Harvey Evans - from performing to directing

23 May 2022

WNO Youth Opera’s return to the stage this month, with their long-anticipated production of Judith Weir’s The Black Spider.

We caught up with Assistant Director, Harvey Evans who is a Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama [RWMCD] graduate and a former member of WNO Youth Opera.

‘I couldn’t be happier to be back with WNO Youth Opera’ says Harvey, returning to where his journey in opera began. During his time as a WNO Youth Opera participant, Harvey was first exposed to opera, joining the chorus of Benjamin Britten’s Paul Bunyan. Following his introduction, Harvey’s fascination in opera’s capability to ‘portray a story with great emotional depth, enabling us to connect with its characters and with each other.’, and how ‘the voice’s raw emotional power combined with music and staging creates something greater than the sum of all its parts’ grew.

During his time studying at RWCMD, Harvey discovered his passion for directing while in rehearsals for Rossini’s La Cenerentola, and following a conversation with the director, ‘I realised it was what I wanted to do. Directing enables you to tell captivating stories and ignite people’s imagination: what could be more exciting?’

Returning to Youth Opera for The Black Spider has been a thrilling journey for Harvey, as WNO Youth Opera was a very important part of his development, and with his experience and understanding of some of the challenges that the young performers face, he is perfectly placed to share advice and support our wonderful participants as they prepare for the production. 

The partnership between Welsh National Opera and RWCMD proved to be beneficial to Harvey during his time in the college, and he gained numerous professional experiences from the partnership, including the opportunity to work with WNO for Dead Man Walking and Hope has Wings. Through the partnership, both WNO and RWCMD have the chance to nurture young operatic talent and ensure that it flourishes here in Cardiff.

Coming back to work with WNO has been more than just a trip down memory lane for Harvey – working with WNO has meant that the resources are available to experiment with puppetry, shadow puppetry and animation while developing the production. Working with young people and fostering a passion for theatre and opera from a young age is an important task for WNO Youth Opera, and with Harvey’s help we’ve been able to play our role in the development of the next generation of performers through our production of The Black Spider.

It's easy to see why Harvey’s so enthusiastic about The Black Spider, describing the production as ‘a hilarious, spooky opera unlike any other that’s full of jokes and horror tropes. There’s something for everyone; it defies our expectation of opera, and its unusual story and excellent music make it a unique experience. It’s very different to anything I have seen or worked on before and I’m sure everyone who attends will really enjoy.’

The Black Spider will be performed at 3pm and 7pm on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May at Wales Millennium Centre.