top of page

Op. 33 - God Save the Queen              

for Soprano and Piano


Libretto: Anne Boleyn

Language: English

I. A Great King
II. Master Secretary
III. I Come Hither to Die


00:00 / 00:00
00:00 / 00:00
00:00 / 00:00

Program Notes: God Save the Queen was commissioned by soprano Emily Woodruff for her project The Queens Speak, a multimedia production pairing contemporary song with projected imagery to narrate the lives and experiences of King Henry VIII’s wives.  Through personal letters between Anne Boleyn, King Henry’s second wife from 1533-36, God Save the Queen traces the tumultuous life of the Queen.  The first letter, directed to King Henry from Anne Boleyn, opens with a majestic and noble musical statement, while the letter professes her desire to do anything for him, referring to herself as the King’s ‘obedient servant.’  The second letter is addressed to Thomas Cromwell, King Henry’s chief minister and 1st Earl of Essex, with whom Anne Boleyn was having an affair. In this mysterious and sinuous song, mistress Boleyn discusses her wardship of the King’s child. When Anne failed to produce a male heir, the King grew weary of her, and she was imprisoned in the Tower of London accused of incest with her brother, adultery with several gentlemen from Court, witchcraft and treason. Musically, it leads attacca into the third letter, or statement, chronicled after her death by historian Edward Hall. A brisk, uneven meter and syncopated rhythm lays the foundation for Anne Boleyn’s final statement at the Tower of London, where she was executed.  She is said to have been blindfolded, kneeling upright and repeating 'To Jesus Christ I commend my soul; Lord Jesus receive my soul.’ The song quotes a dissonant twist of the chorus to England’s royal anthem God Save the Queen, the before the final beheading by axe.  

Performance History:

-February 17th, 2017; No. 1 & 2 - Composers Now Festival; National Opera Center; Rehearsal Hall; NY – 7:30PM

-March 16th, 2017; No. 1 & 2 - University of Northern Las Vegas; Alta Ham Fine Arts Building;Las Vegas, NV – 3PM

-August 30th, 2017; Music at MiMoDa – Paper or Plastik Cafe; West Los Angeles, CA – 8PM

-September 3rd, 2017; unSUNg – Songs Uncommon and New; St. Mark's Episcopal Church; Glendale, CA - 6PM

-September 16th, 2017; Rochester Fringe Festival; MuCCC; Community Cultural Center; Rochester, NY – 3PM

-June 27th, 2018; Music at MiMoDa – Paper or Plastik Cafe; West Los Angeles, CA – 8PM

-July 1st, 2018; St. Mark's Episcopal Church; Glendale, California - 4PM

-September 16th, 2018; Classical Encounters of Orange County; TBA - ??PM

-September 23rd, 2018; Classics at the MERC; The Merc at Old Town Temecula Theater; Temecula, CA – 2PM

-January 13th, 2019; Silicon Beach Monthly Series; St. Paul’s Lutheran Church; Santa Monica, California – 4PM

George N. Gianopoulos


bottom of page