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SYLLABLE is a new work from composer Edward Jessen.

Edward Jessen’s works originate from concert and theatrical traditions with a strong emphasis on vocal music. He works with a distiller’s approach to sound—often refining single elements to best evoke a legible event or a phenomenological message.

SYLLABLE, a bold commission from Trinity Laban, will be an evening-length work of operatic sonic theatre. Following on from two years of development, the project will expand into a fully-staged production, in a rich theatrical format engaging vocal soloists, sinfonietta-scale ensemble, auxiliary audio and visual projection.

While the story will reference a motif within The Periodic Table—Primo Levi’s 1975 anecdotal tour through the chemical elements—the project will be substantially bare of narrative. That is, the drama will be propelled by scenes of legible sound and activity, more so than dialogue and description.

The project is very much a theatrical experiment, with the question of: how might an audience be as involved with, and intrigued by a drama without the more common aspects of characterisation, of background, of plot and voiceover? The approach will involve a pleasant blur, where sound and image might rapidly converse and collide as with the overlaps of imagery, information and speech that we navigate in life. SYLLABLE will aim to duplicate—or to get near to—that blissful state of grace, of an intersection between describing and showing.

Edward Jessen is supported by PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund for Music Creators.

SYLLABLE is supported by Arts Council England.

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With composer Edward Jessen