The Art of Venus

Produced by The Music Troupe


9:20pm – 9:55pm | Thursday 10 August 2017

RADA Studios Theatre, 16 Chenies Street, London, WC1E 7EX



What on Earth is it about?


We are introduced to three Earthlings as they embark on the first one-way mission to Mars ( planned for 2032). To what extent would leaving Earth for good feel like dying? Can we seriously live in a different environment from the one that has nurtured us? One of the hazards of space travel is a psychological freaking-out known as the ‘Overview Effect’ and in a state of euphoria our volunteer astronauts find much to sing about when gazing back at the Pale Blue Dot – to which they will never return. In parallel to this adventure, there’s Mars, the Roman god, abandoned for two millennia but with an intuition that humans will return to him one day. And then comes Venus: beautiful still, but much wiser now, and militant. Her character was inspired by the story of Mary Richardson, the suffragette, who in 1914 slashed the Rokeby Venus in the National Gallery with a meat cleaver. She revealed that she hated the way nude paintings were “gloated over by men” (and she later joined the Fascist party). Certainly, the character of Venus became an excuse for artists of the past to portray the female form in an ever more revealing and sexualised manner and her private parts are now on display in almost every art gallery in the world. So as the spacecraft approaches Mars, Venus seizes the moment to thwart the invaders – and also the aspirations of all mankind. Thus, the interactions between humans, gods and their habitats become the subject of a bizarre allegory whose musical style deliberately evokes the bel canto of baroque opera.




The Art of Venus from Tête à Tête #2 on Vimeo.



The Art of Venus


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Also on Thursday 10 August 2017…


7:00pm – 7:50pm : The Cry of the Double Bass

7:05pm – 7:30pm : Tell One, Forget One

8:10pm – 9:00pm : The Monk & The Lotus

8:15pm – 9:05pm ; A Certain Sense of Order

Listen Now: Road Memoir: The Podcast Opera



The Music Troupe 


Music | Edward Lambert

Words | Max Waller

Director | Rebecca Meltzer

Conductor | Olivia Clarke

Director | Rebecca Meltzer


Soprano Earthling | Helen Bailey
Tenor Earthling | Daniel Joy
Bass Earthling | Christopher Foster
Mars | Dominic Bowe (Baritone)
Venus | Kate Symonds-Joy (Mezzo-Soprano)

Accordion | Bartosz Glowacki
Marimba | Matthew Farthing
Violin | Maria Fiore Mazzarini
Cello | Tom Isaac



Helen Bailey is a graduate of Liverpool University, Trinity College and the Royal Academy of Music opera course. She has sung principal roles for Buxton International Festival Opera (Dama, Macbeth), where she received the inaugural Buxton Young Artists Bursary, Ryedale Festival Opera (Pamina), St. Endellion Festival (Waltraute), and Blackheath Halls Opera (Gianetta).


Dominic Bowe is a recent graduate of the opera course at the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied with Alex Ashworth and Audrey Hyland. His operatic credits include Eugene Onegin, Aeneas, and Figaro in the Barber of Seville and he recently created the title role in the world premiere of Mad King Suibhne for Bury Court.


Olivia Clarke was an Organ Scholar at the Queen’s College, Oxford and has trained as a singer and conductor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The founder of Fox Opera, Olivia has also worked as conductor for Kelvin Choir and RCS opera projects. In October, she will begin her Conducting Masters at the Universität der Künste in Berlin.


Christopher Foster was educated at Newcastle University and the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies. He was a winner of the N.F.M.S. Young Concert Artists’ Award a finalist in the Richard Tauber Competition and also a Samling scholar. His operatic roles range from Mozart to Philip Glass and this is his second appearance at Tête à Tête with The Music Troupe.


Alethea Jackson appeared in Hamlet and The Importance of Being Earnest with the Artes Christi while studying science at the University of Sydney. She is currently en route to France to study the language.


Daniel Joy gained a First-Class Degree in music from Durham University before studying at the RCM and graduated with distinction from the opera course at GSMD. He has worked for opera companies including Wexford, Opera North, Scottish Opera, Grange Park and Glyndebourne. Concert performances include Verdi’s Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall with the RPO.


Edward Lambert has written chamber music, choral works and several chamber operas, including Six Characters in Search of a Stage, The Catfish Conundrum and Opera With A Title (2014 /15 Tête à Tête, Kings Place). Recently: Aspects of Work at Manchester Art Gallery before the painting which inspired it and The Visit to the Sepulchre, a folk-opera based on plainsong.


Rebecca Meltzer works as a freelance Movement and Opera Director uniting her backgrounds in classical music, fine art and dance. She studied music at Durham University and trained in Movement Directing and Teaching at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She has worked with the Royal Opera, British Youth Opera, National Opera Studios at WNO, Dorset Opera Festival, the RCS, Trinity Laban, Blackheath Halls Opera and Edinburgh Studio Opera.


Kate Symonds-Joy graduated with a First-Class Music Degree from Cambridge University and a DipRAM from the Royal Academy Opera Course. Solo performances include the Barbican, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Sydney Opera House, Aldeburgh Festival and Royal Albert Hall with music ranging from Bach to Verdi.


Max Waller is a screenwriter who has begun to extend his writing portfolio into the realms of theatre, opera and even animation. His play The Lonely Guide, staged at the Prague Spring Festival, was described as “a cross between Franz Kafka and Harold Pinter” and is being revived here next spring. His latest writing projects include a TV series for the US and a series of Chinese British feature films with director Chee Hao Hui.




The Music Troupe aims to produce crunchy, bite-sized operas for smaller venues and has already created 5 productions within 3 years with support from RVW Trust, Golsoncott Foundation and Gemma Classical Music Trust. Our next show will be in September at the Brunel Museum.