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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

The Anatomy of melancholy

Raj Persaud in conversation with Finn Beames about his new Opera entitled The Anatomy of Melancholy - this is an opera about depression!

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A new opera drawing links between medical and physical health in an exploration of depression, genetics and renaissance medicine.


Libretto by Finn Beames | Music by Benjamin Tassie


TestBed1, Battersea 22nd to 25th October | Happy Soul Festival, Richmond 14th October


PRESS NIGHT: Wednesday 22nd October 8pm


This original opera, inspired by Robert Burton’s 1621 medical text book and performed by eight musicians, six singers and an actor, will take an intimate look at historical and modern-day experiences of depression through song, speech and mobile live-feed video screens. Through the exploration of a young man's experience of depression and his family's responses, the production compares Renaissance theory with contemporary research, using projected images of the performers’ bodies to express experiences of depression and draw attention to the links between mental and physical health and showing that there are many creative ways to engage with mental health issues.


The Anatomy of Melancholy is an epic text admired throughout literary history that attempts to give an exhaustive dissection of ‘melancholy’ in a search for knowledge of its symptoms, causes and cures. By addressing the relationship between physicality and wellbeing, bodycorps aims to encourage the audience to be more honest and open in their discussions of mental health. The show is performed in a space not conventionally associated with opera to create new possibilities for the art form and perhaps make it more accessible and relatable to broader audiences.


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.


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Each month our podcast team broadcasts the very latest breakthroughs and discoveries in neurosciences, psychiatry and psychology.


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Dr Raj Persaud






                     Dr Raj Persaud

Dr Peter Bruggen

Dr Peter Bruggen


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