Toronto: VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert presents the Canadian premiere of “The Mother of Us All”

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The feminine mystique, motherhood and women’s positioning in a paternalistic environment are but a few of Gertrude Stein’s objectives for her The Mother of us All libretto. In a kaleidoscopic narrative style, the pursuit of women’s right to vote translated into women’s need for equality. Composer Virgil Thomson and Ms. Stein were good friends and admired each other’s talent as they enjoyed each other’s company through years of artistic collaborations. 

Stein’s death meant that Thomson had to set her libretto in her absence, leading to the premiere in 1947 at Columbia University. He called it a ‘pageant’ as a tribute to the protagonist Susan B. Anthony whose quest during the suffrage movement caused social, political, and cultural turmoil that finally culminated in triumph. 

The mythic mother of the opera’s title is as symbolic as it is real and both Stein and Thomson, blend historical characters who never met in their lifetimes with creative characters who lent the story-telling its poetic verve and highly idiomatic leanings. These compelled Thomson’s score to its American tones of hymns, marches, patriotic flares, and down-to-earth parlour songs. 

The opera pageant resurfaced Off-Broadway winning an Obie Award in 1956. Santa Fe produced it in 1976, London, England in 1979, NY City Opera in 2000 and San Francisco Opera in 2003. 

OIC Star soprano Meghan Lindsay is our Susan B. Anthony led by Music Director Kate Carver thus completing the thematic arc of Three Extraordinary Women for the VOICEBOX 2022 Season.

Tickets for THE MOTHER OF US ALL are available online at tolive.com or by phone: 416.366.7723.