Theatre in Wales

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Welsh National Opera back at The Wales Millennium Centre     

Political Scandal, love affairs and a touch of magic are the order of the day when the WNO opens its second season in its new home at Wales Millennium Centre from 14-25 May.

The season begins on Saturday 14 may with a new production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. This will be WNO’s first new production of The Magic Flute in 26 years. Directed by Dominc Cooke, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Associate Director, and designed by Julian Crouch, whose work includes Jerry Springer – the Opera and Shockheaded Peter, it features Magritte-inspired sets.

The opera follows the trials of Pamina and Tamino as they meet and fall in love. We follow them, as they journey through the unknown on a voyage of self-discovery, but who is their friend and who is their foe?

Welsh soprano Rebecca Evans in Pamina, fresh from her debut in the role at the Royal Opera House, with Peter Wedd returning to WNO as Tamino, having appeared in WNO's La traviata last season. Katarzyna Dondalska is the Queen of the Night providing the work with its vocal fireworks and conducted by Jean-Yves Ossonce.

In contrast to the fantasy world of The Magic Flute, WNO's second offering, Verdi's Rigoletto, is set in the political intrigue of 1960s Oval Office. The Duke and his henchmen enjoy a life of debauchery, seducing any woman they want, encouraged by the Duke's jester - the hunchback Rigoletto. But what mayhem will occur when the Duke discovers Rigoletto's secret daughter?

Singing the title role, in the revival of James Macdonald's 2002 production, is Australian baritone Jonathan Summers who has most recently performed the role of Giorgio Germont in La traviata. Welsh tenor and WNO Associate Artist Wynne Evans is The Duke, and Russian soprano Olga Trifonova, who regularly appears at the Maffinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, sings the role of Gilda.

Wales Millennium Centre performances of The Magic Flute are at 7.15pm on 14, 20 and 24 May, with a 4pm matinee performance on Sunday 22 May, supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust. Rigoletto opens on Monday 23 May with a second performance on Wednesday 25 May.

In an exciting departure from its regular schedule WNO's third opera of the Summer Season will premier in at the Grand Theatre in Swansea on Thursday 2 June. A concert performance of Tchaike~vsky's rarely performed work lolanta, it is accompanied by orchestral highlights of Tchaikovsky's most famous work The Nutcracker, as it was in its premiere in 1890, performed by the world-class Orchestra of Welsh National Opera. This will be one of only four performances, including a BBC Prom at the Royal Albert Hall in August.

In this heartwarming piece Tchaikovsky shows the healing power of love when Princess lolanta, who having been blind all of her life, recovers her sight when she fails in love. lolanta is the second chapter of WN01k Russian Series, following the critically acclaimed production of Eugene Onegin in 2004. It offers a star-studded line-up with soprano Nuccia Focile singing the title role, following on from her Violetta in La traviata this spring and her highly-acclaimed portrayal of Madam Butterfly in 2004. V1adimir Moroz returns to WNO as Robert after his debut with the company as Eugene Onegin in 2004. Wales' representative in this year's BBC Cardiff singer of the World competition, CamNia Roberts, sings the role of Laura and Peter Hoare is Vauddmont.

Tickets for WNO performances at Wales Millennium Centre can be purchased from WMC's Ticket & Information Centre on 08700 40 2000 or online at Ticket prices for The Magic Flute and Rigoletto range from £5-35. Ticket prices for folanta at the Grand Theatre, Swansea, range from £5-£25, and can be purchased by calling 01792 475 715 or online at:

There will also be performances at the Grand Theatre Swansea of The Magic Flute, 1 and 4 June and Rigoletto on 3 June. All performances begin at 7pm.

The Magic Flute, Rigoletto and Iolanta also play at The Hippodrome Theatre, Bristol Jun 7 –11. The Hippodrome Theatre, Birmingham 21- 25 Jun. Rigoletto and The Magic Flute at The North Wales Theatre, Llandudno 5-9 July and the New Theatre Oxford 12 – 13 July

Away from the main opera stage this summer, Welsh National Opera and Rhondda Cynon Taff Council will present the world premiere of Magic Voices. A new, fully -staged opera for all the family, Magic Voices will be performed on Thursday 16 June 2005 at 1.30pm and 7pm at Parc and Dare in Treorchy.

In January 2005, 150 children from schools in Rhondda Cynon Taff worked with a team from Welsh National Opera. Through singing, writing, drama and music-making, they explored and were inspired by The Magic Flute. From these beginnings, a magical new opera was written, composed by John O'Hara, with words by Helen Griffin. Directed by Robin Tebbutt, Magic Voices will be performed by a lively cast of over 150 young singers and musicians from Rhondda Cynon Taff, with members of WNO.

Tickets for Magic Voices, price f,5.50/ £6.50 (as well as concessions and family tickets) are available by calling the Parc and Dare Theatre Box Office on 01443 773112

The Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, 4conducted by WNO's Music Director Carlo Rizzi, will again be one of the resident orchestras for the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition which runs 11 -19 June at St David's Hall. Sharing the week of performances with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Orchestra will accompany the competitors from across the world as they sing for the jury which will again be chaired by WNO's General Director, Anthony Freud.
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michael kelligan
Thursday, May 05, 2005back



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