The Waste Land
by kind permission of the T.S. Eliot Foundation
directed by Adrian Dunbar, music by Nick Roth
Director: Adrian Dunbar
Composer: Nick Roth
Voices: Anna Nygh, Orla Charlton, Frank McCusker, Stanley Townsend
Musicians: Alex Bonney, Nick Roth, Matthew Bourne, Riaan Vosloo, Simon Roth
The Waste Land is widely regarded as one of the most important poems of the 20th century. Whilst it loosely follows the legend of the Holy Grail and the Fisher King, it also alludes to a vast range of world literature, music and culture, evidence of Eliot’s great breadth of interests and knowledge.
Directed by Adrian Dunbar, with a specially commissioned score by composer Nick Roth and period film footage, this rare performative setting breaks the Poem down across four voices, taking as inspiration the idea of Sibylline Fragments - throwing letters in the air and making sense of them as they fall.
In an attempt to capture the extraordinary verve and daring of Eliot’s great work, the piece aspires to adhere to its tempo and musicality and, in allowing its power to flow, explores how the Poem hangs together as the declaration of a moment in time, prefiguring as it did so much of what artistically arrived after it.
First performed in 2015 as part of the Beckett Festival, the poem was written in 1922 and this setting remains true to all of the then contemporary rhythms and references.
By kind permission of the T.S. Eliot Estate.