What's On

Saturday 21 May 2022, 7.30pm

I Fagiolini: Re-Wilding The Waste Land

I Fagiolini: Re-Wilding The Waste Land


I Fagiolini
Robert Hollingworth
Amber James


T.S. Eliot
The Waste Land
Tomás Luis de Victoria
Tenebrae Responsories
William Byrd
Deus, venerunt gentes
Ben Rowarth
Deus, venerunt gentes
Kenneth Leighton
God’s Grandeur
Joanna Marsh
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Silence and Music
Shruthi Rajasekar
Ganga's peace
Joanna Marsh
The World is Charged

Running Time

1 hour 20 minutes

9 singers grouped together are each making a different expressive or dramatic face at the camera

One of the most important poetic creations of the 20th century, ‘The Waste Land’ is almost a stream of consciousness, with characters and viewpoints from Medieval legend to Hindu teaching - and even a scene in a bar.

It proffers optimism and pessimism in the same breath. This programme intersperses readings from it, narrated by RSC favourite Amber James, with Renaissance music, choral works from Eliot’s time and new commissions.

The shadowy world of the Tenebrae Responsories by Spanish master Victoria - sung at their rarely heard but intended lower pitch – is present throughout the programme. Also from the late 16th century, William Byrd’s Deus, venerunt gentes chillingly describes a land wasted through intolerance.

Out of this flow further world premières by Joanna Marsh. And reflecting Indian motifs in The Waste Land, Shruthi Rajasekar’s Ganga's peace.

50 years before T.S. Eliot's ground-breaking poem, Manley Hopkins’ sonnet God’s Grandeur offers hope that ‘…and for all this, nature is never spent'. This is sung in Leighton's rapturous setting while Joanna Marsh takes up John F.Deane's response to it, The world is charged, challenging us to contemplate our own reaction to recent times.

As Eliot concludes his poem with a request for peace but no easy way to create it, Re-Wilding The Waste Land avoids a simplistic response. Instead, old and new music and poetry mirror the cycles of creation, encouraging reflection and hope.

Narrator Amber James is a leading light in theatre. She recently starred as Wendy in Wendy & Peter Pan at the Leeds Playhouse and starred in the London debut of Mike Bartlett's Snowflake, following a run in Vassa at the Almeida Theatre. She also played Titania at Regent's Park and took the title role of Cressida in Greg Doran's Troilus & Cressida for the RSC. Filming-wise she has done an episode for the CBS series Ransom and guests in Vera and Doc Martin.

Age Guidance

This event is not recommended for children under the age of 7