Theatre in Wales

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WNO Autumn Season 2005     

The WNO celebrates the opening of its 60th Birthday season with two outstanding new productions – Don Carlos and The Merry Widow – and a well-loved revival – The Barber of Seville.

WNO MAX will present a major new community choral event and will celebrate Cardiff’s centenary with a major song cycle by 250 primary school children, as well as premiering the second in a trilogy of family chamber operas.

The highlight of Cardiff’s musical Christmas will be WNO’s performance of Handel’s Messiah at St David’s Hall

Don Carlos

17 & 24 September

A huge, epic work – which WNO has been planning for ten years. In Verdi’s dramatic saga involving three generations of Spanish royalty, the love of a beautiful woman causes the ultimate test of loyalty and a battle between Church and State.

The season opens on Saturday 17 September with a major new production of one of Verdi’s grandest masterpieces, Don Carlos. WNO’s Music Director, Carlo Rizzi, will conduct a five-act version in French, restoring some rarely performed music to Verdi’s 1886 revision. Carlo Rizzi will be reunited with Australian director Neil Armfield. As well as directing the WNO Rizzi and Armfield are well known and highly respected figures in the great opera houses throughout the world. Neil Armfield’s previous productions for WNO include: - the delightful Ariadne auf Naxos in Autumn 2004,Bily Budd and The Marriage of Figaro.

The role of Don Carlos will be sung by Liverpool born tenor Paul Charles Clarke, now a regular soloist with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. His real-life wife, highly acclaimed for her performance as Cio Cio San in WNO 2002 Madame Butterfly , Nuccia Focile sings the role of Elisabeth de Valois. Greek soprano, Sofia Mitropoulos, will sing the role of Elisabeth from 11 October to 5 November.

Don Carlos is supported by WNO friends, a generous gift from Dr David Speller and the WNO Don Carlos Syndicate.

The Merry Widow

30 September 2 6 8 October

A story of romance, passion, high society and amorous intrigue, The Merry Widow is set in the heady champagne days of decadent, nineteenth century Paris. Be among the first to experience Welsh National Opera’s brand new production with Lesley Garrett in the title role in the Merry Widow’s centenary year

The second new production this season will be a vibrant traditional version of Lehar’s well loved opera, conducted by Michael Klauza. Sung in English it will be directed by Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser whose previous work for the WNO include Carmen, Fidelio, Leonore and most recently La Traviata in 2004/5

Having started her career with WNO Lesley Garrett went on to become a principal artist at English National Opera; she has recently become a household name by taking part in the first of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing series. She has said that her decision to take part was partly to ensure that her dancing skills were well honed for her performance in Merry Widow.

The Barber of Seville


7 October

The Barber of Seville is one of the most popular opera’s by the prolific Italian composer, Rossini. The perfect comic opera, this production is one of WNO’s all-time favourites.

The third operatic offering this season will be a revival of Giles Havergal’s 1986 production.

Count Almaviva will be sung by South African Tenor, Colin Lee, a role he has sung for English National Opera and Garsington Opera. Rosina will be sung by Irish mezzo-soprano Imelda Drumm who has previously sung Carmen, Dorabella and Hansel with WNO. American baritone, Andrew Schroeder returns as Figaro, following his debut season in Autumn 2004 as Oreste in Iphigénie en Tauride.

Sung in English, the production was designed by Russell Craig and is a co-production with Opera North and Vancouver Opera.

WNO’s Autumn 2005 season opens on Saturday 17 September at Wales Millennium centre, Cardiff with performances in Edinburgh, Llandudno, Oxford, Birmingham, Bristol, Swansea, Southampton and Liverpool.

The Most Beautiful Man from the Sea

27 August 2.30 pm. and 7.30pm.

WNO presents its first large-scale community project on the stage of Wales Millennium Centre, celebrating the Welsh choral tradition, out of which the WNO was born. Around 500 singers of all ages, recruited from the port towns of South Wales will perform this magical and mysterious tale of hope, change and the power of the human spirit, alongside members of the WNO Chorus and the WNO Orchestra
web site
Michael Kelligan
Monday, August 01, 2005back



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