Visions of Venus
The image of the woman? For centuries it was mostly men who painted, composed and invented it. Even in Aretha Franklin's 1967 hit "Natural Woman," she owed her self-discovery to the man she loved. The voice of the diva, however, made it clear: In truth, it is about female strength, about the autonomy of a (black) woman. The women's images that Wallis Bird, the tirelessly creative singer-songwriter, has put together with the classical band Spark are now penned by female poets or composers throughout. The program spans almost 900 years, eight nations and three continents – from early Italian baroque to the Irishwoman's own songs, from Hildegard von Bingen's praise of the maternal wisdom principle to Kate Bush's song "Babooshka",
in which a woman tests her partner's fidelity with fictitious love letters. This is exciting not only because of all the roles in which the female appears, but also thanks to the artfully concentrated arrangements: baroque meets dance floor, quiet poetry meets crisp groove. The Berlin-based singer from County Meath and the German band met in 2019 at a state reception hosted by the German president for his Irish counterpart. Spark played techno, the guests of honor at Bellevue Palace went wild. And the idea was quickly born to work together on fascinating female composers: women who have really shaped the image of themselves.
Concert with intermission