Welsh National Opera brings back the 1980s Giles Havergal production of Rossini’s Barber of Seville to Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff in September, marking the company’s return to the stage.
The company had performed a slapstick new co-production with Grand Théâtre de Genève in 2016 but has reverted to the near-40 year old show to mark its reopening after Covid. This revival will be paired with a “socially relevant” new production of Madam Butterfly directed by an Australian director Lindy Hume and conducted by Carlo Rizzi. Digital talks and Butterfly-themed events are also planned.
The tour has South and North Wales dates (Cardiff and Llandudno) and visits five English cities: Bristol, Oxford, Birmingham , Southampton and Birmingham.
Early next year the Company revives Mozart’s 2018 Don Giovanni (pictured above) with a Rodin-inspired set and a would-be enfant terrible Katie Mitchell production of Janáček’s Jenufa, conducted by WNO’s Music Director Tomáš Hanus. Madam Butterfly will also be performed in some tour venues during the Spring.
The Company’s work also includes WNO’s Youth Opera groups giving a performance of The Black Spider at Wales Millennium Centre’s Weston Studio in May 2022. It is from Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir and will be performed by South Wales Youth Opera members aged 10-18 years.
A delayed opera about people migrating that was planned for this summer will now happen in Cardiff in June/July 2022 and will tour in Autumn 2022. Five writers have worked with David Pountney to create the libretto of six stories, influenced by their own personal experiences of migration and from working with refugees, set to music by Will Todd. and additional music by Jasdeep Degun Singh. Directed by the former WNO chief, it includes a gospel choir, a children’s chorus and Bollywood dancers.
In July 2022 18–25-year-old members of WNO Youth Opera will take to the stage in a new production of Shostakovich’s Cheryomushki, directed by Daisy Evans and conducted by Alice Farnham. As well as singers from WNO’s Youth Opera and Youth Opera alumni, the production will include assisting roles, technical placements, and student instrumentalists, providing a unique training experience for young people interested in a professional career within opera and theatre.
The WNO Orchestra will take to the stage at Cardiff’s St David’s Hall concert platform conducted by Music Director Tomáš Hanus for performances in November this year and next May as part of the International Concert Season. Schools’ concerts in Autumn 2022 and Family Concerts have also been planned throughout the year in many of the tour venues along with a Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Gala in November 2021.
The Company also plans a range of community engagement programmes, a digital project features well-known operatic arias performed and filmed in different locations and contexts that place them in today’s world, a Long-Covid health project along with a school link-up w project based around HIV awareness. WNO’s Talent Development Programme activity which has been online during the past year is returning to live engagement.
Music Director Tomás Hanus said, “Having spent too long apart from my colleagues and friends in Cardiff, I am delighted to return to WNO this Autumn to conduct The Barber of Seville. I look forward to standing on the podium once again, supported by the talented musicians and staff that comprise Welsh National Opera.”
General Director Aidan Lang said ‘Whilst we have been able to continue to use digital platforms to continue to engage with our audiences and people in the community during the last year, something that we plan to continue, there is nothing like being able to experience live productions and continue our Programmes and Engagement activity in person. We are really looking forward to sharing the joy and experience of live opera once again.”