Ben White and Eileen Simpson, the artistic powerhouses behind the Open Music Archive have been looking at the libretto from the 1969 opera The Brilliant and the Dark.
The opera was commissioned by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, under the leadership of Sylvia Gray, and was performed in the Royal Albert Hall.
These photos are just some of those in our collection, and capture perfectly the stark and thrilling feel of the production. The libretto, which was written by Ursula Vaughan Williams, with score by Malcolm Williamson, travels through a history of women’s experience and observation. Nuns, cooks, peasants, teachers, campaigners and many more took to the stage, to form an enormous spectrum of female voices.
Eileen and Ben are planning on re-staging the libretto as a live performance, held in the exhibition space of The Women’s Library as part of the exhibition. Told you it was Brilliant.