Our Music and Drama departments are thrilled to present a series of exclusive interviews with professionals working in the performing arts sector. Each week, throughout the Summer term, a new interview has been available for Embley parents and pupils to view on our Digital Learning Space. This week’s interview is with Iain Bell.
Iain Bell’s love affair with the voice is evidenced by his prolific output of vocal works, earning him the attention of many of the greatest singers of our generation who have performed his music at venues including Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Munich Opera Festival.Given 5-stars and described by the Financial Times as ‘a brilliant new opera’ Bell’s second, based on Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ received its world premiere at Houston Grand Opera in December 2014. An adaptation of Dickens’ own one-man version of the story, scored for chamber orchestra & tenor, it was performed by Jay Hunter Morris in a production by Simon Callow. The piece was subsequently nominated in the World Premiere category at the International Opera Awards 2015 and has been staged in a new productions at Welsh National Opera and the Teatro Sociale in Trento.
Bell’s critically-acclaimed third opera ‘In Parenthesis’, based on David Jones’ eponymous World War One epic poem (directed by David Pountney/conducted by Carlo Rizzi) premiered at Welsh National Opera with further performances at the Royal Opera House in Summer 2016. The Independent’s 5-star review called the work a ‘powerful act of remembrance’, with The Stage calling Bell’s score ‘technically exceptional’ and The Telegraph describing the opera as ‘gripping and moving’.
2019 saw the premiere of two new operas. The first, ‘Jack the Ripper: the Women of Whitechapel’ opened at English National Opera with a cast including Josephine Barstow, Susan Bullock, Lesley Garrett, Marie McLaughlin, Natalya Romaniw, Janis Kelly and Alan Opie. This was followed by ‘Stonewall’ at New York City Opera – commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. ‘Stonewall’ went on to be shortlisted as one of the best new operas of 2019 at the Annual Excellence in Opera Awards and was cited as one of WQXR’s best classical concerts of 2019.
This interview is exclusively available to Embley pupils, parents and staff; visit our Embley Learning Space to watch the full interview.