WNO Orchestra has established itself as one of the finest orchestras in the UK, highly praised for its distinction in wide ranging operatic repertoire, as well as for its extremely varied concert work and recordings. This summer their talents can be enjoyed in a busy summer of concerts and festival appearances.
In addition to performances of Die Fledermaus, Der Rosenkavalier and Madam Butterfly in Cardiff and Birmingham during June and July and two performances of The Merchant of Venice at The Royal Opera House in London 19 & 20 July, the Orchestra will take to the road across Wales and further afield.
The Orchestra – conducted by WNO Music Director Tomáš Hanus – will take centre stage for two of the heats of the famous music competition Cardiff Singer of The World at St David’s Hall, Cardiff from 11-18 June where singers from around the world compete for the illustrious title. The competition rounds will be shared with BBC National Orchestra of Wales who will accompany the finalists in the rounds on alternative nights with the winner announced on 18 June.
Moving northwards, on 22 June Tête à Tête Music Director Timothy Burke will conduct WNO Orchestra in a special programme of Summer Classics at5 Pontio Arts Centre in Bangor in an evening which will feature operatic highlights of music by Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti, Tchaikovsky and Lehar. Soprano Rebecca Evans and tenor Paul Charles Clarke will join the Orchestra to perform arias and classics including excerpts from Tosca, La Traviata, Eugene Onegin and The Merry Widow amongst others alongside sparkling overtures from Verdi’s La forza del destino and Rossini’s William Tell.
Rebecca Evans said “I am really looking forward to performing at Pontio for the first time. It is always a joy to be singing in North Wales as it’s like a second home to me and I also get chance to catch up with friends.”
Alongside the concert WNO will be working with schools in the Bangor area on the theme of ‘A Night at the Opera’. Workshops in two local primary schools will draw on the musical elements from the summer season working with the aid of a drama facilitator, composer and animator towards a screening of the pupils’ own opera film on the morning of the concert in Pontio’s Cinema. In addition eight primary schools will take part in workshops with pianist Annette Bryn Parri and vocal animateurs working towards a live showcase on the afternoon of 22 June with WNO Orchestra in Theatr Bryn Terfel at Pontio, which will include a performance of Gweddi Hwyro (Evening Prayer).
The Orchestra will soon be on the road again on 4 July performing at Llangollen International Eisteddfod with a concert performance of Puccini’s much loved dramatic opera Tosca conducted by Gareth Jones. Directed by Amy Lane, bass-baritone Bryn Terfel returns to the Llangollen stage alongside some of the world’s leading singers in this concert performance.
Continuing with the International Eisteddfod events the Orchestra will take the stage on July 5 at 7.30pm with Welsh soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and The Llangollen Celebration Chorus conducted by Grammy Award winning composer and conductor Christopher Tin in a concert Calling All Nations. Presented by Classic FM’s Andrew Collins, this international choral and orchestral spectacular focuses on the message of unity: that regardless of race, culture and religious belief, people are all connected through our common human experience. The concert will include a special performance of Calling All Dawns conducted by its composer Christopher Tin.
Back in Cardiff, WNO Orchestra will open the celebratory Welsh Proms series of concerts at St David’s Hall on 22 July at 7.30pm conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes in a ‘Classical Extravaganza’ with dramatic and thrilling music by some of the greatest composers in the world from Verdi’s Grand March from Aida culminating in Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
The Fishguard International Music Festival will get underway from 24 July until 1 August with beautiful Pembrokeshire locations as the backdrop to the exciting progamme of festival events. On 26 July at 7.30pm, Festival Artistic Director Peter Donohoe will join WNO Orchestra as the soloist for possibly the greatest of all Russian piano concertos – Tchaikovsky’s First combined with the haunting intimacy of Sibelius in The Swan of Tuonela followed by the sweeping grandeur of his Second Symphony. Conducted by Tuomas Hannikainen, audiences can expect an emotionally charged evening within the majestic setting of St Davids Cathedral. A second festival performance takes place on 28 July at 5pm at the beautiful Oak Hall at the Rhosygilwen Estate near Cilgerran. WNO Orchestra Leader David Adams directs the Orchestra for a performance of Bach’s complete Brandenburg Concertos, among the most joyous and spontaneous works that Bach ever produced with power to captivate audiences for 250 years.
For further information on Welsh National Opera visit wno.org.uk