Classical & Jazz Concerts

Pinner Parish Church

October 2018 - April 2019

Tickets are now available to book online

'Mary's Hand' Music Theatre (Bussey/Sherlock)

Saturday 27th April 2019, 7:30pm

Pinner Parish Church

Clare McCaldin (mezzo-soprano) & Trio.

Mary Tudor tells her story in a game of cards - you choose!

Mary’s Hand is a new music theatre project about the life and reign of Queen Mary I. 

At its premiere in August last year, this extraordinary new piece of music theatre rightly evoked 4 and 5 star reviews.

Eclipsed by her younger half-sister, Elizabeth, Mary Tudor lies ‘in the shadow hand of Time’, known to most of us simply as “Bloody Mary”. Mary loved games of chance but was dealt a tricky hand in real life. In the show, she invites the audience to help tell her story. The Court Cards (Royals only!) represent the key players in her life. The audience must choose a card for the show to begin; that and subsequent cards determine the order in which she will sing her story, and reflect upon influences and events: her father Henry VIII; her mother Catherine of Aragon; her half-siblings Edward and Elizabeth; her Catholic faith and its rival, Protestantism; and her desperate desire for a child. Mary wanted to be a good monarch, and was convinced that she must restore England to the Church of Rome. Her marriage to Philip II of Spain promised to resolve many of these issues, but Mary played her cards badly and paid a high public and personal price.

With words by Di Sherlock and music by Pinner-born Martin Bussey, Mary’s Hand is performed by solo mezzo-soprano Clare McCaldin and is scored for cello, trumpet and oboe/cor anglais. In the 75 minutes of this riveting performance (no interval), you will find yourself transported into the mind and world of this extraordinary figure (‘I am the one you do not like’). “At the centre of it all, holding the stage with girlish, flickering fingers and a pitiless thrust of the chin is mezzo-soprano Clare McCaldin’s Mary. McCaldin is an outstanding singer and actress, catching and shaping the shifting moods." The Independent. The clear and well-informed text brings out the many facets of Mary, whilst the music brilliantly evokes the public and private worlds with power, melancholy and lyricism. The performance space comprises the regal, the sacred and the secular worlds, and the people!

A major component of the drama is Mary’s dress, which is a replica of the dress worn in the portrait by Hans Eworth. It was important that dress and undergarments should be as accurate as possible, while accommodating the requirements of performances. Designers Andie Scott & Sophie Meyer preserved the portrait’s painterliness, as well as employing modern construction techniques to enable the dress to function performatively within the action of the show. Key items of jewellery were also re-created. At the end of the show, you are encouraged to come and have a closer look at the dress on-stage.

“Clare McCaldin was magnetic throughout, holding the audience in her power absolutely.” (Opera Magazine)

Clare McCaldin initially trained as a linguist and had a life in advertising before becoming a professional singer. Since then she has built a diverse career spanning the opera stage and concert platform, including Salzburg Easter Festival, Royal Opera, BBC Proms, Radio 3, and Edinburgh International Festival. 

Clare is a great advocate of new music and has created roles in operas by Errollyn Wallen, and Stephen McNeff, and as a soloist in concert with Oliver Knussen, the Brodsky Quartet, and Iain Burnside. She is known for programming innovative recitals in partnership with Libby Burgess, Paul Turner and Andrew West. She has a significant solo discography: her debut disc, Stephen McNeff’s Madrigali dell’Estate, her recording of Hugh Wood’s Laurie Lee Songs and her most recent disc, Notes from the Asylum, all won four stars from BBC Music Magazine. 

Mary’s Hand is the fourth solo work Clare has produced through her company, McCaldin Arts. her previous successes are Haydn's London Ladies, Over My Shoulder (about Elisabeth Schumann and Jessie Matthews) and the critically acclaimed Vivienne (about the first wife of TS Eliot).

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Pinner Parish Church
Church Lane
Middlesex HA5 3AA

Website : beachshore