The World's Wife is back and better than ever

16 August, 2023

Everything you want to know about The World's Wife

During What You See 2021, you could already see a preview of the WYS co-production The Worlds Wife. Afterwards, the musicians and director Jorinde Keesmaat exchange views and ideas with the audience. Great insights and further development ensured that The World's Wife is now a modern, powerful performance opera of a very high standard. This year, the virtuoso Ragazze Quartet returns, sharing the theatre stage with trans bass-baritone Sam Taskinen on 18 November 2023. 

Based on award-winning poet Carol Ann Duffy's book of poetry by the same name, The World's Wife reflects on historical and mythological stories. In the past, these stories were told primarily from the male perspective. This has had its impact on society. What have we learned from the Grimm brothers' fairy tales and Homer's mythical stories? And what have these meant for the characteristics we attribute to womanhood? Duffy turns it around. She describes the stories from the female perspective, finally giving female characters the assertive voice they deserve.

“Women don't get off very well in historical stories. That is a result of a male-dominated canon. … There is a great lack of (female) vocabulary that binds us.”

– Director Jorinde Keesmaat

Composer Tom W. Green composed the music for The World's Wife in collaboration with Duffy. Green wrote the chamber opera for soprano and string quartet and added loop pedals so the vocalist can play multiple characters simultaneously. A more inclusive feminine sound was chosen for the most recent version of The World's Wife. To this end, Green modified the vocal part so that the piece also comes into its own with a deep voice. Green also pays tribute in the piece to female composers who in the past did not receive the appreciation their music deserved.

All in all, a multi-layered and extraordinary WYS performance not to be missed this festival.

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Photo Header: Ash Knotek / Photo 2: Nichon Glerum

The World's Wife is back

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