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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 delivers talk on Ethel Smyth at The Guildford Institute

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Dr Christopher Wiley delivered a talk entitled ‘Dame Ethel Smyth, Groundbreaking Composer, Writer, and Suffragette’ at The Guildford Institute, Guildford on Wednesday 18 January 2017.

Speaking to a capacity audience of 70 in the Institute’s Assembly Room, Dr Wiley outlined Smyth’s significance to music, literature, and women’s suffrage, as well as her local connections to Surrey, illustrating his talk with excerpts from a variety of her works.

An acknowledged expert on the subject, Dr Wiley has recently given several talks on Ethel Smyth in the local area, including one at Smyth’s childhood home in Frimley Green, Surrey last September.

Further information on the event is available on The Guildford Institute’s website: http://guildford-institute.org.uk/whats-on2/dame-ethel-smyth-groundbreaking-composer-writer-and-suffragette/

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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 gives talk at Ethel Smyth’s childhood home

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dr-christopher-wiley-gives-talk-on-ethel-smyth-at-frimhurst-family-houseDr Christopher Wiley gave a talk entitled ‘Ethel Smyth: Composer, Author, Suffragette, and Surrey Resident’, at Frimhurst Family House, Frimley Green (Ethel Smyth’s childhood home), on 11 September 2016.

Dr Wiley addressed an audience of some 50 members of the public during an event celebrating Ethel Smyth, part of the ‘Century of Sound’ Festival organised annually by Surrey Heath Borough. The full programme for the Festival is available here: http://www.centuryofsound.co.uk/event-programme.

Other features of the afternoon event included included performances of Smyths solo piano music by Dr Maureen Galea and of some of her songs by the Surrey Heath Singers, as well as a tour of the premises and a talk about the work of the charity ATD Fourth World, which now operates at Frimhurst Family House.

The event was jointly organised by Surrey Heath Museum, the University of Surrey, and ATD Fourth World.

Dr Christopher Wiley guest-hosts Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Twitter chat (#LTHEchat)

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SocioViz Visualisation of LTHEchatOn 3 February 2016, Dr Christopher Wiley was invited to guest-host the 44th Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Twitter chat, which runs weekly on Wednesdays from 8-9pm GMT using the hashtag #LTHEchat, and involves HE practitioners from across the UK and beyond at all stages of their career.

Dr Wiley’s #LTHEchat, on the subject of ‘Using music creatively to enhance non-music teaching’, generated a large volume of lively debate from its many contributors and resulted in some 500 tweets in the course of the scheduled 60 minutes. A SocioViz visualisation of the network of participants during the chat is pictured above right, and a Storify of the session is available here: https://storify.com/LTHEchat/tweetchat-no-44

Update: Following the #LTHEchat, Dr Wiley was invited to contribute a guest post to the University’s Surrey Social Media blog, on Twitter chats and their value to academics. He discusses his experiences of #LTHEchat in his post, ‘Twitter chats – why are they useful and how do they benefit academic staff?’, which appeared on 5 February and may be read here: http://blogs.surrey.ac.uk/socialmedia/twitter-chats-why-are-they-useful-and-how-do-they-benefit-academic-staff/

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, prefacing 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 hosts pre-concert talk for Royal Philharmonic Orchestra concert

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Andrew GreenwoodDr Christopher Wiley hosted a pre-concert talk for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the Glass Room at G Live, Guildford on 15 May 2015.

In the half-hour talk, Dr Wiley provided a brief introduction to the works being performed that evening, which he then discussed with the conductor for the concert, Andrew Greenwood (pictured).

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s programme comprised Rossini’s The Barber of Seville Overture; Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467 (with soloist Tom Poster); and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, ‘From the New World’.

With over 90 members in the audience for the talk, G Live’s studio theatre was at capacity. Dr Wiley previously hosted pre-concert talks for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on 23 October 2013 and 7 November 2014.

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