Chicago Symphony premieres ‘Her Story’

January 6, 2023

[IMAGE] Julia Wolfe's Her Story © 2022, Kurt Heinecke
Her Story
Marin Alsop and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Lorelei
January 6-7, 2023

followed by performances with:
Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony,
and National Symphony

[Her Story] has a ferocity that is literally written into the score, but also an absence of resolution as it looks back to suffrage with one wary eye toward the future steps this country still needs to take for something resembling true equality.
The New York Times, September 2022

After its acclaimed world premiere in September with the Nashville Symphony, Julia Wolfe’s Her Story — a 40-minute, oratorio for orchestra and women’s chamber choir — receives its next performance on January 6-7 with conductor Marin Alsop and the Chicago Symphony, with the vocal ensemble Lorelei, stage direction by Anne Kauffman, lighting and scenic design by Jeff Sugg, costumes by Márion Talán de la Rosa, and sound design by Andrew Cotton.

Listen to Wolfe talk with NPR’s Tom Huizenga about Her Story

Her Story invokes the words of historical figures and the spirit of pivotal moments to pay tribute to the centuries of ongoing struggle for equal rights and representation for women in America. The piece incorporates text that reflects the history of women’s fight for equality, ranging from a letter written by Abigail Adams to words attributed to Sojourner Truth, from public attacks directed at women protesting for the right to vote, to political satire. Her Story is the latest in a series of compositions by Wolfe that highlight monumental and turbulent moments in American history and culture, and the people—both real and imagined, celebrated and forgotten—that defined them.

Wolfe explains:

Though we have yet to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, women have been battling for equality from the beginning of the nation. Her Story captures the passion and perseverance of women refusing subordination, demanding representation, and challenging the prejudice and power structures that have  limited women’s voices. The dynamic vocal artists of Lorelei Ensemble team up with five major American orchestras to tell this important yet much neglected thread of American political history.