An operatic sonic theatre work, ca. 80mins.
Draft excerpts from narration/instrumental scenes
As told by the experimental music collective, Bastard Assignments
(in development 2019-20)
A bold commission from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music, in partnership with Decipherer Arts Projects, Syllable was scheduled for premiere in December 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the production will be rescheduled in Laban Theatre for as soon as possible. The seven vocal soloist roles were yet to be casted, and none of the dramatic arias are recorded at this time.
Syllable combines immersive images, integrated movement and evocative singing to tell the obsessive story of a carbon particle, as it moves from the far-reaches of prehistory into a moment that we recognise as the present. Butting up against this sense of deep time, amidst this unpeopled story of a nameless particle, is a vast tumble of human episodes. These are the interactions of loves and fears, seductions and jealousies, solitary dinners and executions—via characters who appear again and again—as a foreground to the slower-moving tale. This combination of main and marginal action, the integration of the fast scenes embedded into the slow drama, portrays a number of sincere and perilous questions about the value of life and how we measure it.
Inspired by Primo Levi’s 1975 novel, The Periodic Table, the opera is propelled by a rich vocabulary of shifting projections from Akhila Krishnan (59 Productions/ENO/Met Opera), set within an evocative world by designer Molly Einchcomb (National Theatre/Bristol Old Vic). Joseph Alford (Theatre O/Royal Danish Opera Academy/Bolshoi Theatre/Festival d’Aix en Provence) will direct.
Syllable was commissioned by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, as part of their Vocal Studies Opera programme, and with funding from: TL core performance, Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants, PRS for Music Foundation Open Fund for Music Creators, Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust and from the The Gemma Classical Music Trust.