• Nicola LeFanu
  • The Story of Mary O'Neill (1986)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the BBC

  • SSSSAAAATTTTBBBB (one voice to a part)
  • soprano
  • 1 hr 15 min
  • Sally McInerney
  • English

Programme Note


Mary O’Neil is 12 when the Irish famine forces her family to emigrate to South America. A decade later, she is married to an Indian and has twin sons. One tries to pass himself off as white in Buenos Aires, the other stays in the forest village. At the end, both see their aspirations ‘torn apart by the white people’s dream’, just as their Mother’s were. The conflict is also observed through the blinkered vision of European settlers, missionaries and explorers. Finally, a modern day anthropologist notes the near complete extinction of the native way of life.