Queen Clara - an opera based on the life of Clara Barton. Written by composer Mary Watkins with a libretto by Lance Belville. Conducted by Susan Swerdlow ---- Featuring Helen Dilworth as Clara. Three performances only on Thursday, Friday & Sunday July 25, 26 & 28 at 8pm. At the Oakland Metro 201 Broadway (@ 2nd St. near Jack London Square) 510/763-1146 Tickets: $15/general & $10/students & seniors.
Mary Watkins, composer .
This opera is based on the life of Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, and a very early but forgotten feminist. She was the first to take compassion and care-giving skills to the battlefield during the Civil War. Eschewing a traditional life of marriage and housework, she was one of few women who worked for the US Government. At the outset of the Civil War, she wanted nothing more than to be a soldier in the Union Army. Because of her gender this was impossible, so she turned to nursing. Through her work on and off the field, she revolutionized the profession, transforming it from a menial position of servitude to an important facet of the medical profession. The opera traces her experiences as a single woman, who was able to overcome the oppression of sexism experienced by all women of that time and make a Real difference on the battle field and off. The opera highlights Bartons life and personal experiences including the enjoyment of several "illicit love affairs" - the last with her own male assistant who was 30 years her junior.
Mary Watkins burst into the women's music scene with her 1978 Olivia
Records release of Something Moving. Since then this composer, arranger,
performer, and teacher has worked in many genres to the delight of widely
varied audiences. From blues to classical, from being a respected teacher
of composition to writing movie sound tracks, to her release of gospel
interpretations, Ms. Watkins has done it all.