From the Composer
‘Born, like Dylan Thomas, in Swansea and living in West Wales where UNDER MILK WOOD is set, I feel a very familiar instinctive connection with this iconic work. I believe that art, like people, belongs to the particular first, the universal second.
People I speak to say that UNDER MILK WOOD does reverberate very strongly outside of Wales. Its appeal is to every member of every oddball community whether in Newfoundland, Maine or Brooklyn. In these days of ‘globalisation’ the Boondocks still exist. This is a piece about those communities – the unheralded corners of the world. That’s a thread which runs through the whole piece.
I don’t have any doubt that the work we have been doing has the ability to touch, to change, to reach a large new audience without in anyway compromising its integrity – by in fact asserting its integrity and its values. I am interested in revisiting some of the spatial, hierarchical, and performance practice preconditions which I believe stand in the way of new opera being more fully connected and responsive to changes in contemporary and world theatre and to cultural development in the broadest sens. Generations raised on MTV embrace the idea that the act of creating music, not just the sound created, is an integral part of performance and yet many new operas go out of there way to hide and neutralize the musicians. New audiences want performance that, to some extent, reflects what they experience – not musicians dressed in the same white ties that audiences stopped wearing a century ago.’
JOHN METCALF, COMPOSER
Photograph courtesy of Kirsten McTernan, March 2014