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The world premiere of Under Milk Wood: an opera     

The world premiere of Under Milk Wood: an opera Based on the original play for voices by Dylan Thomas
Composed by John Metcalf
Text by Dylan Thomas
The world premiere of a new opera version of Dylan Thomas’ classic Under Milk Wood will open at the Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea, in April 2014 – the centenary year of Thomas’ birth. The opera is composed by Wales’ leading opera composer John Metcalf using Dylan Thomas’ original text.
A company of 8 singers and 5 instrumentalists will create Thomas’ world of Llareggub – the town that went mad. The production will be directed by Keith Turnbull, music directed by Wyn Davies and designed by Simon Banham.
In 1954, Dylan Thomas caused a literary storm with his play for voices, Under Milk Wood. Sixty years on, Under Milk Wood: an opera weaves together extraordinary poetic and comic language, contemporary and ancient instrumental music, recorded and live sound.
Join blind, old Captain Cat and his fellow villagers cradling their hopes and dreams in Llareggub. Anything can and will happen in this mythical village during the twenty four hours that have captured the imagination of millions worldwide.
Under Milk Wood was originally written as a radio play, and Under Milk Wood: an opera will recognise this in performance, combining shared and private listening experiences for the audience. Metcalf has also said that he intends to make the act of creating the music as important and integral to the performance as the music itself.
Combining beautiful and haunting music with the humour of Thomas’ words, Metcalf will create a feast for the ears; using instruments, voice, and live and recorded sound effects to create his soundscape.
John Metcalf is Wales’ leading operatic composer. His most recent opera, A Chair in love, opened at the Taliesin Arts Centre in October 2005. He was born in Swansea and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. His other works include A Chair in love, Kafka’s Chimp, Paths of Song, Never Odd or Even and Mapping Wales.
Keith Turnbull is one of Canada’s most experienced and acclaimed directors of contemporary opera. He was artistic director of the Manitoba Theatre Centre and Second Stage, Neptune Theatre, and founding artistic director of NDWT Co. He has previously directed for Music Theatre Wales, Vale of Glamorgan Festival, UK in NY Festival, Cultural Industries (Toronto) and Vancouver Opera. He directed the world premieres of Boiler Room Suite (Doolittle), Ubu (Toovey), Kafka’s Chimp (Metcalf) and Zurich:1916 (Butterfield).
Simon Banham was formerly Head of Design at Contact Theatre, Manchester and a frequent collaborator with Music Theatre Wales and founder member of Quarantine. Previous credits include The Persians, Coriolan/US (both National Theatre Wales), Entitled (Quarantine) and La Traviata (Den Nye Opera).
John Metcalf, composer, said: “Born, like Dylan Thomas, in Swansea and living in West Wales where UNDER MILK WOOD is set, I feel a very familiar instinctive connection with this iconic work. I believe that art, like people, belongs to the particular first, the universal second. People I speak to say that UNDER MILK WOOD does reverberate very strongly outside of Wales. Its appeal is to every member of every oddball community. This is a piece about those communities – the unheralded corners of the world.”
Supported by the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government.
Part of the Dylan Thomas 100 Festival.
Premieres at Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea (3-5 April 2014) then on tour around Wales (8-15 April).
Thu 3 - Sat 5 April 2014
Taliesin Arts Centre
Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PZ
01792 602060
Tue 8 April 2014
Aberystwyth Arts Centre
Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3DE
01970 623232
Fri 11 & Sat 12 April 2014
Sherman Cymru, Cardiff
Senghennydd Rd, Cardiff, South Glamorgan CF24 4YE
029 2064 6900
Tue 15 April 2014
Galeri, Caernarfon
Victoria Dock, Caernarfon LL55 1SQ
01286 685250
DIRECTOR Keith Turnbull
DESIGNER *Simon Banham
MD Jones (Bass/Baritone)
Richard Morris (Baritone)
Paul Carey Jones (Baritone)
Eamonn Mulhall (Tenor)
Gweneth-Ann Jeffers (Soprano)
Helen-Jane Howells (Coloratura)
Liz Donovan (Lyric)
Karina Lucas (Mezzo)
Wyn Davies(Organ/Piano)
Jose Zalba Smith (Flutes)
Paul Stoneman (Percussion)
Parmela Attariwala (Viola/Violin/Crwth)
Deian Rowlands (Concert harp/Clarsach)
web site

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