Aleda or The Flight

of the Suff Bird Women

One-act chamber opera in three scenes

 June 8 & 9 @ 7pm, June 10 @ 5pm

 CLYNK, Glenville Business & Technology Park



Music and libretto by Max Caplan

Commissioned and produced by Musicians of Ma’alwyck, Ann-Marie Barker Schwartz, Director

Stage Direction by Krysta Dennis                                           Musical Direction by Timothy Reno

Leda Richberg-Hornsby, "aviatrix" from Chicago—Mezzo-soprano Tess McCarthy

Ida Blair, N.A.W.S.A. publicity leader—Soprano Jean Leonard

Mary Otis Willcox, N.A.W.S.A. Staten Island leader Contralto—Mezzo-soprano Erica Sparrow

A Reporter for the New York Sun - Baritone Byron Nilsson


Set in Staten Island in 1916, the opera tells the true story of a unique women's suffrage demonstration attempted by early female pilot Leda Richberg-Hornsby and the National American Woman Suffrage Association (N.A.W.S.A.). Equipped with a bi-plane, a cargo of votes-for-women petitions, and a huge banner reading "Women want liberty too," the suffragists endeavored to fly over New York Harbor during a national celebration at the Statue of Liberty in order to "bomb" President Woodrow Wilson with petitions. The elaborate plan ended in something of a fiasco as a gale of wind forced a premature crash-landing in a Staten Island swamp (luckily no one was hurt) – yet the attempt stands as a testimony to the courage and inventiveness (not to mention dramatic flare) of these women in their struggle for the right to vote.  The presentation of the opera coincides with the 100th anniversary year of the passing of women suffrage in New York State.

The performance will open with “Burden of the Ballot,” a one-act play taking place in May 1917 at Historic Cherry Hill in Albany.  Hear both sides of the suffrage question through the hopes and fears of women living during this important movement in American history.



Aleda Testimonials

"Your presentation of the suffbird women on Sunday was a delight--the music, the acting, and the singing was a delightful surprise."

"Fantastic event, we all enjoyed it very much."

"Many Thanks for a delightful evening last night at the World Premiere of 'Aleda' ~ it's heart-warming to see young talent being encouraged and nurtured in our area. Such an integral part of 'Our Journey'. Thank You again!"

From volunteers: "We had a wonderful time being a part of an amazing production!! Thank you so much!! "

From Assmblywoman Mary Beth Walsh: "Opera in Glenville? (Yes!) Last night we attended the premiere of "Aleda: The Flight of the Suff Bird Woman," held at CLYNK in Scotia. "Aleda" tells the true story of an attempt by female pilot Leda Richberg-Hornsby and the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1916 to fly an airplane over New York Harbor during the lighting ceremony of the Statue of Liberty in order to "bomb" President Wilson's yacht with petitions from women voters. Very interesting and original, thank you Musicians of Ma'alwyck and Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle for the invitation!"

CEO of CLYNK Clayton Kyle: "The performances were outstanding, but the vision and effort to put it all together is probably worth commemorating in an opera of its own.  All of us at CLYNK are grateful that we had the opportunity to participate; you have a friends forever in the bottle recycling business…not something everyone gets to claim!"

Composer Steve Murray: "I suppose by now your inbox is filling up with kudos.  I will add my thoughts here.  The play and the opera were wonderful and fun.  I loved the music, the staging, the venue and everything else about the production.  You never cease to amaze me with your inventiveness, your energy, your attention to detail and, of course, your playing.  Congratulations on a splendid creation." 


Aleda Photo Gallery

Times Union review

Center of Women's History at  New-York Historical Society blog of interview with Ann-Marie

Times Union & Daily Gazette - Sunday Jun 3 feature articles 

Classical WMHT-FM - interview with the artists  

Schenectady Today with Ann Parillo  (YouTube video starts @ 26 min)

WAMC Roundtable - interview with the artists 

"Creating Aleda" Preview on YouTube


Download the Aleda newsletter to learn more about the Aleda story and the talent behind this extraordinary and cutting edge production 



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Musicians of Ma'alwyck

511 Mohawk Avenue
Scotia, NY