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how was it for me? terrific
Deirdre Gribbin’s new opera premiered at Aldeburgh on Friday is composed, written and directed by women. I just thought I’d mention it before, wondering if I should nip off to Morocco for an interesting operation before reviewing it. Maybe not. It is an astonishingly accomplished first opera. If new pieces were divided between those you want to hear again and those you don’t then Hey Persephone! Is definitely in the former category.

The subject matter is refreshingly unoperatic. It is set in Glasgow, today The libretto by playwright Sharman MacDonald present a snapshot of urban life via raunchily demotic syntax, with the relationship between a mother and daughter at its centre, hence the title. There are two deflowerings (one off-stage) one presumably satisfactory- the other comically less so.

The varyingly paced scenes are separated by substantial and equally varied orchestral interludes, which is where much of the power of Gribbin’s music lies. The end of the first act, with a succulent love-duet fading into nothing over barely audible finger-harps, is pure magic.

A remarkable operatic debut.

29 June 1998 The Times
Rodney Milnes
  © 2005 Deirdre Gribbin  
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