Johnstown Symphony and Cecilia Chorus to debut new edition of Ethel Smyth’s “The Prison”

Posted on: March 28, 2018

Two music organizations are working together on the North American premiere of British composer Ethel Smyth’s 1930 work The Prison. On April 7, Pennsylvania’s Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director James Blachly, will give the first North American performance of The Prison at Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center in Johnstown. On May 11, the Cecilia Chorus of New York, led by Music Director Mark Shapiro, will perform the work at Carnegie Hall. The Prison’s text is drawn from a work by Henry Bennet Brewster, Smyth’s long-time friend and collaborator, who died in 1904. In the Johnstown performance, the Prisoner is represented by bass-baritone Dashon Burton, and His Soul by soprano Marlissa Hudson; also participating will be a combined chorus of the Johnstown Symphony Chorus, the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Chorale, and members of the Cecilia Chorus of New York. Members of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra and Johnstown Symphony Chorus will also perform the work at Carnegie Hall in May with the Cecilia Chorus, which will feature baritone Tobias Greenhalgh, soprano Chelsea Shepherd, and a full orchestra. Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) was a member of the women’s suffrage movement and was the first woman composer to be awarded a damehood. Her works include the opera The Wreckers, the Mass in D, and March of the Women, which became an anthem for the suffrage movement in England.

Posted March 28, 2018