Rachel Jones Makes Opera Debut With The Roberts Institute of Art

By OperaWire
Photo credit: Eva Herzog

The Roberts Institute of Art presents “Hey, Maudie,” a new commission by opera newcomer Rachel Jones on Sept. 21.

“Hey, Maudie” draws on the operatic form alongside poetry, and wide-ranging music and oral traditions. The four-act piece follows the character of Maud Martha sung by soprano Gweneth Ann Rand, as she converses with a choral ensemble that represents her soul. The call-and-response style alludes to a musical and cultural tradition with West African roots, which represents an individual and collective form for Black women to express themselves.

In developing the work, Jones collaborated as co-librettist with poet and co-librettist Victoria Adukwei Bulley as well as composer Joseph Howard to develop her concept for a live, opera-based work.”Hey, Maudie” draws inspiration from Gwendolyn Brooks’ 1953 novel, “Maud Martha.” ROKSANDA, the label by award-winning fashion designer, Roksanda Ilinčić, will provide costumes for the performance.

Two performances are held at 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. at St James’s Church in London.