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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 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/

The School of Arts at the University of Surrey celebrates top rankings in The Guardian’s University League Tables 2017

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The-Guardian-logo-100x100The School of Arts at the University of Surrey is celebrating excellent rankings in The Guardian’s UK University League Tables 2017, published today as part of the Guardian University Guide.

The Guardian league tables rank the University of Surrey No. 1 nationally for Music, No. 2 nationally for Drama & Dance, and No. 4 nationally in the overall league table.

As Director of Learning & Teaching for the School of Arts, Dr Christopher Wiley has taken a lead in developing the School’s learning & teaching and student experience strategies. This has included the initiatives by which its students have been engaged in completion of the National Student Survey, the latest results for which similarly placed the School’s subject areas at No. 1 and No. 2 nationally.

The Guardian league tables represent one of the most influential rankings of UK universities, and incorporate multiple metrics from the National Student Survey including student satisfaction with teaching, satisfaction with feedback and assessment, and overall satisfaction with the course.

Further information on the successes of the School of Arts in The Guardian league tables 2017 may be found here: http://blogs.surrey.ac.uk/arts/2016/05/23/guardian-league-table-2017-results-music-at-no-1-drama-dance-at-no-2/

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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/

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