Bard SummerScape presents:
The Wreckers by Ethel Smyth
American Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Leon Botstein, music director
Directed by Thaddeus Strassberger
Purchase tickets at http://fishercenter.bard.edu/calendar/event.php?eid=128383
Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers is based in historical fact: in small, desperately poor villages on Britain’s Cornish coast, bands of villagers formed secret cadres that at critical moments would extinguish the beacons established on the coast to guide ships, thus forcing them onto the rocks and then plundering the cargo and murdering the crews.
The story Smyth chose to set presents a tale that should be of intense interest to contemporary audiences. It concerns an isolated community in Cornwall that possesses a religiously based, fanatical self-regard that leads it to justify theft and murder as God-given rights and virtues. Led by the community’s own pastor who invokes Christianity, violence becomes the instrument of realizing God’s will. The opera depicts the consequences of mass hysteria and populist justice, framed by a powerful display of orchestral writing, memorable motivic recurrence, and a brilliant use of chorus.
Opera Talk: July 26 at noon
Special support for this program is provided by Emily H. Fisher and John Alexander.