Meet the new hosts of WNO’s Podcast

11 March 2021

As a new series of Welsh National Opera’s podcast lands we caught up with the hosts and asked them about their new three-part special which explores the journey of an artist.

In Natalya Romaniw’s episode, she looks back at her time spent with WNO Youth Opera and how these experiences planted the seeds for her career as a professional soprano.

Natalya, what inspired you to get involved with The O Word?

'I wanted to explore how formative musical experiences can impact young singers and to incorporate this with looking back at my own experiences with WNO Youth Opera. Youth Opera provided a nurturing environment for me and other like-minded performers, all eager to share the wonderful process of music making. It was here that I made one of my lifelong friends, Rhian Lois and I was thrilled to be able to take a trip down memory lane with her in my episode. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.'

In Tim Rhys-Evans’ episode, he delves into the process of training young performers, providing his own insight into artistic education.

Tim, how valuable do you think artistic training is in producing professional performers? 

'I think both university and conservatoire training are essential to produce quality young performers, particularly in a time where the value of arts is being brought into question. I was incensed at the start of the pandemic with the government calls for artists to ‘retrain’, but I was really heartened to see the kickback and outrage from people talking about how much they have invested into training for their profession. And I was pleased to hear this echoed by our guests in my episode – students and graduates from Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama – reminding us of the value that music can have in bringing joy to our lives.'

Conductor Tianyi Lu concludes this three-part special, reflecting on her own experiences to consider what awaits a student after graduation.

Tianyi, what drew you to this area of an artist’s journey?

'I was keen to discover more about the feelings that our guests had about the industry at that crucial moment of graduation. What drove them to do this? What were their fears, hopes, and dreams? It was a privilege to hear from performers such as Elin Pritchard and also from those who sit on audition panels such as, Elaine Kidd from the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artist’s Programme. From audition-preparation to making impressions in debuts, building resilience and the importance of nurturing mental and physical wellbeing, we discuss the challenges and opportunities for young practitioners entering the world of opera and our hopes and dreams for opera in the post-pandemic world.'

WNO dramaturg Elin Jones steps in the hosting seat for this series of Welsh-language podcast Cipolwg, with comedian and journalist Lorna Prichard acting as the series’ roving reporter.

Elin, what was it like to step into the anchor’s chair for this Welsh language three-part special?

'It's been a lot of fun to host this series of Cipolwg. We’ll be taking our listeners on a journey from youth groups through to conservatoire training, not to mention the trials that await young artists after graduation. It’s been great to reflect and hear from some people that were part of my introduction to opera, as well as from professional singers like Huw Ynyr and Elgan Llŷr Thomas. I certainly have a renewed respect for young singers and the people who help and encourage them along the way.'