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All three of our operas this Autumn feature singers new to Welsh National Opera, an international array of upcoming names in the opera world.
Starting on opening night, both our Carmen (Virginie Verrez) and Morales (Ross Ramgobin) make their main stage debut for the Company in our brand new production of Carmen. They are joined by Angela Simkin as Mercédès, also singing with us for the first time in this Jo Davies’ production – marking Jo’s return to WNO following the huge success of Kiss Me, Kate in 2016. A fantastic way to open the Season here in Cardiff before the tour begins in October.
Ross Ramgobin has been a cover artist for WNO but he hasn’t appeared in Carmen before, so this will be his debut in the opera as well as on our main stage. Whereas French mezzo-soprano Virginie has sung in Carmen previously, in the role of Mercédès, most recently at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in summer 2017– this will be her first time singing the title role.
Angela Simkin, a National Opera Studio alumni (2015/2016), has just appeared in the role of Mercédès at The Royal Opera; a production which also featured another of our new singers – Haegee Lee. Haegee is one of our two Gilda’s (both new) in Rigoletto this Season. Angela was previously a Jette Parker Young Artist at ROH (2016 to 2018), and Haegee joined as a JPYA in September 2017. During her time at ROH Haegee also got to sing with Bryn Terfel, in their production of Boris Godunov.
Another JPYA (2015 to 2017, so overlapping with Angela) is David Junghoon Kim, our Duke, his first time in this role or indeed appearing in Rigoletto at all. He has, however, performed with Haegee in recital at ROH in spring of this year and this summer sang in the same season at Dorset Opera as our court jester, Rigoletto, Mark S Doss (even if in different operas) and there has already been critical interest in hearing the two perform together following their appearances:
The Daily Express, 21 Aug 2019
I’m now looking forward to Welsh National Opera’s Rigoletto this autumn: it has Mr Doss in the title role and Junghoon Kim as the Duke. What a treat it will be to have them together in the same production!
Our other Gilda, Marina Monzó, has previously performed the role at Teatro Verdi di Salerno, Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari, Ljubljana Festival and Teatro di San Carlo in Napoli last year, so comes to WNO well-versed in the part.
In our final opera of the Season: Hanna-Liisa Kirchin (Woodpecker) and Joseph Doody (Mosquito) both make their WNO main stage debuts in The Cunning Little Vixen, although both have been cover artists before. Again they are NOS alumni, Joseph from 2016/2017 and Hanna-Liisa 2014/2015, the year after Ross Ramgobin (2013/2014).
We welcome them all to the Company and hope you enjoy their debuts with us.