Words and Music: Susie Self
Heroic Women is an action-packed opera that asks what it means to be truly heroic. The “cast” includes real and fantastical women such as Boudicca and Pope Joan. The ordinary women who serve each famous woman reveal dark, surprising secrets through sensuous guitar songs and loose chat. In contrast the Heroic Women sing operatically backed by an energetic minimalist score. Zenobia’s desert massage becomes a sensual exploration of womanhood, while St. Teresa of Avila finds thrills in spiritual ecstasy and raw sex. Susie’s opera is constantly shifting as she makes quick changes on stage and creates a fascinating art installation.
Susie Self has sung roles in opera houses in Salzburg, Santiago (Chile), Strasbourg, Antwerp, Lisbon and Athens. She played Katisha in “The Mikado” in London’s West End and sang in many Opera Factory productions. As a composer she studied with Stephen Dodgson, John Cage and worked with Michael Finnissy on Covent Garden’s “Garden Venture”. Her second symphony “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” is recorded by the Moravian Philharmonic. Susie co-directs Selfmade Music with composer/cellist Michael Christie; with Arts Council funding they commissioned Avril Anderson, Steve McNeff, Priti Paintal, Katherine Pluygers and David Bedford. Heroic Women featured on Woman’s Hour, Radio 3, toured to Taiwan, Mexico and California, this is its London premiere.