Daphne, Unheard

Instrumentation unaccompanied female voice with notated movement

Vocal Range (high voice) B3 to G5

Timing ca. 5’30”

Composed 2016, supported by a project development grant from the British Columbia Arts Council

Poems by Rachel Rose

World Premiere February 17, 2018, Open Space, Victoria, Canada. Heather Pawsey, soprano/Astrolabe Musik Theatre

Performance Note Unheard is a suite of four Song Theatre works which may be performed separately or in any combination.

Programme Notes

Unheard is a suite of Song Theatre works for unaccompanied female voice with notated movement. Poet Rachel Rose has been writing an on-going series of poems in which she gives voice to female characters from literature and mythology who are largely unheard in traditional tellings, usually in favour of the male characters. We hear from these women after they have left their stories, expressing their experience in hindsight and illuminating for us a different perspective while connecting with women’s experience in contemporary times.

The Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo has been the inspiration for many works of art. As Apollo attempts to rape her, Daphne calls out to her father Peneus for rescue. Her father’s response is to turn her into a laurel tree. The myth ends with a description of the devoted Apollo tending the tree forever, a wreath of her leaves worn as a victor’s crown. But how must Daphne have felt, victim to Apollo and then to her father, who “saved” her by taking away her freedom? In Daphne, Unheard, set years after her transformation, we hear the story from Daphne’s perspective, her voice emerging from within the eternal prison of her wooden body.

PDF score excerpt

Daphne, Unheard excerpt

Get music

Store coming soon, after the premiere. Versions for high and medium voice will be available. Meanwhile, please contact me.