• Outi Tarkiainen
  • A Room of One’s Own (2021)

  • Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen (World)

Commissioned by Theater Hagen

  • 3(3afl.2pic).2(ca).2.2(cbn)/
  • 1 hr 5 min
  • Francis Hüsers and Virginia Woolf
  • English

Programme Note

A Room of One's Own is based on Virginia Woolf’s classic essay of the same name of 1928. The libretto is by the German opera director, dramaturg and librettist Francis Hüsers and the opera seeks to answer the question of why, from one century to another, women merely flit as shadows across the stage in the arts and history. The opera is set in 1920s England and has three main characters. Each called Mary, they are all intelligent, educated women whose seemingly light conversation leads them into ever deeper waters and who ultimately spread before the viewer’s eyes the whole gamut of human life, in all its grittiness, passions and realities.

I composed a specific musical profile for each of the characters, but the Marys are singularly interwoven, as if reflecting different aspects of the same person. Alternating as the main themes in the music are power, fate, hope and passion. The Prologue and Epilogue make references to the 17th-century Scottish ballad that originally gave Woolf, too, the idea for the cast of her essay. The ballad affords glimpses of a tragedy, infanticide, as told by Mary, former lady-in-waiting to the Queen of Scots and executed for bearing the King’s illegitimate child. Her fate is reflected from generation to generation, merely acquiring different manifestations. But hope lives on, undaunted.

Sung in English, the opera is in three Acts without an interval.

Outi Tarkiainen



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