Welsh National Opera has announced its 2023/2024 Season which includes four new productions, three of which WNO will be performing for the very first time. These productions are all coming to Theatre Royal Plymouth.
Autumn 2023: Ainadamar (31 October 2023) and La traviata (02 – 04 November 2023)
The Autumn Season opens with the Welsh premiere of Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar, a co-production with Opera Ventures, Detroit Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, and Scottish Opera who delivered the UK stage premiere in Autumn 2022 to wide critical acclaim. Sung in Spanish, the twice-Grammy winning work, in which flamenco meets opera, reimagines the life of Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca through a flashback of memories by his muse, the actress Margarita Xirgu.
In the director’s chair is the internationally renowned and Olivier-winning choreographer Deborah Colker (Rio 2016 Olympics, Cirque du Soleil) whose approach promises a unique and colourful spectacle of music, dance, and theatre.
Matthew Kofi Waldren returns to WNO to conduct Ainadamar, following a triumphant run of Migrations with the Company in Autumn 2022. The cast includes Argentinian soprano Jaquelina Livieri as Margarita Xirgu and Julieth Lozano (Nuria), as well as Alfredo Tejada (Ruiz Alonso).
The Autumn Season will be completed with performances of Sir David McVicar’s acclaimed production of Verdi’s much-loved opera La traviata. Based on Alexandre Dumas fils’ novel, La Dame aux Camélias, the story is a classic tale of thwarted love, scandal and self-sacrifice.
Conducted by Alexander Joel, and directed by Sarah Crisp, the production will feature soprano Olga Pudova as the elegant courtesan Violetta Valéry who faces the choice of giving up her glamorous lifestyle for true love with the penniless aristocratic poet Alfredo Germont (David Junghoon Kim). Also joining the cast is Mark S Doss who will sing Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father.
The performances will all open in Cardiff before touring to Llandudno, Bristol, Plymouth, Birmingham, Milton Keynes and Southampton.
As part of the Cardiff Classical Series, WNO Orchestra will perform a concert at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on 29 October under the baton of WNO Music Director Tomáš Hanus. The programme will feature Brahms’s sublime First Symphony, alongside Tchaikovsky’s overture-fantasy Romeo and Juliet, and Richard Strauss’s masterful Four Last Songs, sung by soprano Chen Reiss.
Tomáš Hanus said:
‘The orchestral concerts we deliver at St David’s Hall as part of the Cardiff Classical Series are an important part of our work, and an opportunity for us to provide people with moments of joy through the power of live music. I am very proud to work so closely with WNO Orchestra who are recognised internationally for their excellence both operatically and for concerts, as demonstrated by the honour of them being selected to play the opening concert of the 2023 Prague Spring International Music Festival.’
WNO will continue with its successful concert for families, Play Opera LIVE, in the Autumn, with a space-themed show presented by Tom Redmond. The concert will provide a fresh take on opera and classical music, including orchestral playing, song and performance. Opening in Cardiff, Play Opera then tours to Llandudno, Bristol, Plymouth, Birmingham and Southampton along with the main tour. This will be the first time for Play Opera to visit Bristol.
Spring 2024: Death in Venice (01 May 2024) and Così fan tutte (02 – 04 May 2024)
Ahead of the Spring Season of operas, WNO Orchestra will embark on a new year concert tour in January 2024 throughout Wales and the Southwest of England.
Two new productions are in store for WNO in Spring 2024, beginning with Mozart’s Così fan tutte under the baton of WNO Music Director Tomáš Hanus. Max Hoehn will direct this new production of the coming-of-age tale which will take audiences back to school where four sixth formers discover the highs and lows of falling in love.
Soprano Sophie Bevan returns to WNO to sing the role of Fiordiligi, joined by Kayleigh Decker (Dorabella), Egor Zhuravskii (Ferrando) and James Atkinson (Guglielmo) in their role debuts in this new production completing the foursome of young lovers. Also joining the cast are Welsh soprano Rebecca Evans as Despina, and Fabio Capitanucci as Don Alfonso.
A new production of Britten’s Death in Venice will complete the Spring 2024 Season of operas, which will be the first time WNO has staged this opera. Based on the novella of the same name by Thomas Mann, the story follows writer Gustav von Aschenbach as he journeys to Venice to liberate his writer’s block where he becomes infatuated with the youthful and beautiful Tadzio.
Olivia Fuchs returns to WNO to direct this new production which will see the early 20th-century acting as a mirror to our times, with images of ravishing beauty as well as the exploration of the grotesque hidden beneath the search for the sublime.
Conductor Leo Hussain will make his debut with the Company to conduct this new production. Tenor Mark Le Brocq will make his role debut as Aschenbach, with eminent baritone Roderick Williams as the Traveller / Old Man guiding him towards his fate. The countertenor role of the Voice of Apollo will be sung by Alexander Chance.
The Spring operas will open in Cardiff before touring to Llandudno, Southampton, Oxford, Bristol and Plymouth.
In addition to the operas on tour, WNO Orchestra will perform an Opera Favourites concert in Cardiff, Llandudno, Southampton, Bristol and Plymouth, offering audiences the chance to hear some of the best-known pieces in the operatic world. The concert will feature well know arias, choral and orchestral numbers including music by Mozart, Verdi, Britten and Puccini amongst others.
During the Spring Season, WNO will also take admission-free schools’ concerts to Cardiff, Llandudno, Southampton and Plymouth alongside the main tour. These fun concerts are an opportunity to introduce children and young people to opera and classical music, featuring short pieces of music from the worlds of opera, TV and film that are familiar, while also including repertoire which they may not have heard before. Accompanied by WNO Orchestra, these concerts allow students to interact with the music through a mass sing along as well as enjoy the experience of hearing the full force of an orchestra perform live.
WNO Orchestra & Chorus under Tomáš Hanus will perform a second concert at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on 21 April 2024 as part of the Cardiff Classical Series. The programme will feature Mozart’s timeless choral masterpiece, Requiem, preceded by a first half, featuring Schumann’s (final) Fourth Symphony, written in 1841 and revised a decade later, and Fauré’s youthful Cantique de Jean Racine.