Hey, Maudie (2023). A collaborative performance conceived by Rachel Jones. Commissioned and presented by the Roberts Institute of Art. Photo: Anne Tetzlaff.
Rachel Jones' Opera debut Presented by The Roberts Institute of Art
21 September 2023
On 21st September, the Roberts Institute of Art (RIA) presented a new performance commission at St James's Church, Piccadilly. Rachel Jones' 'Hey, Maudie' inaugurates RIA's Practising Performance programme, which provides artists with unique opportunities to expand their work through performance.
In developing the work, Rachel Jones invited poet Victoria Adukwei Bulley and composer Joseph Howard to collaborate on her concept for a live, opera-based work. Reflecting a collage of perspectives, the libretto, co-authored by Jones and Adukwei Bulley, takes inspiration from Gwendolyn Brooks' 1953 novel, Maud Martha. ROKSANDA will provide costumes for the performance.
Across four acts, Jones' opera performance followed the character of Maud Martha (sung by soprano Gweneth Ann Rand) as she converses with a choral ensemble that represents her soul.
The structure references the compositional technique of call-and-response, a musical and cultural tradition with West African roots, which became an intrinsic way for Black women to individually and collectively express themselves.
Photography: Anne Tetzlaff
St James's Church, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL
21st September 2023 6pm and 8:15pm
Venue partner: St James’s Piccadilly
Rachel Jones. Photo by Eva Herzog
Victoria Adukwei Bulley. Photo by Derrick T. Kakembo
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