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Christmas shopping; one of life’s greatest joys, calmly mooching through the German market picking out trinkets for loved ones, while sipping on mulled wine with Winter Wonderland playing tranquilly in the background. Or, if your Christmas shopping is more of a frantic scurry, hauling bags around in a sweaty panic trying to remember whether your Aunt Sarah loves lavender scented candles or despises them, then Welsh National Opera is here to save the day. The best present you can give them this year; the gift of opera. And you don’t even have to go to the shops to get it.
Of course there are those who give you detailed lists of what they want (where from, in which colour, and how big) and then there are those who have everything already. They are Instagram famous, they post cute photos of themselves making wreaths and they have the latest everything. You would hate them if they weren’t your brother and his wife; the smug couple are impossible to buy for, but the one thing they haven’t already done is, you’ve guessed it … opera. You can finally be the smug one, ‘oh, you haven’t been before, really?’ The Marriage of Figaro would be the ideal opera it is funny, ridiculous and involves a lot of marriage – just like them.
Then there is your arty niece (nephew, cousin, whatever), who loves travelling, embraces culture and is obviously vegan, maybe don’t get them carrots, again, and instead buy her an experience she will never forget, the perfect introductory opera: Carmen. With her climate conscious ideals, convince her she doesn’t have to fly to see a Central American favela; she doesn’t even have to leave the country to embrace the steamy world of Carmen’s exotic gun-wielding, salsa dancing realm. Trust us it will be much better than the sponsored goat you got her last year which didn’t go down as well as you’d planned, which leads you to the sneaking suspicion that she may not be as into, ‘saving the world’ as you think, but more into beach parties in Thailand.
That leaves us the opera buffs, they’ve been to every opera known to man-kind and would adore you forever, if you’re feeling generous and got them our package of three operas for the Spring. You’ll earn extra brownie points if you go along with them sharing the joy and if you really want to shine you can read our guide to Les vêpres siciliennes and make their day with your new found knowledge. However, if you are a bit skint - which let’s be honest is everyone at Christmas - you should get them David Pountney’s new production of Les vêpres siciliennesit’s not for the weak hearted but for the opera aficionados. Then there is always the WNO Friends Gift membership, for exclusive insight into the Company, if they’ve already booked everything under the sun.
With love from Welsh National Opera.