Twitter @musictroupe

The Art of Venus 

a new chamber opera 

RADA Studio Theatre   Thursday 10 August 2017 at 21:20 

as part of the Tête à Tête Opera Festival 2017

The Art of Venus

The global search has begun for the first humans to set foot on Mars and make it their home. In 2032, as the spacecraft hurtles through space, humanity holds its breath… can the planet be colonised? But will Venus take it lying down? A short, post-baroque opera about the power of the gods - and a myth waiting to happen.

Contains adult themes

Venus  Kate Symonds-Joy (mezzo-soprano)

Mars  Dominic Bowe (baritone)

Soprano Earthling  Helen Bailey

Tenor Earthling  Daniel Joy

Bass Earthling  Christopher Foster

Music  Edward Lambert

Text  Max Waller

Conductor  Olivia Clarke

Director  Rebecca Meltzer

Accordion Bartosz Glowacki

Marimba  Matthew Farthing

Violin Maria Fiore Mazzarini

Cello Tom Isaac

The Music Troupe returns to the Tete à Tete Festival for the third time with another short opera by Edward Lambert whose restless sound world takes its inspiration from the virtuosity of baroque music: contemporary music with a familiar twist.


Mars & Venus

Mars, the all-powerful Roman warrior-god, lover of Venus, the embodiment of love and sexuality: what's happening to these celebs in the 21st century?

Art as pornography? 

In 1914, a prominent suffragette took a meat cleaver to the painting in the National Gallery known as the Rokeby Venus and repeatedly slashed it. Contemporary reports describe the “cruel” wounds inflicted on it. Was this a feminist act?

Human Settlement on Mars 

"Mars One aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Several unmanned missions will be completed, establishing a habitable settlement before carefully selected and trained crews will depart to Mars. Mars One is a global initiative whose goal is to make this everyone’s mission to Mars, including yours. If we all work together, we can do this. We’re going to Mars. Come along!"

The Pale Blue Dot 

Carl Sagan pointed out that on that dot "every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives". The Overview Effect is a cognitive shift experienced by astronauts upon understanding the Earth to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, "hanging in the void". But feelings of euphoria can also lead to errors of judgment...

The Opera 

Max Waller, the librettist, who has a background in writing film scripts, introduces us to astronauts on the planned one-way mission to Mars.  An interesting thought, because leaving Earth for good would surely feel like dying, yet the idea, of course, is to live on the planet and forge some kind of existence there. In parallel to this adventure, there’s Mars, the Roman god, abandoned for two millennia but with a growing sense that humans are returning to him. And then comes Venus: beautiful still, but much wiser now. 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. As the spacecraft nears Mars’ orbit, Venus seizes the moment to wreak revenge not just on the invaders but on the aspirations of all mankind. After all, her private parts have been put on display in every art gallery in the world. Thus, the interaction between humans, gods and their habitats become the subject of a bizarre and perverse allegory.


Edward Lambert’s music inhabits an harmonic sound-world which bristles with rhythmic detail. He writes, “Chamber operas are a great medium for expressing unfathomable ideas in an understated way, and so I write music that is meant to be transparent and easily digested. Venus is pared down quite a lot and I’ve arrived at something which has the feel of a baroque opera. I was delighted when Kate, playing Venus, described her role as Handelian!”