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Dr Christopher Wiley writes ‘Composer of the Month’ article on Ethel Smyth for Australia’s Limelight Magazine

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Dr Christopher Wiley has contributed an article on Ethel Smyth for the January/February 2020 issue of Limelight, Australia’s classical music and arts magazine, for its ‘Composer of the Month’ feature.

In the four-page article (pp. 76–79), Dr Wiley introduces Smyth to the readers, discussing her life story as well as drawing attention to salient features of her musical works.

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Dr Christopher Wiley co-writes essay in CD booklet for new Ethel Smyth recording

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FeteG_front_coverDr Christopher Wiley has co-written, with Dr Valerie Langfield, an essay published in the accompanying booklet to Retrospect Opera’s new CD of Ethel Smyth’s Fête Galante, entitled ‘Fête Galante: Ethel Smyth’s Neoclassical Dance-Opera’. He also contributed the work’s synopsis.

The disc represents the first recording of Smyth’s opera Fête Galante, conducted by Odaline de la Martinez. It also includes Liza Lehmann’s recitation The Happy Prince, recorded at the University of Surrey (Dr Wiley arranged and helped out with the recording sessions), together with some historical transfers of recordings of Smyth’s operas made during her lifetime.

This is the seventh CD release by Retrospect Opera, for whom Dr Wiley serves as one of four Trustees. Dr Wiley previously wrote essays for the liner notes to Retrospect Opera’s releases of Smyth’s operas The Boatswain’s Mate and The Wreckers.

For further information, and to buy the CD: https://retrospectopera.org.uk/SMYTH/FeteG.html

Full text

The full texts of both Dr Wiley’s synopsis and co-written essay are available for free download under licence from Surrey Research Insight Open Access: https://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/853063/

Update: Dr Wiley has also co-written, with Lucy Stevens and Odaline de la Martinez, the liner notes for the CD Dame Ethel Smyth: Songs and Ballads (SOMM 2020), featuring Lucy Stevens (contralto), Elizabeth Marcus (piano), and the Berkeley Ensemble conducted by Odaline de la Martinez. Further information: https://www.somm-recordings.com/recording/dame-ethel-smyth-songs-and-ballads/

 

Dr Christopher Wiley delivers paper in the Faculty of Music Colloquium Series at the University of Cambridge

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University of Cambridge Faculty of MusicDr Christopher Wiley presented a 45-minute version of his paper ‘Reconsidering Ethel Smyth’s The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera’ in the Faculty of Music Colloquium Series at the University of Cambridge.

Dr Wiley’s talk, given to an audience of some 40 academics and graduate students in the Faculty’s lecture room, was a much extended version of the paper he has delivered at women’s history events at UK universities including KentPortsmouthSurreyRoyal Holloway, and Edge Hill.

Dr Wiley previously gave an unrelated paper in an Oxbridge colloquium series in 2015.

Further information about Dr Wiley’s colloquium may be found here: https://www.mus.cam.ac.uk/events/current-events/Christopher-Wiley

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Dr Christopher Wiley delivers paper at community workshop at the University of Kent

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Dr Christopher Wiley at the University of Kent

Dr Christopher Wiley has spoken at the ‘100+ years of the women’s movement in Kent, Sussex, and Surrey’ community workshop held in the Tonbridge Centre at the University of Kent on Saturday 8 December 2018.

Dr Wiley’s paper, entitled ‘Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement: Reconsidering The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera’, had previously been presented at UK universities including PortsmouthSurreyRoyal Holloway, and Edge Hill. The day ended, rather fittingly, with an impromptu rendition of Smyth’s ‘The March of the Women’.

The full programme for the workshop may be found at the following link: https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/womenshistorykent/programme-of-community-workshop-on-8th-december/

Dr Christopher Wiley serves as historical adviser and scriptwriter for community play on Ethel Smyth

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Ethel Smyth - A Furious LongingDr Christopher Wiley has acted as historical adviser as well as one of the team of scriptwriters for the community play Ethel Smyth: A Furious Longing – The Story of Woking’s Composer.

Several years in the planning, the play was performed by Woking Community Play Association from Thursday 4–Saturday 6 October 2018 at the H.G. Wells Centre, Woking.

Dr Wiley was one of five scriptwriters who collaborated on the 90-minute play, as well as advising on its historical and musical elements.

Dr Wiley’s contributions to the script drew directly on his research on Ethel Smyth, including her involvement with the suffragette movement, her operas The Wreckers and The Boatswain’s Mate, and her relationship with the writer Virginia Woolf.

Dr Christopher Wiley delivers paper at Women’s History Network annual conference at the University of Portsmouth

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Women's History Network logoDr Christopher Wiley was among the many speakers who presented at the 27th Annual Conference of the Women’s History Network, held at the University of Portsmouth on Friday 31 August–Saturday 1 September 2018.

Entitled ‘The Campaign for Women’s Suffrage: National and International Perspectives’, the conference attracted a large delegation of scholars of women’s history internationally.

Dr Wiley’s paper, ‘Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement: Reconsidering The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera’, was presented in one of the conference’s parallel sessions to an audience of some 25 academics.

Dr Christopher Wiley at the University of Portsmouth

Dr Wiley considered the extent to which Smyth’s The Boatswain’s Mate might be considered a feminist opera, with reference to the composer’s suffragette activity, the story on which the work was based, and her creative process, including her adaptation of pre-existing music in the score.

Dr Wiley has presented previous versions of his paper at several other UK universities including Surrey, Royal Holloway, and Edge Hill.

The conference website is here: http://www2.port.ac.uk/centre-for-european-and-international-studies-research/events/womens-suffrage-2018/

The complete programme for the event is available for download here: http://www2.port.ac.uk/media/contacts-and-departments/ceisr/events/Suffrage-Conference-2018.pdf

Dr Christopher Wiley publishes 50th review for Musical Theatre Review

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Musical Theatre ReviewDr Christopher Wiley has written 50 reviews since February 2014 for the digital magazine Musical Theatre Review, which covers a wide variety of live events internationally, ranging from pop gigs to opera in addition to musical theatre, and is Vuelio’s no.2 theatre blog.

Among the many highlights of Dr Wiley’s activity include reviews of Elaine Paige’s ‘Stripped Back’ tour, of Mandela Trilogy by Cape Town Opera at the Royal Festival Hall, London, and of the international première of Strictly Ballroom: The Musical at Sydney Lyric Theatre, Australia.

Other highlights include the 2014 revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel; Sinatra: The Main Event at Cadogan Hall, London, starring Richard Shelton; and solo shows by leading West End stars Daniel Koek and Nadim Naaman.

Coincidentally, Dr Wiley’s first and 50th reviews were of two shows written and performed by the same artist, comic songwriter Alexander S. Bermange. The artist most frequently reviewed by Dr Wiley is Pippa Winslow, who features in seven different reviews.

Dr Wiley has also reviewed student productions by many of the major performing arts institutions and organisations, particularly Guildford School of Acting and Youth Music Theatre UK; as well as many new works of musical theatre, and one-off productions in popular London venues such as The Pheasantry.

A complete listing of Dr Wiley’s reviews for Musical Theatre Review is available at the following link: http://musicaltheatrereview.com/?s=Christopher+Wiley

Dr Christopher Wiley contributes programme notes to BBC Proms programme

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Royal Albert HallDr Christopher Wiley has contributed notes to the programme for The BBC Proms concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London (pictured) on Wednesday 1 August 2018.

Prom 24, ‘A Hero’s Life’, presented Ethel Smyth’s ‘On the Cliffs of Cornwall’ (Prelude to Act 2 of her opera The Wreckers), as well as Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor and Richard Strauss’s tone poem Ein Heldenleben.

As an internationally leading researcher on Ethel Smyth, Dr Wiley was invited to write programme notes for ‘On the Cliffs of Cornwall’ as well as a brief biographical profile for the composer.

A regular fixture at The Proms during her own lifetime, Smyth’s ‘On the Cliffs of Cornwall’ was programmed for the 2018 season mindful of the composer’s period of activity as a leading suffragette, in the centenary year of many women receiving the parliamentary vote in the UK for the first time.

Dr Christopher Wiley co-organizes and presents paper at international conference on women’s suffrage at the University of Surrey

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Dr Christopher Wiley and Dr Charlotte Mathieson open the conference (from Twitter)

Dr Christopher Wiley served as one of three conference co-chairs for the two-day international conference ‘Centennial Reflections on Women’s Suffrage and the Arts – Local : National : Transnational’ held at the University of Surrey on 29-30 June 2018, together with two colleagues from the University’s School of Literature and Languages, Dr Charlotte Mathieson (pictured with Dr Wiley, right) and Dr Lucy Ella Rose.

Panel discussion L-R Codee Spinner, Dr Amy Zigler, Dr Christopher Wiley (from Twitter)

The conference incorporated more than 25 papers including Dr Wiley’s own ‘Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement: Reconsidering The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera’, which he had previously given at Edge Hill University earlier in the year. The panel on which he spoke, Women’s Suffrage in/and Music’, led to an animated question and answer session (pictured, left).

Roundtable discussion L-R Christopher Wiley, Kate Willoughby, Lucy Stevens, Jacqueline Mulhullan (from Twitter)

Dr Wiley also convened and participated in a roundtable discussion (pictured, right) featuring three professional actresses who have recently developed shows on themes of women’s suffrage, Jacqueline Mulhallen (Sylvia, based on Sylvia Pankhurst), Lucy Stevens (Grasp The Nettle, on Ethel Smyth), and Kate Willoughby (#Emilymatters, a social media campaign inspired by Emily Wilding Davison), all of whom performed extracts from their plays as part of the conference.

Dr Christopher Wiley introduces Keynote speaker Elizabeth Crawford, OBE (from Twitter)

Finally, Dr Wiley chaired a session on ‘Ethel Smyth, Suffrage, and Transnationality’, drawing on his reputation as an acknowledged expert on the composer, and was privileged to introduce Keynote speaker Elizabeth Crawford (pictured, left), who had been awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List earlier in the month for services to education in relation to women’s history.

The event attracted more than 40 delegates (pictured, below), with speakers ranging from University of Surrey academics and postgraduate researchers to museum-based archivists to international scholars from the UK, Continental Europe, and North America representing the disciplines of literature, music, film, and the visual arts.

The conference organizers gratefully acknowledge the support of the School of Literature and Languages at the University of Surrey; The British Association for Victorian Studies; and The Feminist and Women’s Studies Association UK & Ireland.

Further information may be found at the conference website: https://suffragecentennial.wordpress.com/

The full programme, including abstracts, is available here: https://suffragecentennial.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/suffrage-conference-programme-2018.pdf

Conference delegates waiting for the roundtable discussion to begin

Update: A news piece on the conference has appeared on the the University of Surrey’s website: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/news/surreys-centennial-reflection-womens-suffrage-and-arts

Several postgraduate research students have contributed reviews to the conference website: https://suffragecentennial.wordpress.com/reviews/

See also the reviews on the School of Literature and Language’s website: http://blogs.surrey.ac.uk/english/2018/08/02/looking-back-at-centennial-reflections-on-womens-suffrage-and-the-arts-local-national-transnational/

Update: An article co-authored by Dr Wiley and Dr Amy Zigler, entitled ‘The Suffragette Movement and the Music of Ethel Smyth: The String Quartet and The Boatswain’s Mate’, is available on the Exploring Surrey’s Past website: https://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/themes/subjects/womens-suffrage/suffrage-biographies/dame-ethel-smyth-composer-and-suffragette/the-suffragette-movement-and-the-music-of-ethel-smyth-the-string-quartet-and-the-boatswains-mate/

Dr Christopher Wiley delivers paper at women’s suffrage conference at Royal Holloway, University of London

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largelondonrgbDr Christopher Wiley has addressed the ‘Education, College Women, and Suffrage: International Perspectives’ conference held at his alma mater, Royal Holloway, University of London, on 13–14 June 2018.

Dr Wiley’s paper, ‘Gender Studies and Multi-Disciplinary Teaching: A Case Study of Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement’, discussed the challenges presented by the delivery of tuition in gender studies within higher education contexts given the necessarily interdisciplinary nature of the field.

Presenting to an audience that itself encompassed a wide variety of different arts disciplines and educational backgrounds, Dr Wiley illustrated his arguments by drawing on his current research on the relationship between Ethel Smyth, her suffrage activity, and her opera The Boatswain’s Mate.

Organized by The Bedford Centre for the History of Women and Gender at Royal Holloway in conjunction with the Centre for the History of Women’s Education at the University of Winchester, the two-day conference attracted some 60 delegates.

Further information is available at the conference website: https://educationcollegewomenandsuffrage.wordpress.com/

The full programme may be viewed online here: https://educationcollegewomenandsuffrage.wordpress.com/programme/

Dr Christopher Wiley gives talk on Ethel Smyth for Surrey Local History Symposium at Surrey History Centre

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Surrey History CentreDr Christopher Wiley delivered a talk entitled Dame Ethel Smyth, Ground-breaking Composer, Writer, and Suffragette’ at the Annual Symposium of Surrey Local History Committee on Saturday 21 April 2018.

The one-day symposium, whose theme was The Changing Role of Women’, featured presentations from five speakers who work in areas of local history. Organized by a committee of Surrey Archaeological Society, the event was held at Surrey History Centre, Woking, and attracted around 40 audience members from across the county.

In addition to his internationally recognized academic research, Dr Wiley has previously spoken on Ethel Smyth at a range of local history events in the Surrey area, including talks at The Lightbox, Woking, The Guildford Institute, and at Smyth’s childhood home in Frimley Green.

The programme for the Surrey Local History Symposium is available at the following links:

Surrey History Centre – https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/heritage-culture-and-recreation/archives-and-history/surrey-history-centre/heritage-events

Surrey Archeological Society – https://www.surreyarchaeology.org.uk/content/changing-role-of-women-surrey-local-history-symposium

Celebrate Woking – https://www.celebratewoking.info/events/annual-symposium-changing-role-of-women

Dr Christopher Wiley contributes Foreword to CD booklet for re-issued recording of Ethel Smyth’s opera The Wreckers

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The Wreckers booklet front coverRetrospect Opera’s re-release of the Conifer Classics recording of Ethel Smyth’s opera The Wreckers includes a newly written Foreword by Dr Christopher Wiley in the accompanying CD booklet.

The 2-CD set is a live recording of the performance at The Proms in 1994 with the Huddersfield Choral Society and the BBC Philharmonic, conducted by leading Smyth interpreter Odaline de la Martinez.

An acknowledged expert on Ethel Smyth, Dr Wiley is one of the four-strong team of academics at Retrospect Opera, whose debut release, the first complete modern recording of Ethel Smyth’s opera The Boatswain’s Mate, also included an essay by Dr Wiley for the CD liner notes.

The CD of The Wreckers is available direct from Retrospect Opera at the following link: http://www.retrospectopera.org.uk/CD_SALES/CD_Sales_Wreckers.html

Full text

The full text of Dr Wiley’s Foreword is available for free download under licence from Surrey Research Insight Open Access: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/842086/

Dr Christopher Wiley addresses interdisciplinary Suffragette Symposium at Edge Hill University

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Dr Christopher Wiley - Edge Hill University - Suffragette SymposiumDr Christopher Wiley has spoken at the Suffragette Symposium hosted by the interdisciplinary Gender and Sexuality Research Group (GenSex) at Edge Hill University on Wednesday 28 February 2018.

His paper subjected to renewed critical scrutiny the claim that Smyth’s opera The Boatswain’s Mate, composed following her two years’ service as a suffragette in the 1910s, constitutes a ‘feminist opera’.

The presentation, entitled ‘Ethel Smyth, Music, and the Suffragette Movement: Reconsidering The Boatswain’s Mate as Feminist Opera’, explored the work’s refashioning of pre-existing music including two of Smyth’s suffrage songs used in its Overture, as well as a range of adaptations of traditional music.

Addressing an audience of some 35 delegates comprising both academics and members of the public, Dr Wiley also discussed the opera’s indebtedness to the short story by W.W. Jacobs on which it is based, and made consideration of Smyth’s creative process as documented in contemporaneous correspondence with Emmeline Pankhurst.

Edge Hill University shieldFurther information on the Suffragette Symposium may be viewed online: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/wonder-women/gensex/

The full programme is available here: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/wonder-women/files/2018/02/Suffragette-Symposium-Programme.pdf

Speaker biographies and abstracts may be found at the following link: https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/wonder-women/files/2018/02/Suffragette-Panel-Bios.docx.pdf

 

Dr Christopher Wiley gives pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2017

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Rhoda McGaw Theatre, WokingDr Christopher Wiley delivered a pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2017, to introduce its production of Mozart’s opera Così fan tutte at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking on Tuesday 7 November 2017.

Dr Wiley’s talk focussed on two principal issues, the portrayal of women in Così fan tutte and the work’s relationship with the genre of opera buffa, illustrated with a slideshow and audio excerpts. Held in the Rhoda McGaw Theatre adjacent to the main auditorium, it was attended by a large audience of some 150 opera-lovers.

A work well-known to Dr Wiley from his undergraduate teaching, he also discussed the opera’s historical background, characters and plot, and the ways in which its reception has changed over time, as well as the specific interpretation taken by Glyndebourne Tour in this revival of the 2006 production directed by Nicholas Hytner.

Dr Wiley has previously given pre-performance talks for Glyndebourne in 20162015, and 2014, mainly on operas by Mozart.

Dr Christopher Wiley gives talk on Ethel Smyth’s opera The Boatswain’s Mate for Guildford Hard of Hearing Support Group

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Ethel SmythDr Christopher Wiley delivered a talk entitled ‘Ethel Smyth’s (feminist?) opera, The Boatswain’s Mate at the Millmead Centre, Guildford on 27 February 2017, for Guildford Hard of Hearing Support Group.

The Boatswain’s Mate was the fourth of six operas composed by Smyth (who suffered from distorted hearing and deafness for the last several decades of her life), and was the most popular and most frequently performed during her own lifetime. It was recently released in its first complete modern recording by Retrospect Opera (of which Dr Wiley is a part).

An acknowledged expert on Smyth, Dr Wiley provided an outline of the circumstances of the composition of The Boatswain’s Mate, its plot, and interesting features of the music. He also discussed the extent to which the work constitutes a ‘feminist opera’, as has previously been suggested.

This is the second time that Dr Wiley has addressed Guildford Hard of Hearing Support Group, having delivered a presentation on Smyth’s life and works two years ago in January 2015. Dr Wiley has also recently given talks on Smyth at The Guildford Institute and at the composer’s childhood home in Frimley Green.

Dr Christopher Wiley gives pre-performance talks for Glyndebourne Tour 2016

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mk-galleryDr Christopher Wiley has delivered two pre-performance talks for Glyndebourne Tour 2016, to preface its productions of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, on 8 and 9 November, respectively.

Both talks were delivered at the MK Gallery, Milton Keynes prior to performances at the nearby Milton Keynes Theatre. Speaking to some 60 audience members, Dr Wiley introduced the plots and characters of the operas, their historical backgrounds, noteworthy features of the music (such as Puccini’s use of authentic Japanese tunes in the score of Madama Butterfly), and aspects of the interpretations taken by Glyndebourne’s productions.

Dr Wiley has previously given pre-performance talks for Glyndebourne in 2014 and 2015, but this is the first time that he has been invited to speak at Milton Keynes.

Update: Dr Wiley reprised his pre-performance talk on Puccini’s Madama Butterfly to some 60 opera-goers in the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking on 30 November, by way of introduction to Glyndebourne’s production later that evening in the adjacent New Victoria Theatre.

Dr Christopher Wiley contributes essay to CD booklet for newly released Ethel Smyth recording

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The Boatswain's Mate - CD front coverRetrospect Opera’s newly released CD of Ethel Smyth’s The Boatswain’s Mate, the first complete modern recording of the work, includes an essay by Dr Christopher Wiley in the accompanying booklet.

The recording appears in the centenary year of Smyth’s comic opera, which premiered on 28 January 1916 at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London. It features singers Nadine Benjamin, Edward Lee, and Jeremy Huw Williams in the principal roles, accompanied by the Lontano Ensemble conducted by pioneering Smyth interpreter Odaline de la Martinez.

Dr Wiley is acknowledged as an academic expert on Ethel Smyth, with recent research activity including publication of a major journal article, a score preface, and promoting Smyth’s music in concert, in addition to giving several public lectures on the composer. His essay The Boatswain’s Mate in the context of Smyth’s life and works’ appears in the CD booklet alongside contributions by Odaline de la Martinez and Retrospect Opera’s Professor David Chandler.

The CD is available direct from Retrospect Opera at the following link: http://www.retrospectopera.org.uk/CD_Sales.html

It may also be ordered through Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Boatswains-Mate-Ethel-Smyth/dp/B01HIJX83Q/

Full text

The full text of Dr Wiley’s essay is available for free download under licence from Surrey Research Insight Open Access: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/811593/

Dr Christopher Wiley gives pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2015

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Rhoda McGaw Theatre, WokingDr Christopher Wiley delivered a pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2015, as a prelude to its production of Mozart’s opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail in the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, the tour’s final venue, on 1 December 2015.

Dr Wiley’s talk was held in the adjacent Rhoda McGaw Theatre, which was at capacity with some 200 opera-goers in attendance. Over the course of half an hour, Dr Wiley discussed the historical context of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, its extensive use of spoken dialogue, the virtuosic nature of some of its vocal writing, its orchestration and its portrayal of the East, as well as exploring aspects of Glyndebourne’s critically-acclaimed production.

Die Entführung aus dem Serail, which Mozart composed in 1781–2, holds a special place in Glyndebourne’s history: it was the work that brought its founder, John Christie, into contact with the soprano Audrey Mildmay, whom he subsequently married and who inspired the Glyndebourne Festival. This year’s production was the company’s seventh of the opera in its 80-year history.

The invitation for Dr Wiley to deliver this talk followed the success of his pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour in October 2014 on another Mozart opera, La finta giardiniera, and was similarly well-received.

Dr Christopher Wiley gives pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2014

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Rhoda McGaw Theatre, WokingDr Christopher Wiley has given a pre-performance talk for Glyndebourne Tour 2014, to preface its production of Mozart’s opera La finta giardiniera in the New Victoria Theatre, Woking on 28 October 2014.

Speaking to an audience of over 100 opera-goers in the adjacent Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Dr Wiley endeavoured to enhance the audience’s experience and enjoyment of the evening’s performance by providing some contextual knowledge of the opera.

In the course of the half-hour talk, Dr Wiley explored the plot of La finta giardiniera, its historical background, and its significance within Mozart’s output, as well as drawing attention to noteworthy musical features and key aspects of Glyndebourne’s performance.

Mozart composed the score to his comic opera La finta giardiniera in 1774, at the age of 18. Glyndebourne’s acclaimed 2014 production was its first ever of this work.

Ethel Smyth Symposium at the University of Surrey features Dr Christopher Wiley as speaker and performer

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Dr Christopher Wiley addresses Ethel Smyth SymposiumDr Christopher Wiley contributed to a Symposium dedicated to Ethel Smyth (1858-1944), the Surrey-based composer and writer also noted for her suffrage activity in the early 1910s, which was held in the Performing Arts Technology Studios at the University of Surrey on 19 February. This was the University’s first ever event for LGBT History Month, for which Smyth was named as one of the faces of the 2014 theme of Music.

Introduced by Professor Diane Watt, Head of the University’s School of English and Languages, the Symposium commenced with a talk by Dr Wiley entitled ‘Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944): In Search of a Lesbian Identity in Music and Literature’, in which he discussed possible ways of interpreting Smyth’s artistic output as reflecting her sexual identity and feminist sensibilities, with musical illustrations provided by Maureen Galea (piano) and the University Chamber Choir. 

A drinks reception followed the talk, during which audience members were able to view the ‘Musical Passions’ exhibition celebrating the life of Ethel Smyth, provided courtesy of Surrey History Centre.

Drinks Reception at Ethel Smyth Symposium

The Symposium closed with a concert of solo, chamber, and vocal works by Ethel Smyth, featuring staff and students of the University including pianists Maureen Galea and Margaret Roberts, Isabella Stocchetti (flute), and Christopher Wiley (oboe), as well as the University Chamber Choir. Highlights included a performance of Smyth’s Violin Sonata with guest artist Sophie Langdon and the Head of Performance, Professor Clive Williamson. The full programme was as follows:

  • Two Interlinked French Folk Melodies (1928, from the opera Entente cordiale) for flute, oboe, and piano (Isabella Stocchetti, flute; Christopher Wiley, oboe; Margaret Roberts, piano)
  • Aus der Jugendzeit!! E. v. H. (c.1878–80) (Maureen Galea, piano)
  • Ethel Smyth TrioNocturne (Kanon in Gegenbewegung) (c.1877–80) (Maureen Galea, piano)
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano in A minor, Op. 7 (1877) (Sophie Langdon, violin; Clive Williamson, piano)
  • Variations on Bonny Sweet Robin (Ophelia’s Song) (1928) (Isabella Stocchetti, flute; Christopher Wiley, oboe; Margaret Roberts, piano)
  • Overture to the opera The Boatswain’s Mate, Piano transcription (1913–14) (Maureen Galea, piano)
  • ‘Laggard Dawn’ and ‘The March of the Women’ (Nos. 1 & 3 from Songs of Sunrise, 1910) (University Chamber Choir, cond. Isabella Stocchetti, dir. Russell Keable; Maureen Galea, piano)

Audience at Ethel Smyth SymposiumThe Symposium was held in association with the University of Surrey Equality and Diversity, the School of Arts, the School of English and Languages, LGBT History Month, and Surrey History Centre. Both the talk and the concert were attended by around 50 people, including staff and students of the University and external visitors.

Further information

Event website: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/arts/music/events/ethel_smyth.htm
Poster: http://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/LGBT-History-Month-Final-2014-21-01-14.pdf
Surrey History Centre: http://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/lgbt-2014/

Update

An academic response to Dr Wiley’s talk, ‘Musical Inversions: Ethel Smyth’ by Dr Heike Bauer (Birkbeck University of London), appeared on the blog A Violent World of Difference on 21 February 2014: http://violentworldofdifference.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/21-feb-2014-musical-inversions-ethel-smyth/

Dr Christopher Wiley presents research seminar at the University of Surrey

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Ethel Smyth and Virginia Woolf (R-L)Dr Christopher Wiley presented a research seminar based on his paper ‘Music and Literature: Ethel Smyth, Virginia Woolf, and “The First Woman to Write an Opera”’ at a research seminar hosted by the School of Arts at the University of Surrey on 20 November 2013.

Dr Wiley joined the University of Surrey in September 2013 following a nine-year tenure at City University London. One aspect of his research concerns the intellectual dialogue between Ethel Smyth and Virginia Woolf (pictured, R-L). The article on which his paper is based is being published in the refereed journal The Musical Quarterly.