Emily is my first full-length opera based on the deeds of Emily Wilding Davison, a Suffragette who was killed in 1913 after she apparently attempted to carry out an act of protest on the course of the Derby. She was hit by a galloping horse (which was, surely by coincidence, the King’s horse) and died later in hospital from head injuries. Almost overnight she became a widely known public (albeit dead) figure, hated by many as much as she was venerated by others. Her funeral was attended by tens of thousands and was a seminal event in the history of the Suffragette movement.
Emily Davison was one of the more radical figures of the suffragette movement, often carrying out violent direct action against the Government independently of the official body of the suffragette movement, the Womens’ Social and Political Union. Her acts of protest ranged from vandalism (primarily window-breaking) to arson (putting lit matches in pillar-boxes) to assault (including one count of assaulting a vicar who happened to resemble Lloyd George). She was repeatedly sent to prison, where her protests continued in the form of hunger strikes, which were brutally countered by force-feeding. This was almost as controversial at the time as it would be today, and in protest against the force-feeding, Emily Davison at least once attempted suicide while in prison.
The world premiere of the full opera took place at the Hippodrome Theatre in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, 4th-6th July 2013, at which the photos in the slideshow below were taken.
The Prologue and Scene 1 were performed in a “preview” with a reduced chamber arrangement at the New Music North West festival in Manchester, March 2012, produced by Re:Sound.
These photos were taken from the world premiere production, 4th-6th July 2013 at Todmorden.
This footage used for this video was shot on the 5th and 6th July 2013 at Todmorden.
110 minutes (Act 1: 60’, Act 2: 50’)
Also available: set of parts and piano-vocal score — please contact me if you require any of these