The Anatomy of Melancholy is a new opera from musician Finn Beames based on the classic text. It’s at Testbed1 in Battersea and runs this week.
This original opera, inspired by Robert Burton self-help manual (published in 1621) and performed by eight musicians and seven singers, will take an intimate look at historical and modern-day experiences of depression through song, speech and mobile live-feed video screens. Via the exploration of a young man’s experience of depression and his family’s responses, the production draws attention to both personal experiences of and approaches to mental health, and intends to draw attention to the links between mental and physical health.
The work has been written in collaboration with molecular psychiatrist Professor Jonathan Flint, Head of the Psychiatric Genetics Group at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, and accordingly includes cutting edge research on genetics and depression so there’s also something very interesting in how musicians and artists are working with health professionals and medical researchers to create new perspectives on research and make this information more accessible for a wider audience.