In collaboration with early music colleagues Opera Lafayette, we explore the libretto for John Blow’s Venus and Adonis, based on Shakespeare’s poem, along with some of the Restoration-era's female literary voices.
The work of Anne Kingsmill Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661-1720), provides a focus for this discussion of attribution, collaboration, and early feminist literature. Her collection of poetry—published only as "Written by a Lady"—explores romance, social justice, and mental health struggles. In addition, Finch is credited as the librettist for this early English opera of Venus and Adonis, though the unique, irreverent text may also have ties to Aphra Behn and Anne Killigrew.
Folger Library Director Mike Witmore will be in conversation with Dr. Jennifer Keith, Folger Institute Fellow (2014-15) and editor of the forthcoming Cambridge Edition of The Works of Anne Finch. After the talk, Director of Collections Greg Prickman will guide you through related rare materials from the Folger collection.
Opera Lafayette opens its 25th-anniversary season with Venus and Adonis, performing November 21 and 23 at The Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC. Click here to purchase tickets.