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15 lorries, six locations and 32 performances later and the time has come for us to let go of our Autumn 2019 Season. The Season came in three instalments: a brand new production of Bizet’s Carmen, directed by Jo Davies; Verdi’s Rigoletto and last, but not least, Janáček’sThe Cunning Little Vixen.
Described by The Article as ‘riveting and emotional’ and ‘conducted with sensitivity and panache’ by WNO Music Director Tomáš Hanus, our new production of Carmen, set in 1970s Central America, was enjoyed by all from it’s very first performance at Wales Millennium Centre on Saturday 21 September until it’s last performance of the Season at Mayflower Theatre Southampton on Friday 29 November.
If you weren’t able to join us for our re-telling of Carmen this Season, panic not, we’ll be taking it back out on the road in the Spring, with a fresh line up of artists including Julia Mintzer in the title role, and visiting even more venues, including Bristol, Liverpool and Milton Keynes. WNO’s rising talent - WNO Associate Conductor Harry Ogg and WNO Female Conductor in Residence Tianyi Lu - conduct WNO Orchestra during the Spring performances, alongside Andrew Greenwood.
Next up, we had Verdi’s Rigoletto. Subject to censorship in its day, Verdi’s opera has always had political overtones, but James Macdonald’s ‘gripping, moving and topical’ (Get The Chance) production firmly places the story during Kennedy’s Era. At the heart of the production, David Junghoon Kim (Duke); Marina Monzó and Haegee Lee (Gilda) and Mark S. Doss who made his role debut in the title role, and to great acclaim.
He [Mark S. Doss] has the ability to project even his whispers, and at full pelt can make your seat vibrate with his mighty voice.
The third and final opera in our Autumn 2019 Season was David Pountney’s charming production of The Cunning Little Vixen,or as The Stage refers to it, ‘arguably Welsh National Opera’s most beloved and enduring triumph’. Receiving 4 and 5 stars across the board, this 40 year old production continues to capture the imagination of our younger audiences. During the dress rehearsal alone, we welcomed over 750 school children, with many more attending performances in Cardiff, Plymouth, Llandudno, Birmingham, Oxford and Southampton, the last performance at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton marking the production’s 48th performance.
The Season also saw the launch of our brand new Augmented Reality experience. In collaboration with Arcade Ltd, A Vixen’s Tale, featured music from The Cunning Little Vixen. Fusing together music and theatre with innovative digital technology, the experience allowed you to physically follow our little vixen through the forest. During its instalment at Wales Millennium Centre, we welcomed over 5,000 visitors, many of which had not been exposed to opera before.
What next? In addition to further performances of Carmen, our Spring 2020 Season sees the third and final instalment of our Verdi Trilogy, Les vêpres siciliennes, a new production directed by David Pountney. Not familiar with the opera? Get better acquainted with Verdi’s lesser known masterpiece at our free Opera Insight at Wales Millennium Centre on Sunday 26 January. To finish the Season, our period-set production of The Marriage of Figaro makes a welcome return to our mainstage.