World Premiere: Femmina Super @ The Broadwater & Hollywood Fringe – Review

Five instruments wait to be discovered. Five women’s voices wait to be heard. Writer-composer-performer Bethany Hill will inhabit multiple ancestral characters from Australia and Europe to tell this semi-autobiographical story of judgment, desire, and searching. Inspired by the words, music, and life of Barbara Strozzi, a 17th-century Italian composer and a woman ahead of her time, Hill moves from Appalachian dulcimers to her laptop, from classical singing to contemporary color, to weave a miscellany of old and new together in this modern opera.

A young woman stands at the altar of her fundamentalist church, surrounded by her devout family, questioning her role in her looming marriage. In the days that follow, an email arrives, offering her a place in a music academy. In order to attend, and without the approval of those around her, she makes the difficult decision to leave her home, her family, and her oppressive background.

Embarking on a voyage of experimentation and self-discovery, the young woman soon comes to realize that while the academy is a wonderland of musical expression, the teachers are as rigid as their rules, she’s behind in her work, and some of her classmates are simply idiots. She begins to make music in a way that is startling to her teachers and surprising even to herself. She pushes back on her idea of sexual morality and she questions the very existence of a higher being. Riddled with self-doubt, a history of shame, and a fear of disappointing those she loves, she looks to her ancestors for generational wisdom as she struggles with her decision to leave it all behind. How many rules will she need to break in order to find her freedom? And once she’s found it, will she choose it over her family and the life she’s always known?

FEMMINA SUPER, told through classical singing and contemporary monologues, is a one-woman modern opera that makes its international debut at the 2024 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Source

7.3 Overall
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Set & Design7.4
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Average Show! June 11 – 29, 2024.

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