Welsh National Opera has just launched a new podcast with two series; one in English – The O Word - and one in Welsh – Cipolwg. Both series will aim to give an insight into the inner-workings of a touring opera company and also highlight the relevance of opera today.
English-language series, The O Word is presented by journalist and opera enthusiast Gareth Jones. Gareth has worked as a broadcaster with a number of high-profile organisations ranging from the BBC to the United Nations in Geneva. His acclaimed series on Welsh soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan won several awards and in recent years he specialised in making documentaries for BBC Radio 4.
This series will include interviews with singers and key figures in the arts world and beyond, as Gareth tries to answer some of opera’s burning questions. In the first episode, Gareth interviews internationally-renowned Welsh tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones to discover what it takes - physically, mentally and spiritually - to be an opera singer.
Welsh-language series Cipolwg is presented by comedian and journalist Lorna Prichard, a lifelong opera fan who saw her first one in Rhyl aged six. Starting life as a broadcast journalist at BBC Wales, Lorna then worked as an on-screen reporter at ITV Wales for seven years. In 2018 she went freelance to balance journalism with a career in stand-up comedy. She has performed in English and Welsh at gigs and festivals across the UK including Machynlleth Comedy Festival and three runs at Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
The series will give an insight into the hard work that goes into making an opera as well as taking a look at the wider impact that an opera company has on the community. In episode one, Lorna meets with WNO Conductor Laureate Carlo Rizzi to discuss the enduring popularity of Giuseppe Verdi.
Recording of both series has been made possible during lockdown through the use of digital platforms, with adherence to social distancing guidelines. WNO has worked closely with recording studio Tŷ Cerdd, with producers and engineers working remotely to assist with the editing process.
Episodes will be released weekly from Thursday 11 June and are available to download from a number of podcast directories, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts - just search ‘Welsh National Opera’ and click subscribe.