WNO In Parenthesis. Andrew Bidlack (Private John Ball) and Alexandra Deshorties (Queen of the Woods).  ©

Bill Cooper

This year marks the 70th year of Welsh National Opera, a Cardiff-based opera company.

To celebrate this landmark year, WNO presented a brand new work by young British composer Iain Bell. Based on Welsh writer and poet David Jones’ epic First World War poem of the same name, In Parenthesis brings traditional Welsh song together with Jones’ moving text to create a beautiful and haunting evocation of the events of the Battle of the Somme.

Through this fascinating ten-part series of short films, WNO invites us behind-the-scenes to discover how a new opera makes it from page to stage. In the first five episodes (below): Librettists Emma Jenkins and David Antrobus explore the original text; composer Iain Bell traces his composition journey; director David Pountney and designer Robert Innes Hopkins introduce the set and costumes; National Museum Wales Curator Beth McIntyre talks about David Jones’ work as a painter; and the cast and crew invite us into the rehearsal room.

Check out the rest of the series – and lots more – on WNO’s YouTube channel.

A 14-18 Now commission

Watch all In Parenthesis videos

See also

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