Welsh National Opera Announces 2020/2021 Season

31 January 2020

Welsh National Opera has announced its programme for the 2020/2021 Season, along with plans to mark its 75th year in 2021.

Autumn 2020 will open with our 2008 production of Janáček’s Jenůfa in a continuation of the Company’s Janáček series. Jenůfa will be conducted by WNO’s Music Director Tomáš Hanus and the cast includes American lyric soprano Amanda Majeski who will make her role debut as Jenůfa.

Also in the Autumn Season is a new opera, Migrations. A real story of our time, Migrations explores different elements of migration including the human impact of one of the most difficult decisions many have been forced to make: to leave their homes and communities in search of a safer, better life. But it’s also a story of the boldness and resilience of the human spirit in different circumstances and by contrast the story and journeys of migration in nature made by birds. 

Five writers - Shreya Sen Handley, Edson Burton and Miles Chambers, Eric Ngalle Charles and Sarah Woods – have worked with Sir David Pountney to create the libretto of six stories, influenced by their own personal experiences of migration and working with refugees.

With music by British composer Will Todd, Matthew Kofi Waldren will conduct and the opera will be directed by Sir David Pountney who will be supported by a team of associate directors. The cast of 100 performers will include Lester Lynch, Marion Newman, Simon Bailey, Tom Randle, Musa Ngqungwana and Meeta Raval, along with a gospel choir, Bollywood dancers and a children’s chorus.

The Autumn Season also includes the continuation of the tour of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville from the Summer featuring one of opera’s most colourful characters, the inimitable Figaro. Former WNO Associate Conductor Kerem Hasan returns to conduct.

Spring and Summer 2021 – WNO@75

The Spring Season marks the launch of WNO’s  75th year with a new production to WNO of Gounod’s Faust, one of the first operas performed by WNO in April 1946. Olivia Fuchs directs, with Alexander Joel returning to WNO to conduct and joining the cast is Marinsky Theatre artist Natalya Pavlova who will make her UK operatic debut in the role of Marguerite.

Welsh soprano Rebecca Evans returns to reprise her role as The Marschallin in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier in the Spring, a role which she first sang with WNO in 2017. She will be reunited with Lucia Cervoni as Octavian and joined this time by Soraya Mafi and Julie Martin du Thiel as Sophie. Tomáš Hanus conducts this production which triumphantly marked the start of his tenure as WNO Music Director in 2017.

Completing the Spring Season is Verdi’s Il trovatore which sees the return of WNO favourites Mary Elizabeth Williams, David Kempster and Linda RichardsonPietro Rizzo conducts.

The Summer Season will see a continuation of WNO’s commitment to take new and relevant work to more people in more places. Caroline Clegg (director) and Emma Jenkins (librettist) join forces once more at WNO following their collaboration on Rhondda Rips It Up! in 2018 with a new piece that highlights the vocal talents of the male members of the WNO Chorus. Set in the 1950s, Blaze of Glory! follows the fortunes of a group of miners in a small mining village who embark upon a musical odyssey by forming a male voice choir as a means of uniting the community after a mining disaster. Composed by David Hackbridge Johnson, the score features close harmony singing traditionally associated with male voice choirs, as well as big band, jive, lindy hop and African gospel music.  

Tickets for Autumn 2020 and Spring 2021 go on general sale on Friday 28 February, however WNO Friends can book from Friday 14 February. Further details of Blaze of Glory! will be announced in the coming months.