Instrumentation unaccompanied female voice with notated movement

Vocal Range (high voice) C4 to A5

Timing ca. 5’30”

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

Poem 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 four Song Theatre works for unaccompanied female voice with notated movement. They may be performed as a set, individually, or in any combination. 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.

Yasodhara, the wife of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was abandoned by her husband on the night of their son’s birth. In Yasodhara, Unheard, we hear from her some weeks after she awoke to find herself a single parent, her anger and pain still fresh, her devotion to her son intensified. As she tries to make sense of her fate and her feelings, she puts on the face—the mask—that she presents to the world, while at the same time going through a familiar routine that starts her day but now also provides a semblance of normalcy to which she clings in her new reality, one experienced by single mothers through the ages.

PDF perusal score

Yasodhara Unheard perusal


Heather Pawsey, soprano; Diane Park, performative costumer. At the Chali Rosso Gallery in Vancouver, BC. Presented by Astrolabe Musik Theatre.

Go to the Unheard main page to see a performance of the complete set (Yasodhara, Persephone, Daphne, and Shamhat) followed by an hour-long interview with Heather Pawsey and the composer.

Get music

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