JETHRO TULL: THE ROCK OPERA

SYNOPSIS & SETLIST

The story of an inventor and pioneer in food production, set some time in the not-too-distant future. A homage to the original Jethro Tull dramatised and based on the actual life and times of the 18th Century agriculturalist. Illustrated in both existing and new songs, recitative and music from the repertoire of Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull.

Characters

Quentin Scrobe, Biotech scientist – John O’Hara
The Narrator – Ian Anderson
Susannah, wife of Jethro – Unnur Birna Björnsdóttir
Jethro Snr, Jethro’s father – David Goodier
The younger Jethro – Ryan O’Donnell
The older Jethro – Ian Anderson
Jasper Tull, son of Jethro – Ryan O’Donnell
The Choirmaster – John O’Hara

Synopsis

Heavy Horses (feat. Unnur Birna Björnsdóttir, David Goodier)

Jethro Tull grows up near Hungerford, England on the small family farm where, in his spare time, he tinkers with machinery and plays the local church organ. He has a love of nature and the traditional rural way of life, fast disappearing as a living for the small scale farmer.

Wind Up (feat. David Goodier, Ryan O’Donnell)

As traditional farming offers no real career for the young man, his parents decide that he should pursue an academic career at school in Oxford and go on to study Law rather than Music or Agriculture.

Aqualung (feat. Ryan O’Donnell)

Jethro studies in Oxford, working hard to fulfil his parents’ ambitions for him, sometimes struggling with recurring pulmonary ailments and dogged by the shadow of ill-health suffered since childhood.

With You There To Help Me (feat. Unnur Birna Björnsdóttir)

Jethro becomes a qualified lawyer. He pledges his love to and marries sweetheart Susannah. To recuperate from illness, he decides to depart for balmier climes and enjoy a few months’ sabbatical. He travels through France and Italy, always observing and learning from the traditional agricultural methods of the regions. He greatly misses his new wife and writes to her often.

Back To The Family (feat. Ryan O’Donnell)

While abroad, he discovers, to his horror that his father has sold the family farming estate to the government for high-speed road and rail infrastructure redevelopment.

Farm On The Freeway (feat. Ryan O’Donnell)

He returns home to confront his lost heritage.

Prosperous Pasture (feat. Unnur Birna Björnsdóttir)

Betrayed and disillusioned, he decides to retrain and study bio-engineering with a view to creating new methods of crop production. After graduation, Jethro is fortunate to find a low-paid post as a research scientist in a government agricultural research facility. Financially supported by an uncle, Jethro and Susannah decide to risk everything to make a living in small- scale farming and invest all of their resources in the 250 acre Prosperous Farm, in Wiltshire.

Fruits of Frankenfield (feat. John O’Hara)

Some years later, Jethro is now a leading government scientist working on genetically-modified crops. He also secretly experiments at his own little farm with pre-fertilised and delayed germination techniques to try out some of the genetically-modified seedlings he has developed for the government institute. His teenage son, Jasper, has also developed a passion for chemistry and biology.

Songs From The Wood (feat. Unnur Birna Björnsdóttir, Ryan O’Donnell)

To Susannah’s surprise, Tull resigns his government post and enters the private agribusiness sector. He conducts seed trials with various crops and goes into production with his now-patented techniques under the banner of his fast-growing company TullProd International.
=====================Intermission============================

And The World Feeds Me (feat. Unnur Birna Björnsdóttir)

As world population continues to rise to 9 billion and beyond, more and more people aspire to wasteful, material lifestyles. Tull’s technologies have helped to feed the developing world and provide for the growing population, reducing famine and child mortality. He now enjoys considerable and growing personal wealth with his technology products licensed to various companies and governments for manufacture and use. He expands into commercial cloning of livestock and becomes truly a pioneer of both large and small-scale farming producing huge food yields efficiently and relatively cheaply.

Living In The Past (feat. Unnur Birna Björnsdóttir)

With his father now living in nursing care, Tull makes the decision to retire from industry. He has become increasingly disillusioned with his corporate success and longs to return to his quiet traditional farming idyll at Prosperous Farm with Susannah and son Jasper.

Jack-In-The-Green

He uses traditional and organic farming methods mixing livestock with arable and feed production on his 250 acres.

The Witch’s Promise (feat. Unnur Birna Björnsdóttir)

Tull has been seduced by the ideology of low-impact organic farming and is berated by Susannah for turning away from his responsibilities and for not utilising his true talents and skills.

Weathercock (feat. Ryan O’Donnell)

He has become the gentleman hobby farmer that he previously despised. Which way will the wind blow him?

Stick, Twist, Bust (feat. Ryan O’Donnell)

Supported by Susannah and son Jasper, Tull ponders on the big ethical questions and the moral dilemma of his professional life. To continue with “hobby farming” or play his part and gamble on the technologies of agricultural science?

Cheap Day Return (feat. Unnur Birna Björnsdóttir, David Goodier)

Tull Snr is now gravely ill and, urged by Susannah and Jasper, Jethro visits him in hospital to pay his last respects. He wonders what his dying, estranged father would have wanted him to do.

A New Day Yesterday (feat. David Goodier, Unnur Birna Björnsdóttir)

Tull comes to terms with the fact that the global future depends on mankind’s continuing ingenuity and new scientific and engineering developments. A new day is dawning….

The Turnstile Gate (feat. Ryan O’Donnell, Unnur Birna Björnsdóttir)

He realises that hiding his head in the infertile sand of the past is a denial of man’s aspirations, however daunting the years to come may seem. There is no turning back.

Locomotive Breath (feat. John O’Hara, Ryan O’Donnell)

Reluctantly, but with the future of his family and descendants in mind, Tull comes out of retirement, driven by renewed optimism and committed to begin work on his next great inventions as the unstoppable, runaway train of human growth continues.

Requiem and Fugue (feat. John O’Hara, Ryan O’Donnell, Unnur Birna Björnsdóttir, Richard)

Tull dies at Prosperous Farm in 2041 and is buried at nearby St Bartholomew’s Church, Lower Basildon, where the inaugural performance of his earlier amateur musical work for Requiem for Organ and Soloists had taken place a few years before.

[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section]