Empress of the Night – from “The Learned Ladies”
“The Learned Ladies” is a new musical internet series featuring stories, songs, poems and essays from obscure women composers and forgotten women authors of the past. Award-winning actress Elise Dewsberry plays southern belle Ann Reeves Jarvis as she welcomes us into her pre-Civil-War music room, introducing us to women authors and composers, like an antebellum “Masterpiece Theatre.” Mrs. Jarvis first tells us a little about the featured woman author’s background and literary bent, and then regales us with a reading, followed by a song.
This episode explores, first in poem, then in song, the image of a frightening, dark night sky being penetrated with a pinprick of light from a morning star. It’s an unmistakable analogy of hope against despair, of light against darkness…and by subtle symbolism shared by 19th-century women through literature, the endurability of a woman’s spirit fighting to be illuminated in a society determined to silence it. The poem is by Mary S.B. Schindler; the glorious music is by Amy Beach. Starring Elise Dewsberry as Ann Reeves Jarvis.
We urge you to invest some time with the words and music celebrated not only in this episode of “The Learned Ladies,” but with the entire series at www.nmi.org/online