Suor Angelica

Essential Series / New Verismo

June 8 & 10 2017
Lydia Mendelssohn Theater
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Arbor Opera Theater's new festival Beyond Boundaries will be held the first full week of June. It's going to be a week filled with powerful performances, including TWO productions of Puccini's Suor Angelica.

The first will be a traditional production sung in Italian. The second production will be a new English adaptation written by Angela Hench and artistic director Shawn McDonald. The adaptation is set in mid-century Ireland in the Magdalene Laundries (read more below). Both performances will be fully staged, accompanied by orchestra and presented with English language supertitles.


St. Mary's Training School, Stanhope St., Dublin

The Magdalene Laundries

From 1922 until 1996, the Catholic church in Ireland ran the Magdalene Laundries, where the linens for the church, businesses, and the government were washed by the most "sinful" of society - women perceived as unchaste. From unwed mothers to young girls deemed "too pretty" to be left unprotected, the laundries were part of a larger system where young women and children were denied basic human rights, and an entire society was left powerless against the wishes of the Catholic church. Contraception was illegal in Ireland from 1935 until 1980, and the moral sexual teachings of the church state sex outside of marriage was a mortal sin. Many of these young women held prisoner didn't even know what sex was, even if they had a child, such was the suppression of all things sexual by the Irish society of the time.

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