Promo image: In Parenthesis | Iain Bell

In Parenthesis | Iain Bell

Cardiff, Birmingham and London
Fri 13th May - Fri 1st July 2016

World première

Music by Iain Bell
Libretto by David Antrobus and Emma Jenkins
(after David Jones)

As we mark 70 years of WNO it is a time to look forward. What better way to do this than with a world première 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 cultural programme to commemorate World War I. 

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.

Opera is a living, breathing art form. But for it to keep on growing and evolving, we need you to join us for what we believe is an important major new work.

Cast & Creative

Conductor Carlo Rizzi
Director David Pountney
Designer Robert Innes Hopkins
Lighting Designer Malcolm Rippeth


Private John Ball Andrew Bidlack
Bard of Brittannia/HQ Officer Peter Coleman-Wright
Bard of Germania/Alice the Barmaid/The Queen of the Woods Alexandra Deshorties
Lieutenant Jenkins George Humphreys
Lance Corporal Lewis Marcus Farnsworth
Sergeant Snell Mark Le Brocq
Dai Greatcoat Donald Maxwell
The Marne Sergeant Graham Clark

Programme of Events
Promo image: WNO Field

WNO Field

Wales Millennium Centre
Fri 13th May - Wed 22nd June 2016

Open day and night.

Free Event

A spectacular digital installation will provide a poignant memorial to the Royal Welch Fusiliers who died at Mametz Wood. The interactive installation will be situated directly outside of Wales Millennium Centre.

Supported by

Promo image: In Parenthesis Broadcast

In Parenthesis Broadcast

The Opera Platform
Fri 1st July

Our production of In Parenthesis will be broadcast on The Opera Platform on 1 July.

“War’s Hell!” The Battle of Mametz Wood in Art

National Museum Wales
Sat 30th April - Sun 4th September 2016

From 30 April to 4 September this year, National Museum Cardiff presents a new exhibition remembering one of the most significant and bloody battles fought by Welsh soldiers during the First World War.

Works on display include the Frontispiece drawing form the first edition of David Jones’ ‘In Parenthesis’.