Cogs in the Verdi Machine

4 May 2020
Cast on stage with two men sitting on higher platforms

Les vêpres siciliennes was the final piece in Welsh National Opera’s Verdi Trilogy and although our Spring 2020 Season was cut short, it certainly was an epic production. Putting together an opera on such a huge scale is no easy task, we spoke to a few members of the production team to find out about their favourite moments in rehearsals. 

‘My favourite moment during rehearsals was staging the scenes that included the entire cast and Chorus, such as the Tarantella at the end of Act Two, or the Act Three finale – it was amazing to be so close to such a huge and impressive sound within the rehearsal room. What I found fascinating about WNO’s production of Vêpres was that David Pountney decided to turn the ballet in Act Three into a ghoulish telling of the backstory of Montfort, the central tyrant, allowing us further insight into the character and the challenging relationship with his son Henri. This decision brings a whole new dynamic to the piece and gave the audience more of an understanding of why Montfort makes the decisions he does, something which I often find lacking in the genre.’
Emma Doherty
, Staff Director

Dancer being held by Guy de Montfort with chorus standing in background

‘There were a team of dancers in Vêpres and I was lucky enough to have been involved in their rehearsals. Caroline Finn’s choreography is so interesting and dynamic, and the control that the dancers had over every movement is incredible. It’s always a delight to work with talented performers from every discipline and this whole trilogy has featured a plethora of wonderful creatives and performers.’
Suzie Erith, Deputy Stage Manager

‘It was a wonderful experience working with David Pountney on this opera as he gave me a great deal of clarity and structure. He knew what he wanted from the choreographic sections but at the same time allowed me to have a lot of freedom as to what the physicality of those pieces would be. I got to take a different approach with all three sections – Act Two featured a traditional fast-paced Italian folk dance, Act Three was a ballet that told a literal story (unusual and challenging for me) and in Act Five, I was given the freedom to explore and play with ambiguity. I feel incredibly fortunate to have worked on Vêpres where there were so many singers that were genuinely interested about ‘moving’ and interacting with the dancers on stage.’
Caroline Finn
, Choreographer (National Dance Company Wales)


Patron of the WNO Verdi Trilogy: His Excellency The Italian Ambassador

Supported by the Kobler Trust and WNO Verdi Syndicate