Author: Mike Smith

Unlike Butterfly, no yellow face concerns for WNO at Expo Dubai 2020

15th October 2021

A troupe of mainly British singers are off to the desert sunshine for Welsh National Opera’s collaboration with the United Arab Emirates on Al Wasl Opera, part of Expo 2020 Dubai. While in the UK and other countries producing theatres continue to be careful about ethnic casting, there are no such concerns with this production. The […]

Read More

Nicholas Lester, from Adelaide to Barber via Amazon

30th September 2021

MS: You have had, and continue to have, a strong association with Wales. How did they come about and develop? NL: My first singing teacher as an adult was a Welsh baritone Jason Shute (originally from Swansea) who had emigrated to Australia with his wife. I met him through my involvement in the annual Adelaide […]

Read More

Rosina takes control – on every level

30th September 2021

The auditorium might have been extremely lightly populated but those who had come along to see the show, masked or unmasked such is the confusing state of affairs in Wales, enjoyed a rare treat – an enjoyable production from Welsh National Opera without any psychobabble or a la mode gobbledegook. It was heartening to hear […]

Read More

An airbrushed show that has Madam Butterfly as a human commodity for whoever has the money to pay

25th September 2021

Welsh National Opera at Wales Millennium Centre It must be deeply annoying for a director when the opera gets in the way of a concept. Drat – the libretto. You can fiddle with settings, play around with costumes, even tweak the translation but there are some things that you cannot escape. Well, you would have […]

Read More

The Academy of Ancient Music wins Gramophone choral award

22nd September 2021

The Choral award is given for AAM’s world premiere recording of Jan Ladislav Dussek’s Messe Solemnelle, which was released in October 2020 to critical acclaim. The recording featured an exceptional cast of soloists alongside the Choir and Orchestra of AAM and Richard Egarr. Gramophone wrote: “Dussek himself could scarcely have hoped for a performance as fine as this one … It’s a fascinating work and an important project, impressively […]

Read More

How should we ensure companies actually perform?

6th September 2021

In 1959 the House of Commons endorsed the principle of public subsidy and the independence of the arts. This largely began state subsidy of the arts. By 1962 the Royal Opera was told its subsidy would be pegged at 87.5 per cent of the previous year’s income. The more shows they put on the more […]

Read More

Jonathan Lyness and Richard Studer on Mid Wales Opera’s Parisian love affair

2nd September 2021

Music Director Jonathan Lyness talks about creating a new score for four instruments to perform Puccini’s Il tabarro, and Artistic Director Richard Studer reflects on the production’s genesis and development during lockdown life, as they bring Mid Wales Opera’s latest tour to audiences. “Puccini seems to have felt a special affinity with Paris, so much […]

Read More

Iford Arts New Generation Artists I Pagliacci

31st August 2021

This Iford Arts New Generation Artists performance of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at Belcombe Court demonstrated there is no shortage of developing talent and the vital role of performance experience. The audience was treated to individual performances that should soon happily grace some of our professional state funded opera companies. Clearly, carefully rehearsed by production director Christopher […]

Read More

mezzoCav and I Pagliacci, Iford Arts

31st August 2021

This delicious performance of the stripped back to its emotional basics I Pagliacci had an increased poignancy, being the last show of Iford Arts short summer festival. The story is of the troupe of travelling players about to make their own performance before packing up and heading back on the road, with all the challenges […]

Read More

Longborough’s Die Walkure available on demand

26th August 2021

Longborough Festival Opera is streaming its 2021 concert performance of Die Walkure. Watch here(Available on demand until Friday 25 February 2022) This concert production of Die Walküre was filmed live at Longborough Festival Opera on 8 June as part of the festival’s new Ring cycle. Wotan is sung by Cardiff singer Paul Carey Jones. The cycle began in June 2019, […]

Read More