Carlo Rizzi ©Tessa Traeger (detail) View full image

Rizzi conducts world premiere of Iain Bell's In Parenthesis

On 13 May, Cardiff sees the world premiere of Iain Bell's In Parenthesis. Carlo Rizzi will lead this new creation in Cardiff, Birmingham and the Royal Opera, London. The production runs until 1 July.

As Welsh National Opera marks it's 70th year it is a time to look forward. What better way to do this than with a world premiere of a major new opera? In Parenthesis is young British composer Iain Bell’s adaptation of the epic poem by Welsh poet, writer and artist David Jones. In Parenthesis is commissioned by the Nicholas John Trust with 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War Centenary.

Listen to Michael Sheen read a passage from this special poem which conveys a unique narrative of war and depicts a deeply moving account of the fighting and heavy losses sustained by the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

In addition to the opera, In Parenthesis, we are also presenting WNO Field – a light installation memorial to the 923 fallen Royal Welch Fusiliers at Mametz 1916. The installation launches on 13 May and will be open to the public outside Wales Millennium Centre until 22 June.

Private John Ball and his comrades in the Royal Welch Fusiliers 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, In Parenthesis dares to offer hope. Even here amongst the destruction, a fragile flowering of regeneration and re-birth can be found. Bell’s beautiful score combines traditional Welsh song with moments of other-worldliness, terror, humour and transcendence. David Pountney’s period production is both an evocation and a commemoration of the events of the Somme.