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Juggling rehearsals for three operas

24 September 2018
Natasha and Andrei dance together, as do four other couples, under the moon.

This Autumn Welsh National Opera is performing three very different operas. From our new epic production of War and Peace, to the revivals of the well-known stories of La Cenerentola, Rossini’s Cinderella and La traviata, one of the most loved operas ever to be performed.

It is only the men of the Chorus who will be performing in all three of our Autumn operas. This is due to the lack of female Chorus in our classic revival of La Cenerentola, but the ladies aren’t completely off the hook as we take our five star production, Rhondda Rips It Up!back out on tour for further performances. 

Rehearsals often see our Chorus members juggle numerous productions at once, jumping between different rehearsal rooms, transporting to different countries and time zones, and this Season has been no different.

Full cast are on stage, bustling about in brown and grey uniforms.

The Chorus begin their week as Russian soldiers, hurled into war to protect their country against Napoleon.

War and Peace, our new production directed by David Pountney and conducted by Tomáš Hanus, sees a cast of over 60, made up of WNO Chorus and Extra Chorus members packed on stage to deliver one of the most epic productions to date. This is one of our largest productions and involves the cast taking on numerous roles, some switching characters without even leaving the stage. As a brand new piece, with a score cherry-picked and put together by our favourite dynamic duo, David and Tomáš, our Chorus have had to learn this piece from scratch and work closely to perfect the piece. This type of demanding score can be tricky for even the most skilled of singers, but our Chorus have perfected their notes ready for opening night on 15 September. 

They then swiftly move from one rehearsal room and transport to 19th Century Paris, to become courtesans and gentlemen.

La traviata is one of the most popular and well known operas around the world and with some of the most memorable music it is easy to see why. Tearing on your heart strings, the scale of the piece is far more intimate than the vast majority of Verdi’s work. There is no grand historic or political element but it is no less gripping, with a tale of love, loss and heartbreak. The story is portrayed through beautiful arias with none more famous than the high-spirited Libiamo ne’lieti calici or as it is more widely known, the Brindisi (The Drinking Song). For the Chorus this opera is filled with large dance scenes and extravagant props – it really is opera at its best. 

Finally, the last opera sees the Gentlemen of the Chorus take on the roles of courtiers at a prince’s palace in our production of La Cenerentola.

A slightly different version than the Cinderella you may all be used to, Rossini’s opera contains an evil stepfather, a sorcerer and exchanges the glass slipper for a missing bracelet. Bright, bold and slightly over the top, La Cenerentola is a world away from the sombre stories of War and Peace and La traviata. No death scenes or heartbreaks, we see dancing mice, flamboyant costumes and even an ugly sister or two. Lively and upbeat, La Cenerentola is one for the whole family.

Whatever opera you pick this season, you can be sure we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to make it a good one. Book now for the best available tickets.