Thursday, June 30, 2016

Watch barihunk George Humphreys in world premiere of In Parenthesis

George Humphreys (left) and Andrew Bidlack (right) in In Parenthesis
Iain Bell's new opera In Parenthesis received its world premiere on May 13th at the Welsh National Opera with barihunk George Humphreys in the key role of Lieutenant Jenkins. The all-star cast also included hunkentenor Andrew Bidlack in the major role of Private John Ball, Peter Coleman-Wright in the Bard of Brittannia, Alexandra Deshorties is the Bard of Germania and the Queen of the Woods and Graham Clark is the Marne Sergeant.

It wraps up performance on July 1 at the Royal Opera House in London, but will be available worldwide for viewing on The Opera Platform at 8pm CET on July 1st, and then available to view online for free for six months. (3 PM EST, Noon PST).

The opera is an adaptation of the epic poem In Parenthesis by Welsh poet, writer and artist David Jones. The libretto centers around Private John Ball and his comrades in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, who are posted to the Somme. In Mametz Wood they enter a strange realm – outside of time, dream-like but deadly. Rather than simply reporting the horrors of the Somme, the story dares to offer hope. Even here amongst all of the destruction there is a fragile flowering of regeneration and re-birth. Bell’s score combines traditional Welsh song with moments of other-worldliness, terror, humor and transcendence.

T. S. Eliot called In Parenthesis "a work of genius." W. H. Auden considered it "...the greatest book about the First World War" that he had read, a work in which Jones did "for the British and the Germans what Homer did for the Greeks and the Trojans" in "a masterpiece" comparable in quality to The Divine Comedy. 

There will also be screenings across the U.K., including at the Pontio in Bangor on July 3, the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff on July 6,  the Theatr Gwaun in Fishguard on July 9,  The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth July 16, and the Theatr Colwyn in Colwyn Bay on November 22.

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