Opera Favourites, Welsh National Opera


While Welsh National Opera’s spring concert imaginatively called Opera Favourites did what it said on the tin, it was also partly a musical preview of some scheduled shows.

There was, for example, a fair chunk of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, February 2025, and a rousing chorus and orchestral section from Britten’s Peter Grimes, April 2025, and sooner on the horizon Verdi’s Rigoletto, September 2024.

On one hand the evening was like a taster menu, trying out lots of nice little morsels wirhout getting full on any individual dish – although similarly you can go hoem from such a culinary event hungry. Maybe a wedding meal tasting session would be more appropriate, seeing that so much was from upcoming operas, to decide what to go for as a full meal.

Conducted by Frederick Brown before the interval and Edmund Whitehead for the second half, the orchestra and chorus were in glowing form, the latter including many faces that we have enjoyed seeing and hearing for several decades. Chorus members Philip Lloyd-Evans Fiona Harrison-Wolfe, Alun Rhys-Jenkins, Helen Jarmany, Huw Llywelyn and Alastair Moore, in this operatic pot purri while the main roles were taken by members of the company’s Associate Artists scheme Emily Christina Loftus and Melissa Gregory, along with James Cleverton and Adam Gilbert.

While this was not semi-staged or in costume, the soloists and chorus members brought plenty of dramatic interpretation to the scenes, whether a feisty Habanera from Bizet’s Carmen or tense Une vela! From Verdi’s Otello and Duca! Duca ! from Rigoletto.

There was also plenty of musical choice for the orchestra to shine.

Although mostly bums of seats opera or concert repertoire, including Nussun Dorma from Puccini’s Turandot and O mio babbino caro from Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, more Rigoletto in the form of La donna e mobile and the Flower Song from Delibes Lakme, this was all performed with elan and delighted the Wales Millennium Center audience. Hopefully this was not exclusively preaching to the converted and will convert to full scale opera ticket sales, and not only for the more popular repertoire that was featured.

In September this populist (nothing wrong with that) approach is continuing with an Opera Favourites at the Movies.

Is this really the role of a well-funded national opera comapny that once presented three full scale operas in this spring season? Not my decision.

Touring to Llandudno, Southampton, Bristol, Plymouth


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: