Clarice Assad


(2024) Chronicles of Ghosts

Commissioned by Newport Classical |Chapter III: Whispers From The Pirate Queen

For Mezzo-Soprano & String Quartet

Chapter III: Chronicles of Ghosts: Extraordinary Women of the 16th Century is a journey that bridges the past and present, exploring women’s lives during the Renaissance through storytelling and songs. The narratives precisely showcase these women’s feats and biographical details as recorded in history. The work weaves elements of mythology, quantum physics, mysticism, and historical biography to create a tapestry of connections between different eras, dimensions, and locations. The storytellers, each with a personal relationship with the ‘ghost’ from the Renaissance era they are channeling, convey the legacies of these deceased women. By threading these stories into an exploration of the meaning of legacy, Chronicles aims to illuminate the indestructible nature of human bonds and sorrows that defy the bounds of time itself, as well as pay homage to these extraordinary women who have been mostly forgotten in the sands of time.

In this particular chapter, we delve into the remarkable lives of two trailblazing women: Grace O’Malley, the fearless Irish pirate queen, and Anne Hutchinson, the courageous Puritan spiritual leader who challenged religious orthodoxy in colonial America. Grace O’Malley’s spirit reaches out to Anne Hutchinson through a mystical, time-bending connection, offering guidance, wisdom, and a symbolic “torch of courage” that transcends the boundaries of their respective eras.

Grace O’Malley, renowned for her bravery and defiance in the face of gender norms and English oppression in 16th-century Ireland, becomes a spectral mentor to Anne Hutchinson, who faces her battles against religious persecution and societal constraints in 17th-century New England. The story unfolds through narration and lyrics that capture the essence of their shared struggles and triumphs, highlighting the enduring power of female resilience and the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood across time.

As Grace’s spirit prepares to depart, she leaves Anne with a powerful, inspiring message—a call to let her voice ring loud and clear, conquer fear with conviction, and trust in the truth within her. This parting wisdom serves as a reminder that Anne’s journey is not just her own but part of a greater historical narrative. This legacy will inspire generations to come and echo through the annals of time.

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