It was just a few weeks ago that I first discussed the young British composer Iain Bell here, specifically his first foray into opera with last year’s dark adaptation of the 18th century moralistic painting cycle The Harlot’s Progress, but the 2014/2015 cultural calendar has brought the premiere of his second opera. He’s moved one century forward in British art, but the new opera’s source material shares a lot in common with last year’s…
Bell and the Houston Grand Opera have adapted Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, apparently emphasizing the eerie ghost elements over the more conventional yuletide cheer… In another unusual turn, it’s a monodrama for a single tenor, inspired by the one-man version of the story Dickens himself used to perform in Victorian England.
Keeping with the forward march through British literature, Iain Bell’s website already lists his next operatic commission, for the Welsh National Opera, this time adapting an epic poem of the 20th century. In Parenthesis, by David Jones, was about World War I and culminates in the Battle of the Somme; WNO’s 2016 premiere performance will mark the occasion of that battle’s centennial.
At any rate, I’m hoping Bell keeps up the pattern and makes his next opera about some 21st century British work of literature… Any suggestions?