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Hatfield, Stephen

Ann and Séamus (2006)

Duration: 60 minutes
Chamber opera in one act

Libretto: Stephen Hatfield, based on the book Ann and Seamus by Kevin Major

2 Male Soloists, Treble Soloists and Chorus, Flute/Tin Whistle, Violin, Accordion, Double Bass and Bodhran
Abbreviations (PDF)

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


Mother Jane Harveyalto
Ann Harvey - 17 years old, the oldest child soprano
Tom Harvey - 12 years old, the oldest sonalto
Esther Harvey
John Harvey
Jane Harvey
Eleanor Harvey - the other childrensopranos and altos
Mary Harvey
George Harvey
Elizabeth Harvey
Chorus sopranos and altos
The chorus constructs the ongoing sense of reality onstage and as such its identity is changeable. The chorus can portray the passengers of the ship
Despatch, but they can also portray everything from the inside of the Harvey's kitchen to the sea and the land.
The family dog. (Very likely a cross between different species of water-dog. We know he wasn't a purebred Newfoundland.) When called upon,
Hairyman rises out of the chorus and returns to the chorus afterwards. When part of the chorus the actor sings with the other chorus members.
Newcombmezzo soprano
An American trader and occasional visitor at Isle aux Morts
Henry Lancaster soprano
1st mate of the ship Despatch, bound for Quebec City
Séamus Ryan tenor
18 years old, a passenger on Despatch
Máire Ó Ruairc mezzo soprano
A passenger on Despatch and mother of one of the children on board. (Her name, Anglicized, might be "Mary O'Rourke".)

Time and Place
Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland; Derry, Ireland 1828

Ann and Séamus is based on the true story of seventeen-year-old Ann Harvey, who lived on Isle aux Morts on the treacherous southwest coast of Newfoundland. In July 1828, The Brig Despatch, an Irish immigrant ship bound from Londonderry to Quebec City, ran aground on this coast and Ann, along with her father and twelve year old brother, saved 168 of the 211 shipwrecked passengers and crew. In Kevin Major's narrative poem and Stephen Hatfield's words and music, Séamus Ryan is one of the passengers on the ship, and his relationship with Ann makes her face a difficult choice of whether to leave her home and family for a new life or to stay in Newfoundland.

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