7th October 2014
With libretto by David Antrobus and Emma Jenkins, the narrative follows the central character, Private John Ball, who embarks upon a journey into the Wasteland of War and, miraculously, emerges alive after an ordeal that should have ended in certain death. He encounters two levels of experience on this journey; the first is literal, real and sometimes comic experience of 20th Century war, and the second is the visionary, mystical element that John Ball involuntarily dips in and out of throughout the poem.
Iain Bell says: “It is an honour to be involved in the operatic adaptation of such a poetic, epic and dramatically rich work as In Parenthesis. To be afforded the opportunity to musically explore both a martial, brutal sound-world as that of an ethereal, crystalline plane of esoteric vision which collide and fuse at the climax of the piece; to answer these dramatic demands both vocally and orchestrally has been utterly thrilling and I cannot wait to share this heart-wrenching story with the WNO audience.”
In Parenthesis (An Artist’s Vision of the Somme) has been commissioned by the Nicholas John Trust with 14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, a UK-wide programme supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, and will be the first official operatic commemoration of World War One.