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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 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.