For its 70th anniversary, Welsh National Opera remembered World War One and celebrated the future of opera with a brand new show. And everyone was invited.
WNO partnered with The Space to create an online broadcast of a very modern opera, In Parenthesis – and also created a series of video podcasts and recordings that followed the making of the show.
As Europe marked 100 years since the Battle of the Somme, WNO staged an adaptation of David Jones’ epic poem In Parenthesis, which was inspired by the writer’s experiences at the battle. The opera was created by composer Ian Bell and director David Pountney as part of 14-18 NOW, a festival connecting people with the events of the First World War.
It follows the story of Private John Ball’s posting to the Somme. In Mametz Wood, he wanders into a strange world – timeless, unreal and deadly. But it’s here that John and his fellow soldiers find something they never expected: hope.
With In Parenthesis, WNO set out to make a 21st century opera with plenty of atmosphere, humour and Welsh song – and to give everyone a chance to see exactly how they did it in a series of behind the scenes videos and recordings.
See and hear the production…
In Parenthesis was streamed on The Opera Platform at 7pm 1 July where it was available to watch for six months.
It was also screened at cinemas in Wales during the summer and autumn:
Pontio, Bangor – 3 July
Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff – 6 July
Theatr Gwaun – 9 July
National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth – 16 July
Galeri, Carenarfon – 16 September
Theatr Colwyn – 22 Nov
The project was supported with funding from Arts Council Wales and you can visit the In Parenthesis site to watch the short films surrounding the opera and lots more interesting info.
The show was broadcast on Radio 3 on 2 July, and toured during the summer:
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff – 13 May – 3 June
Birmingham Hippodrome – 10 June
Royal Opera House, London – 29 June & 1 July
About this artist
Welsh National Opera transforms lives through the power of opera. The organisation is passionate about opera and wants to share its passion with as many people as possible. In Parenthesis is directed by David Pountney. Music by Iain Bell. Libretto by David Antrobus and Emma Jenkins (after David Jones). In Parenthesis is part of 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions and Cymru’n Cofio Wales Remembers 1914-1918.