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The Book of Thel: Opera and Graphic Novel: Volume 2


Peter Blake Libri


Preface What you have before you is an unusual book as it is the result of multiple layers of artistic endeavor. It is an interpretation of a live performance of an operatic adaption of a classic poem written and illustrated by William Blake. So what does that mean? Well, the poem, composed between 1788 ? 1790 was etched in relief on copper with illustrations by Blake himself. These originals are reproduced on the last pages of this book in black and white and in color on the back cover. In 2011 I proposed to Wilton?s Music Hall in London a stage adaptation of ?The Book of Thel? and asked Rolando Macrini if he would compose music for the show. What followed was several weeks in Italy where I ate and drank while Rolando dreamed the voice of Thel, head wedged between headphones and fingers chiseling away at the piano. Of course, I had my work cut out for me when I returned to London to cast the show, build puppet lilies and clouds and direct it for the stage. Then in 2016 Rolando decided he wanted to expand Thel into a much grander opera and he returned to his piano reworking the composition over the course of a year. In 2017, with the help of La Mama Umbria he staged a choral concert for the Spoleto Festival with singers and an orchestra conducted by Claudio Scarabottini. Not satisfied to simply have subtitles in Italian he asked visual artist Jacobo Maran to respond to Blake?s visual imagery with imagery of his own which integrated the translated and English text. These would serve as the subtitles. The result of his efforts were then projected on a large screen behind the singers and orchestra. These fantastic images and the music for the opera make up the bulk of his book. It may seem strange at times that there are multiple images for the same piece of text. It must be taken in to consideration, however, by the reader, that the amount of time necessary to play and sing the music meant multiple images were needed to compliment the shifting narrative. This also gave the audience the time to slowly read Blake?s often complicated and metaphorical text. I hope you enjoy this visually orchestrated journey into our interpretation of Blake?s Vales of Har. Peter S. Case March 13, 2018
 
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