Persephone, Unheard

Instrumentation unaccompanied female voice with notated movement

Vocal Range (high voice) A3 (ossia D4) to Bb5

Timing ca. 4’45”

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 story of Persephone is usually told from her mother’s perspective. Persephone is abducted by Hades and taken to the Underworld. Grieving mother Demeter neglects her duties as Harvest Goddess. Hades is convinced to release Persephone, but having eaten some pomegranate, she must return to Hades several months each year, the winter of Demeter’s grief. But what if Persephone ate the pomegranate on purpose? In Persephone, Unheard, we hear from a teenager determined to make her own choices. To Persephone, hell is leaving her boyfriend every year to be with a mother who doesn’t understand her, and in a torrent of repetition and shifting camera angles, she unleashes the revelatory tirade she had played and replayed in her head.

PDF score excerpt

Persephone, Unheard excerpt

Get music

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