The Art of Venus

Chamber opera for 5 singers and 4 instruments. Text by Max Waller & Edward Lambert         2015       35’

It's 2027. Humanity holds its breath as a manned spacecraft on the first one-way mission to Mars hurtles through space. Can the planet be colonised? What does Mars, the Roman god, think about this? And has anyone reckoned on Venus? An opera about the power and powerlessness of gods and people - and a feminist myth waiting to happen. 



In 1914 Mary Richardson, a prominent suffragette, entered the National Gallery with a meat cleaver, and repeatedly slashed the painting by Velazquez known as the Rokeby Venus. So shocking was this incident, that contemporary reports describe “cruel” wounds as though inflicted on an actual female body rather than on a artwork."The incident has come to symbolize a particular perception of feminist attitudes towards the female nude; in a sense, it has come to represent a specific stereotypical image of feminism more generally.”(Lynda Nead, ‘The Female Nude: Art, Obscenity, and Sexuality’, NewYork, 1992). Mary Richardson later joined the Fascist party.


Venus: mezzo soprano

Mars: baritone

3 'Earthlings': soprano, tenor and bass






Vocal Score

Full Score