Syllable / A Particle Tale 

A new operatic sonic work written by Edward Jessen

“So it happens, therefore in the world of matter . . . solid things, that every element says something. But one must perhaps make an exception for carbon, as it says—because carbon says—everything to everyone. It is not specific, in the way—in the same way—that Adam is not specific to anyone, uniquely as an ancestor.”
― Primo Levi

In January 2022, in partnership with Decipherer Arts Projects, Trinity Laban premiered Syllable—an operatic sonic theatre work. 

Syllable combines immersive images, integrated movement and evocative singing to tell the obsessive story of a carbon particle, as it moves from the far-reaches of prehistory into a moment that we recognise as the present. Butting up against this sense of deep time, amidst this unpeopled story of a nameless particle, is a vast tumble of human episodes. These are the interactions of loves and fears, seductions and jealousies, solitary dinners and executions—via characters who appear again and again—as a foreground to the slower-moving tale. This combination of main and marginal action, the integration of the fast scenes embedded into the slow drama, portrays a number of sincere and perilous questions about the value of life and how we measure it.

Composer Edward Jessen
Director Joseph W Alford
Conductor  Gregory Rose 
Designer  Molly Einchcomb
Projection Design Akhila Krishnan
Narration Bastard Assignments
Sound Design David Sheppard and Ian Dearden (Sound Intermedia)
Lighting Design Malcolm Rippeth