Parlement of Foules

The programme is loosely inspired by Valentine’s Day and more closely by Chaucer’s poem ‘Parlement of Foules’  – an account of the birds’ troubles having to choose a mate on St Valentine’s day, eventually resolved in a good-natured way. However, in our programme it’s the birds observing the humans and seeing a far less innocent picture.

In a triptych of stories, we have on the ends two contrasting versions of a ballad rooted in the tradition of courtly love – ravens contemplate dining on a slain knight’s body with very different outcomes. In the middle of the triptych, the birds contemplate humans’ springtime dalliances as they turn into love and betrayal, then keep the wounded company in their time of despair, and even ease their passing. All the while, they welcome spring and go about their lives, even take sustenance from the aftermath of human tragedies – all still in a good-natured way.