three other women composers, and opera director Cecilia Stinton, who has directed this production of The Boatswain’s Mate.

The Boatswain’s Mate

9 September 2022 - 7:30 pm
10 September 2022 - 7:30 pm

Full Price: £14
Concessions: £12
Under 25s: £10

Extra information

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