Music in Cardiff, Student life, Wales Millennium Centre

Madness descends upon Welsh National Opera for its autumn season

WNO insider and recent BMus graduate Patrick Reardon-Morgan talks about their upcoming season and why you’d be mad to miss it

PrintIn 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.

WNO-WMC Sweeney Todd

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.

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