Theatre in Wales

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Feisty females and foolish fathers: Welsh National Opera’s Autumn 2019 Season     

Feisty females and foolish fathers: Welsh National Opera’s Autumn 2019 Season • New production of Carmen directed by Jo Davies and conducted by Tomáš Hanus to open Season
• The Cunning Little Vixen to mark the start of a Janáček series for the Company
• Augmented Reality (AR) experience which will ‘follow the vixen’ of The Cunning Little Vixen story

Welsh National Opera has announced details of its Autumn 2019 Season which will open with a new production of Bizet’s Carmen.
Directed by Jo Davies, who returns to WNO following Kiss Me, Kate in 2016, this new production of Carmen is set in 1970s Central America, which will serve to show the hardships that Carmen and her community wrestle with. The opera will provide a new perspective on the character of Carmen, her survival instinct, and the economic and socio-political forces that drive her to use her looks and sexuality to further her cause.
Full of fiery Latin spirit and some of the best-loved music in opera, this new production will be conducted by WNO Music Director Tomáš Hanus.
French mezzo soprano Virginie Verrez makes her WNO debut taking on the lead role of Carmen, with Dimitri Pittas as Don José, Phillip Rhodes as Escamillo and Anita Watson as Micaela. WNO Associate Artist Harriet Eyley will take the role of Frasquita.
Harry Ogg, WNO’s new Associate Conductor in collaboration with the Donatella Flick-LSO Conducting Competition, will work with Tomáš on Carmen in the Autumn, and then return to conduct the further performances of Carmen during the Spring 2020 season.
Tomáš Hanus and Jo Davies will open the Autumn Season with a free Opera Insight talk at Wales Millennium Centre on 8 September where they will share the creative process for this new production of Carmen.
Also in the Autumn Season, WNO will present David Pountney’s production of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen which will be the start of a series celebrating the composer’s work over four years. The series will include Jenůfa in Autumn 2020 and will culminate with a new production of his penultimate opera, The Makropolus Case, in 2022.
WNO Music Director Tomáš Hanus will conduct The Cunning Little Vixen. Tomáš was recently awarded the Leoš Janáček Memorial Medal for his performances of From the House of the Dead with WNO in Autumn 2017, and will bring his passion and internationally-recognised expertise in Janáček’s work to this series.
The Cunning Little Vixen sees a return to WNO for Aoife Miskelly who will take the role of Vixen. Also returning to WNO are Lucia Cervoni (Fox), David Stout (Poacher), Claudio Otelli (Forester), Wojtek Gierlach (Parson) and Peter Van Hulle (Schoolmaster).
Completing the mainscale programme for the Autumn Season is Verdi’s Rigoletto, which the composer himself described as his best opera and features well-loved music, including the famous aria La donna è mobile. Alexander Joel conducts this production by James McDonald, which sets the action in the White House during the era of John F Kennedy.
Mark S Doss returns to WNO following his recent portrayal of Scarpia in Tosca to take the role of Rigoletto. Young Korean tenor David Junghoon Kim will take the role of The Duke, with soprano Marina Monzó as his love interest and Rigoletto’s daughter, Gilda, for the Cardiff performances.
WNO Music Director Tomáš Hanus says: “I am very excited about WNO’s forthcoming season. I am particularly looking forward to sharing the music of Janáček with audiences across Wales and England in David Pountney’s fun-filled production of The Cunning Little Vixen, the first of WNO’s Janáček series. Additionally I am delighted to be working with Jo Davies on our new production of the operatic staple Carmen.”
Continuing to push the boundaries of technology and art, WNO will launch a new interactive Augmented Reality (AR) experience, A Vixen’s Tale, during the Autumn Season. Taking its inspiration from The Cunning Little Vixen, the experience will be a large-scale sensory tunnel book incorporating five arches which will follow the vixen through the story using illustration, music excerpts and AR technology. The free, multi-sensory experience will be accessible to all, and provide a delightful new perspective on this tale.
AR specialists Arcade are developing A Vixen’s Tale with WNO, alongside illustrator Xavier Segers, and will incorporate a gaming element to the experience. Work on building the experience is being undertaken by Cardiff Theatrical Services (CTS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of WNO.
This immersive digital project follows on from the success of WNO’s recent work which has included Freedom 360, Rhondda Rebel, Magic Butterfly and WNO Field, and cements WNO’s position as pioneering award-winning digital work in an arts setting.
A Vixen’s Tale will run for four weeks at Wales Millennium Centre, and will open on Saturday 5 October when WNO will also hold an Opera Explore Day. This free family day will include demonstrations, exhibitions, performances and interactive experiences from across the whole company from props, wardrobe and make-up to short recitals from our singers and musicians. Music and singing workshops will also be available for pre-booking in advance for those who want to get more involved.
Accompanying the Season, the WNO Orchestra will perform at St David’s Hall on 27 October as part of the International Concert Series, conducted by Tomáš Hanus. The repertoire for this concert will fittingly feature two Czech pieces; Smetana’s Vltava (The Moldau), and Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, alongside Debussy’s La Mer. Tomáš and the Orchestra will be joined for this concert by cellist Daniel Müller-Schott.

WNO General Director Aidan Lang says: “While the three exciting productions of the Autumn Season form the bedrock of the Company’s work, our orchestral concerts, the new digital experience and the wide range of the work undertaken by our Youth and Community team demonstrate WNO’s real commitment to opening up the world of opera to as many people as possible, whether they are experienced opera-goers or those who are coming to us for the first time.”

Autumn 2019

New Production
Carmen – Bizet

Autumn 2019 - First Night: Saturday 21 September 2019 at 7.15 pm at Wales Millennium Centre

Carmen will also be performed as part of Spring 2020 season with opening night Thursday 27 February 2020 at 7.15pm at Wales Millennium Centre

Sung in French with surtitles in English (and Welsh in Cardiff and Llandudno)

Cast includes:

Carmen Virginie Verrez
Don José Dimitri Pittas
Escamillo Phillip Rhodes
Micaëla Anita Watson
Zuniga Henry Waddington
Moralès Ross Ramgobin
Frasquita Harriet Eyley
Mercédès Angela Simkin
Dancaire Benjamin Bevan
Remendado Joe Roche

Conductor Tomáš Hanus

Director Jo Davies
Set Designer Leslie Travers
Costume Designer Gabrielle Dalton
Lighting Designer Oliver Fenwick
Movement Director Denni Sayers
Staff Director Oliver Lamford

Supported by WNO Friends

The Cunning Little Vixen – Janáček

First Night: Saturday 5 October 2019 at 7.30 pm at Wales Millennium Centre

Sung in Czech with surtitles in English (and Welsh in Cardiff and Llandudno)

Cast includes:

Forester Claudio Otelli
Vixen Aoife Miskelly
Fox Lucia Cervoni
Schoolmaster Peter Van Hulle
Parson Wojtek Gierlach
Poacher David Stout
Forester’s Wife Kezia Bienek

Conductor Tomáš Hanus

Director David Pountney
Associate Director/Choreographer Elaine Tyler-Hall
Staff Director Sarah Crisp
Designer Maria Bjørnson
Lighting Designer Nick Chelton
Original Choreographer Stuart Hopps

Co-production with Scottish Opera
Supported by WNO Partners
Supported by The Janáček Circle

Welsh National Opera  
web site
Rhys Edwards
Wednesday, July 31, 2019back



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