Monodrama for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra
Text by Fleur Adcock
The first performance of Eleanor of Aquitaine was given in September 1988 at the New Directions Festival in Sydney by the Seymour Group with Jeannie Marsh (mezzo) conducted by Paul Stanhope.
About the work
Eleanor of Aquitaine was commissioned by the Northern Sinfonia with funds from the Arts Council of Great Britain.
The powerful and politically acute 12th century queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of 2 kings and mother of 2, was married first to the monk-like King Louis of France — their marriage was annulled and she strategically married Henry II of England.
Henry, alarmed by her political manoeuvring and the growing power of their sons, had her imprisoned in Chinon for 17 years. In our monodrama, Eleanor, in prison, looks back to her marriages and forward to the time when she will be freed and her son, Richard Coeur de Lion will become king.
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