And they all lived happily ever after...?

11 April 2022
Don Giovanni, in white coat, seduces Zerlina, in wedding dress

While many of us are addicted to the new series of Married at First Sight Australia or even enthralled (or should that be appalled?) by the US’s Love is Blind, it's no surprise that married life doesn't always go to plan. Opera is no different and this Season at Welsh National Opera we have three weddings that simply don't go to plan...

In Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the wedding of Zerlina and Masetto is interrupted by notorious womaniser Don Giovanni who proceeds to flirt with Zerlina, causing, rather unsurprisingly, tensions between the engaged couple on the day of their celebrations. Masetto isn’t too impressed with his fiancée’s apparent openness to another’s advances and the audience is left with a will they/won’t they scenario – not the greatest start to a marriage and it is anyone’s guess as to whether they actually ‘lived happily ever after’.

Next up is Jenůfa, who has dreamed of marrying her childhood love and the father of her unborn child, Števa. However, unaware of the extent of her stepmother’s plotting against the union, she thinks that army conscription is all she has to worry about. As always, life contrives to intervene, in that way it does in your favourite TV soap, so that not only does Števa end up engaged to another, denying his part in the baby’s existence, but Jenůfa ends up marrying his half-brother, Laca, the one who has disfigured her. Not that her relationship with Laca runs smoothly either and before the wedding takes place, the secret of Jenůfa’s baby is discovered and her life is threatened. But ultimately, Janáček provides a ‘happy ending’ of sorts as Laca doesn’t take the opportunity to leave her, despite the furore over the baby’s death, instead staying with Jenůfa because he loves her.

Cio Cio San leaning over barrier on stage while Pinkerton pulls her back holding hand

Then, the most tragic of all the Spring Season weddings – Butterfly and her American ‘knight in shining armour’, Pinkerton. In the story that inspired Miss Saigon, Butterfly, believing that fairy tales do happen, trusts that their love is pure and that their vows are true. Having given up so many of her cultural values, the start of their new life together seems to support her naive belief and all does seem to be sunshine and roses. But then he leaves on his ship. She spends the next few years waiting for him, still believing, still hoping; but, of course, when he does return it isn’t for her – he has his ‘happily ever after’ with a new, American wife and tragedy strikes.

So, allow WNO to break your heart night after night, or just revel in the torment of one broken promise; whatever your emotions can take, our Spring Season brings a captivating opera to a stage near you.