According to Preben Antonsen, A Basil Tale is a Pocket Opera. The three movements tell a distinct story, but use texts not originally connected to create the narrative: a girl suffers loss, goes mad, and dies. Over the course of the piece, the soprano plays different characters, each of whom tell a portion of the story. Perhaps she is Isabella, or a narrator from John Keats’ The Pot of Basil? Maybe she is Gertrude, relaying news of Ophelia's death from Shakespeare's Hamlet? Regardless of who she portrays, or from what century the text derives, the story comes together in the only way this story ever can.