WNO insider and recent BMus graduate Patrick Reardon-Morgan talks about their upcoming season and why you’d be mad to miss it
In 2015-16 Welsh National Opera are celebrating their 70th anniversary with seven brand new productions, and it’s all kicking off this autumn with some of the finest musical expressions of madness in the repertoire.
Stephen Sondheim’s ground-breaking musical Sweeney Todd closes the season, exploring not only the madness of the protagonist but also of society as a whole. Orlando comes before this – one of Handel’s greatest operas which uses musical virtuosity as a metaphor for insanity. And opening the autumn season is a new production of Bellini’s I puritani; the composer’s final opera and widely regarded as a bel canto masterpiece.
If you haven’t been to WNO before, it should be at the top of your things to do while you’re still a student. Their productions are engaging and always artistically daring, and their world class chorus is one of the best in the UK. Free tickets to some of the dress rehearsals will be available to students in the School of Music (on the first floor landing), but if you miss out on these you can still see most WNO performances for £5.
Here are the dates you need to know:
Wed 9 Sep I Puritani Dress rehearsal 3.00pm
Fri 11 Sep I Puritani Opening night 7.00pm
Sat 19 Sep I Puritani 7.00pm
Fri 25 Sep Orlando Dress rehearsal 6.00pm
Sun 27 Sep Orlando Opening night 4.00pm
Sat 3 Oct Orlando 7.15pm
Sun 4 Oct I Puritani 4.00pm
Wed 7 Oct Orlando 7.15pm
Thu 8 Oct Sweeney Todd Opening night 7:30pm
Fri 9 Oct Sweeney Todd 7:30pm
All performances take place at the Wales Millennium Centre, which is accessible on foot (about 20 minutes from the city centre) or by train (Queen Street to Cardiff Bay, £1.60 return with a railcard). Ticket availability is limited so book as early as you can – contact Dr Clair Rowden for dress rehearsals (RowdenCS@cardiff.ac.uk) or the WMC box office for mainscale performances (029 2063 6464). For those thinking about going to their first opera: leave any preconceptions at the door. There’s no dress code, and you won’t have to bring your binoculars.
WNO run a number of schemes aimed at students and recent graduates. As well as £5 tickets for under-30s, WNO Youth Opera is open to all singers aged 16-30. WNO also run an internship scheme covering four administrative departments, which can be a great next step for recent graduates.