The Worlds Wife – 2017

‘Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry anthology has been turned into a digital chamber opera — and the result is very effective’
★★★★☆ The Times

‘Composer Tom Green breaks new ground!’ – Theatre Wales

‘The World’s Wife review at Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea – ‘sensitively wrought’’ – The Stage


That saying? Behind every famous man…? From Mrs. Darwin to Queen Kong, Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife is a poetry collection that takes a swipe at the famous men of history and myth from their spouses’ perspective. Carol Ann has been working with composer Tom Green to turn the book into a new chamber opera for string quartet and solo soprano. Using loop pedals we’ve developed a technique that allows the singer to duet with multiple versions of herself live onstage, allowing her to balance and juggle many of these sparkling ‘wives’ at once, projecting the larger image of the forgotten woman of history.

Directed by Ed Madden and featuring the Mavron String Quartet and soprano Amanda Forbes, this is a ground breaking piece of music theatre, wittily reinserting women into our deep historical narratives and exploring the powerful resonances these stories have today.

The production is co-produced by Welsh National Opera (WNO), Echo Forest and The Mavron Quartet, and is majority funded by Arts Council Wales.

Creative Team:

Dame Carol Ann Duffy, DBE, FRSL is a Scottish poet. She was appointed Britain’s Poet Laureate in May 2009. With an increasing profile as a playwright, her name is recognised worldwide.

Composer Tom Green is rapidly building a reputation for music of real freshness and energy, which often utilising live electronics. He has written numerous music theatre pieces, including the widely acclaimed ‘Home’ at the National Theatre. Alongside writing for some of the premiere new music ensembles in Britain (Ligeti Quartet, Sinfonietta etc), Tom has worked with many directors including Nadia Fall, Mark Rosenblatt, Nick Hytner and Melly Still.

“…thanks to music by Tom Green, this is a buoyantly theatrical piece.”
Michael Billington, The Guardian, review of ‘Home’, 2013

Soprano Amanda Forbes recently starred to critical acclaim in Music Theatre Wales’ ‘The Killing Flower’ and ‘The Trial’. Over the past 5 years Amanda has been principle artist with the major opera houses and touring companies of the UK, including ENO, ROH, Music Theatre Wales, Opera North and Scottish Opera. She possesses an acting fluency rarely seen in professional singers that is completely crucial to the schizophrenic nature of The World’s Wife.

‘Amanda Forbes’ stunningly pure-voiced, fragile Giulietta’
-The Times 2014