Theatre in Wales

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Welsh National Opera 2004/2005 Season     

In the Autumn of 2004 Welsh National Opera will say goodbye to the New Theatre in Cardiff, where it has performed for almost exactly 50 years, in anticipation of its move to the new Wales Millennium Centre. The Company will then tour throughout Wales, England and Northern Ireland, as well as taking part in the celebrations of the opening weekend of the Wales Millennium Centre at the end of November.

Anthony Freud, General Director of WNO comments: “The 2004/5 season will certainly give WNO the opportunity to celebrate a triumphant past and then to herald a spectacular future. As a company, we have waited almost sixty years for our first real home and are eagerly anticipating our chance to show off this wonderful new building to our audience and to the world. But we will also be sharing a touch of nostalgia with our supporters and friends of many years in Cardiff as we say goodbye to the New Theatre, almost fifty years to the day from our first performance there.”

Autumn Season 2004

<sum> Ariadne auf Naxos – new production
<sum> Iphigénie en Tauride
<sum> Turandot
<sum> Chorus! – an invitation to new audiences

The season begins with a new production of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos conducted by WNO’s former Musical Director, Carlo Rizzi, who has in recent months conducted acclaimed productions of Turandot at La Scala, Milan and Nabucco at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. It will be directed by Neil Armfield and designed by Dale Ferguson. Neil Armfield has a particularly strong relationship with WNO with his productions of Billy Budd and The Marriage of Figaro receiving acclaim from critics and audiences alike

Ariadne will be sung by soprano Janice Watson in her role debut. Janice has sung many times at WNO, most recently as Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes and the Governess in The Turn of the Screw. The role of The Composer is sung by Alice Coote, returning to WNO for the first time since the award winning The Coronation of Poppea in 1997.

Bacchus will be sung by Peter Hoare who has most recently performed The Witch in Hansel and Gretel in Spring 2004, with Zerbinatta being sung by Katarzyna Dodalska who was the Polish representative at the Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 2001. Richard van Allan will perform the role of the Major Domo.

The artistic team is completed by Tim Mitchell, lighting designer and Denni Sayer choreographer. Sung in German, the production is supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust.

Distinguished mezzo-soprano Ann Murray will return to WNO for the first time since she made her company debut in 2001 as Beatrice. She will be singing the title role in Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser’s production of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride for the first time. Her eminent career has included close relationships with the English National Opera for operas such as Handel’s Xerxes and Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, the Royal Opera House, the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich and the Salzburg festival. She was appointed an honorary DBE in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Birthday Honours in 2002.

American baritone Andrew Schroeder makes his WNO debut as Oreste. Two regular guest artists will return to WNO – English tenor Paul Nilon, who has appeared in a number of WNO productions including The Coronation of Poppea and Rakes Progress, will sing Pylade and Welsh baritone David Kempster will sing Thoas, having been a regular guest principal over previous years in productions including The Elixir of Love, La Bohème in 2003 and Hansel and Gretel in the spring of 2004. WNO Associate Artist, Camilla Roberts will sing Diana.

Iphigénie en Tauride will be conducted by Michael Hofstetter and the revival director is Jean-Michel Criqui, with set designer Christian Rätz, costume designer Etienne Couléon and original lighting by Hervé Audibert.

Iphigénie en Tauride is a co-production with Opera Zuid and is sung in French.

The third opera on offer is a revival of Christopher Alden’s 1994 production of Turandot by Puccini. The role of Calaf will be shared by Mexican tenor, Rafael Rojos who has been singing the role of Don Jose in the WNO summer production of Carmen and WNO audience’s favourite, Dennis O’Neil who will be taking over the performances in November. Russian bass, Ilya Bannik will sing Timur.
Turandot will be conducted by Puccini specialist, WNO’s Head of Music Julian Smith who has most recently celebrated Madam Butterfly’s centenary with acclaimed performances in Spring 2004. Revival director will be WNO’s Caroline Chaney and set and costume designs are by Paul Steinberg with lighting design by Heather Carson.

As a company committed to developing new audiences for opera, WNO MAX has specially devised an exciting evening of favourite opera choruses, Chorus!, featuring the world-class Chorus and Orchestra of WNO which will be performed in each theatre through the Autumn. David Poutney, Intendant at the Bregenz festival and former Director of Productions at English National Opera, will direct Chorus! Working closely with WNO’s chorus master Donald Nally. Chorus! will be presented in collaboration with Classic FM.

WNO’s Autumn season opens at the New Theatre Cardiff on Saturday September 11th 2004 with performances in Swansea, Belfast, Oxford, Southampton, Llandudno, Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol. The Llandudno season will again be sponsored by ScottishPower following the success of WNO’s ScottishPower North Wales season in 2003 which included a range of outreach and community work as well as the main stage opera productions at the North Wales Theatre.

Cardiff, New Theatre North Wales Theatre, Llandudno
Box Office (029) 20878889 Box Office (01492) 872000
Sat 11 Sep Ariadne auf Naxos Tue 9 Nov Turandot
Fri 17 Sep Ariadne auf Naxos Wed 10 Nov Chorus!
Mon 20 Sep Turandot Thurs 11 Nov Ariadne auf Naxos
Fri 24 Sep Turandot Fri 12 Nov Turandot
Sat 25 Sep Ariadne auf Naxos Sat 13 Nov Iphigénie en Tauride
Thu 30 Sep Iphigénie en Tauride
Fri 1 Oct Turandot
Sat 2 Oct Iphigénie en Tauride
Sat 9 Oct Chorus!

New Theatre  
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Tuesday, June 29, 2004back

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