MAZEPPA by Tchaikovsky
"If it at first it seemed a little foolhardy to mount such a big work on a small scale, any doubts were quickly laid to rest right from the opening women's chorus. You could just sit back, forget the spectacle and concentrate on Tchaikovsky's luscious vocal writing."

Wayne Gooding, OPERA CANADA

2022 SEASON


SAMUEL BARBER
Vanessa
Sunday, January 23, 2022
2:30 pm


TIMOTHY SULLIVAN
Florence: The Lady With The Lamp
Sunday, March 27, 2022
2:30 pm


VIRGIL THOMSON
The Mother of Us All
Sunday, May 22, 2022
2:30 pm


 

 

 

VIRGIL THOMSON
THE MOTHER OF US ALL

Sunday, May 22, 2022

This dramatic opera imaginatively chronicles the story of Susan B. Anthony and the women's suffrage movement.

In a vivid and gripping age for women's rights an impressive character emerges that is both dynamic and pioneering; as relevant and transcendental today as it was for those disenfranchised on the basis of gender, race, and sexuality a century and a half ago.

Featuring

SYNOPSIS

In fanciful style, the opera brings together characters, fictional and non-fictional, from different periods of American history.

ACT I
Susan B. Anthony and her devoted companion Anne are shown at home. In what will be a constant allusion to women's place in society: Anne is knitting; Susan is pasting clippings into a scrapbook. Private and public life are contrasted with political meetings dealing with powerful men and those inclined to share it at most levels of government. At one crucial meeting Susan introduces herself to the assembly, and she and Daniel Webster debate. A public square in front of Susan's house introduces a dance and romantic entanglements between friends are introduced while foes discuss cultural issues, as Susan meditates on the difficulties of her political mission related to women's rights. Jo the Loiterer and Indiana Elliot are to be married. Indiana's brother bursts in, wishing to prevent the marriage, and Susan explains what marriage means to women. Ultimately stating that all of their children, men and women, will have the vote.

ACT II
Susan is back home doing housework when she learns that she will be asked to address a political meeting. She declines, then agrees to go the meeting. She has spoken so convincingly that the politicians, now afraid of the women's suffrage movement, have written the word "male" into the Constitution in order to make it impossible for women to vote. However, everyone congratulates Susan for her leadership. Years later, a statue of Susan B. Anthony is to be unveiled at the U. S. Capitol. The characters gather for the ceremony, with Anne as guest of honor. The ceremony threatens to get out of hand. Suddenly, Virgil T. unveils the statue. The women lay wreaths at the base of the pedestal. Alone, Susan (as the statue) contemplates the struggles and lessons of her long life.