Retrospect Opera

Great British Operas On Record

The Wreckers by Ethel Smyth

    Looking back on Ethel Smyth’s career in 1944, Sir Thomas Beecham declared: ‘Undoubtedly her masterpiece is The Wreckers, which remains one of the three or four English operas of real musical merit and vitality written during the past forty years’. The Wreckers, premiered in 1906, represents, in Nigel Burton’s evocative formula, ‘a halfway stage between Tristan and Peter Grimes’; in fact, it anticipates so much in the latter opera that some critics have concluded Britten was inspired by Smyth’s work.

    The Wreckers still impresses as an extraordinarily resonant opera, exploring the relationship between religious fanaticism and violence and the fate of those enlightened spirits prepared to defy cruel customs sanctioned by tradition. Smyth’s surging, restless score, with the Cornish sea always in the background, carries complete dramatic conviction and rises into peaks of radiant beauty. This is a reissue of Odaline De La Martinez’s acclaimed 1994 recording with the BBC Philharmonic, originally released on Conifer Classics.

  • CD1 - tracks 1-16 - Act I (57.36)
  • CD2 - tracks 1-14 - Acts II and III (70:23)
  • The cast is: 
Pascoe - Peter Sidhom
Lawrence - David Wilson-Johnson
Harvey - Brian Bannatyne-Scott
Tallan - Anthony Boden
Jack - Annemarie Sand
Mark - Justin Lavender
Thirza - Anne-Marie Owens
Avis - Judith Howarth
A Man - Brian Bannatyne-Scott
Huddersfield Choral Society
The BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Odaline de la Martinez.
  • The 60-page booklet includes the full libretto, the original essay, synopsis and a new foreword by Christopher Wiley. 
  • TO BUY please click on THIS LINK
Listen to clips from The Wreckers here:

The Overture

On the Cliffs of Cornwall (Prelude to Act 2)

The final chorus