2020: A Year in Review

2 February 2021

Twenty-twenty will forever be known as the year the world stood still, when all great plans were laid to rest. Theatres closed their doors, schools and universities moved online, we stayed away from friends and families and we lived in quarantine. However, among the darkness that engulfed us, Welsh National Opera worked tirelessly to provide small beacons of light and hope through a varied programme of digital initiatives, keeping our music alive.

Our Meet WNO Instagram Takeovers showcased the people that the heart of the Company, from members of the Chorus and Orchestra, administrative staff and wardrobe to our three new Associate Artists - Isabelle Peters, Adam Gilbert and Aaron O'Hare.

We may not have achieved our original goals in 2020, but we did succeed in keeping the music alive. We brought every branch of WNO Youth Opera together for the first time ever, albeit virtually. We also united 60 members of WNO Community Chorus with Bristol's Renewal Choir and Hollywood star Luke Evans joined our Pride Cymru celebrations. Explore and enjoy our catalogue of digital performances.

When the opportunity arose, we filmed (following social distancing restrictions) an intensely captivating digital version of Poulenc's La voix humaine, a piece which mirrors some of the feelings that many of us experienced during the year. Featuring Claire Booth, the film is available to watch for free until 26 April 2021. Our 5 star production of Frank Martin's Le Vin herbe also returned to OperaVision for six months, providing another opportunity to enjoy Polly Graham's stripped back interpretation.

We delved further into the world of opera with a new podcast. With a range of guests from internationally-renowned musicians to leading figures in arts, culture and beyond, The O Word (English language) and Cipolwg (Welsh language) tries to answer some of opera's burning questions. All episodes can be enjoyed for free.

In a bid to support children, parents and teachers while learning from home, we created Play Opera, an interactive family show which introduces children to the magical world of opera - learning about the stories, music and composers, meeting some of our talented musicians along the way. We also created free activity sheets and a series of warm up videos for the young performers and artists in your homes.

We took it upon ourselves to not just educate but to be educated. The pandemic exposed the inequalities and injustices in our society more starkly than ever before. We brought artists and ideas together to celebrate the role of art to re-imagine a future of lasting social change. Explore Creating Change and join us on our journey to make a difference.

Covid may have silenced our stages but we were still able to make some noise, filling your homes with music. However, we look forward to welcoming you all back to our various venues when it's safe to do so, from Cardiff to Birmingham, Llandudno to Southampton and Plymouth - here's hoping we'll all be reunited soon.