MATTHEW KING - COMPOSER
This opera (libretto by Michael Irwin) was commissioned by Canterbury Festival and first performed in Canterbury Cathedral in October 1996. The opera follows the biblical narrative of the prophet Jonah who gets into various scrapes in his frail attempts to first avoid and then obey his prophetic calling. At the centre of the opera is Jonah's Aria from the Belly of the Whale, composed for the resonant acoustic of the cathedral, in which Jonah sings a Psalm of deliverance. His solo voice is surrounded by the myriad sounds of the orchestra, sometimes imitating the sounds of the whale. The opera is scored for solo baritone, tenor, vocal trio (tenor, mezzo and boy treble as the voice of God), massed choirs and orchestra with off-stage trumpets, organ solo and recorded whale song.