That’s a wrap on our Spring Season

13 May 2024

Our Spring Season has been filled with acrobatics, disguises and incredible music; from the sombre backdrop of Venice during a cholera epidemic, to a ‘School for Lovers’ reminiscent of St Trinian’s, to an assortment of classic pieces from some of our favourite composers.  

Who knew that uniting opera and acrobatics would result in a ‘captivating’ (The Guardian), ‘breathtaking’ (The Arts Desk) and ‘hauntingly beautiful’ (Financial Times) telling of Britten’s dark and atmospheric Death in Venice? Director Olivia Fuchs and Designer Nicola Turner, that’s who.  

Speaking to The Guardian, Fuchs said ‘[Nicola] and I were here in Cardiff working on The Makropulos Affair when we went to see NoFit State Circus one evening. It was shortly after that we were offered this production, and I thought straight away that we needed Tadzio to be an aerialist’. Fuchs wanted to find a different dimension ‘where you come off the floor, literally, and go into a different world’ as the opera is about imagination, with a lot of it taking place in Aschenbach’s mind.  

It was WNO’s first production of Death in VeniceBritten’s magnificent final opera that tells the dark tale of renowned author Gustav von Aschenbach who travels to Venice in search of inspiration but finds himself becoming infatuated with youthful aristocrat Tadzio and becomes increasingly divorced from reality. 

Collaborating with NoFit State Circus, as well as variety and circus performer Antony César, certainly paid off as audiences and critics alike were left blown away by our ‘spectacular production’ (Facebook comment), with some calling it ‘absolute perfection’ and ‘The best thing I’ve ever seen’. 

With five-star reviews from many publications, including The Telegraph, The Stage and Bachtrack and sold-out performances on tour, Death in Venicehas been a runaway hit and has left us all waiting in anticipation for our next Britten production, Peter Grimes, which opens at our home venue, Wales Millennium Centre, in Cardiff next April, before touring to Southampton, Birmingham, Milton Keynes. and Plymouth. 

Juxtaposed with the dark and sombre set of Death in Venice was our light-hearted retelling of Mozart’s coming-of-age piece, Così fan tutte. Set in a school, our new production of Mozart’s identity-swapping story tells the tale of two sisters and their fiancés who are tried and tested by a manipulative head-teacher and a dinner-lady with some disguises up her sleeves. It was fantastic to have our Music Director Tomáš Hanus back to conduct Così; he was in ‘terrific form’ (Arts scene in Wales) and was ‘wonderful [in] leading the orchestra in the score with grace and wit’ as our singers shone (Buzz magazine). The Guardian highlighted Sophie Bevan (Fiordiligi) as ‘delectable, hardly faltering in this most demanding of operatic roles’.  

Our Spring 2024 Season also saw the introduction of our Opera Favourites concert, an evening of delightful arias and sublime choral and orchestral numbers from some of the world's most popular operas. With pieces from Otello, Carmen and Madam Butterfly, there was something for everyone. If you were lucky enough to attend, you would’ve also heard pieces from Peter Grimes, The Marriage of Figaro, Rigolettoand Gianni Schicchiwhich you can enjoy as part of our 2024/2025 Season in venues across Wales and England.