The WNO Orchestra is heading out on a summer tour again at the end of this month, hitting The Great Hall in Swansea, The Riverfront in Newport and Hafren in Newtown with our Summer Opera Classics concert. Following which, the Orchestra embarks on their popular appearances at the Welsh Proms at St David’s Hall in Cardiff and Fishguard International Music Festival later in July.
The Orchestra is successfully spreading the love and reaching new audiences through regular appearances like these, but also in the increased number of Schools and Family Concerts we put on to open youngsters’ eyes to the joys of classical music. We now have Family Concerts in Birmingham and Southampton, as well as here in Cardiff; and thousands of children have experienced our Schools Concerts in Plymouth and Llandudno too.
This year’s Summer Classics tour brings two soloists from our most recent season to parts of Wales not reached by our main stage opera tour, ensuring that the WNO Orchestra and some of our best performers can be seen by even more people. Soprano Joyce El-Khoury and baritone Jason Howard appeared together previously at WNO in La traviata (Spring 2012), as Violetta and Giorgio Germont respectively. In our Spring 2019 Season they both performed with us again, albeit in different operas.
Joyce received fantastic reviews as Elisabetta in Roberto Devereux:
Bachtrack, 4 March 2019
The role of Elisabetta is a notoriously difficult part for even the most seasoned of sopranos. In the hands of Joyce El-Khoury it appears both effortless and truly dazzling. Her commitment to the role is total, at points even exhausting in its emotional intensity, and her fluent coloratura and masterful control are joyous.
Jason was Silvano in the latest part of our Verdi trilogy, Un ballo in maschera, a production which both the audience and critics enjoyed, including receiving 4 star reviews in The Guardian and Telegraph. He first appeared with WNO as Marcello in La bohème back in 1993 and can now be considered a WNO regular.
In addition to his work on the opera stages of the world, Jason also crosses over into musical theatre, in fact he ‘sandwiched’ his appearances in 2012’s La traviata with his role in a touring production of South Pacific, which visited our home venue Wales Millennium Centre, and this will be reflected in the concert which includes two pieces from that show – the Overture and the wonderful ‘Some Enchanted Evening’. With the rep also including instantly recognisable pieces from across the ‘classic’ opera genre, from Puccini’s Tosca, Bellini’s Norma, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and, to get you in the mood for our Autumn Season, Verdi’s Rigoletto. The concert also features further popular music from Mascagni, Giordano, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák and Lehar.
For those of you who live near one of our three Summer Classics performances, you can come and experience WNO favourites, Joyce and Jason, performing together again on our concert stage. The Orchestra will be conducted by one of the newest members of WNO Music Staff, Harry Ogg – read all about Harry here.