The opera stars of the future on stage today

11 June 2019
Man in the foreground grasps at his ears to cover them woman behind looks worried.

Welsh National Opera has been producing top quality work in Wales and England for almost 75 years, and in order to keep that going we are committed to developing young, up and coming talent throughout the Company. From weekly work experience to long running placements, Youth Opera to Associate Artists, we are proud to be working with the future stars of opera.

Our FREEDOM Season boasts a whole range of singers, members of WNO Youth Opera past and present and the WNO Orchestra and Chorus – and one of the young singers has already had a wealth of experience with the organisation.

Andrew Henley, who comes from Monmouth in south-east Wales, graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama MA Opera Performance course in 2017 having appeared with WNO Youth Opera the previous year in Peter Maxwell Davies’ Kommilitonen! (libretto by WNO Artistic Director David Pountney), which was directed by Polly Graham and performed in promenade style at Barry Memo.

Andrew sang the role of Christoph Probst, one of the students involved in the White Rose resistance movement in 1940s Germany.

On graduating from RWCMD, Andrew then continued his training with the National Opera Studio in London, which provides bespoke training for a small number of singers each year preparing them for life on the international operatic stage. NOS works in partnership with the leading UK opera companies, and the Young Artists have the opportunity to work with each of those companies – including Welsh National Opera. 

In May 2018, Andrew was part of the National Opera Studio showcase performance here at Wales Millennium Centre, where he and his fellow Young Artists performed a number of scenes accompanied by WNO Orchestra.

Throughout the week, they worked with members of the WNO team, including Wardrobe, Wigs, Make-Up and Stage Management, in order to get the full experience of putting on a performance. In the showcase Andrew sang arias from La traviata (Verdi), The Boatswain’s Wife (Ethel Smyth) and Falstaff (Verdi). 

Now, Andrew joins the Company of Dead Man Walking to sing the role of Father Grenville. Part of the FREEDOM Season, Jake Heggie’s debut opera tells the story of a condemned prisoner and a nun who offers him counsel.