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London-based artist Rachel Jones, who won plaudits for an exhibition of paintings and works on paper last year at Chisenhale Gallery in London, drew a very arty crowd last week to St James’s Church Piccadilly with her new opera-based work Hey, Maudie. Commissioned by the non-profit organisation, The Roberts Institute of Art, the piece follows the character of Maud Martha—exquisitely sung by the soprano Gweneth Ann Rand whose dulcet tones even managed to quieten some of the vocal babies present in the ever-so-attentive audience also peopled with high-profile luminaries such as Tate director Maria Balshaw, Hayward Gallery chief Ralph Rugoff and gallerist Thaddaeus Ropac who supported the project. Jones co-authored the inspired libretto with the UK-born Ghanaian poet Adukwei Bulley, appearing in the piece as an “intimate, interior voice” according to the performance description. A transfixing choral ensemble acted meanwhile as Maud Martha’s conscience and soul, providing appropriate balm. “It was one of the most therapeutic nights I’ve had in ages,” quipped one attendee who left feeling suitably soothed.
UPDATE: The composer of the piece is Joseph Howard; the conductor was Otis Lineham.