WNO Youth Opera perform for a Royal Party

15 October 2021

During the Official Opening of the Sixth Senedd in Cardiff Bay yesterday (Thursday 14 October), WNO Youth Opera had the honour of performing for Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall.

On an average week, over 120 singers across the UK, aged between 6 - 18 years take part in our award-winning training programme. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, our Youth Opera groups based in Cardiff, Llandudno and Birmingham had to stop their weekly sessions and joined each other online.

This occasion marked WNO Youth Opera South Wales’s first live performance since before March 2020 and what an incredible opportunity it was for our young performers.

During the ceremony, they performed a very special rendition of the traditional Welsh folk song, Ar Lan y Môr, arranged by WNO Youth Opera Musical Director Dan Perkin who said: 

When the first lockdown happened, we were just two weekends away from our fully staged production of Judith Weir’s The Black Spider. A year of zoom rehearsals followed, and the creative team were forced to innovate and rethink what we were able to achieve with our participants. Of course, we did a virtual choir, we devised and recorded two radio operas, and explored various repertoire including the digital performance of I Shall Not Live in Vain, but none of this is a replacement for making live music together. The opening of the Sixth Senedd was our first live performance with the group in over 18 months, and what a first experience it is, performing for her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall. A huge step forward after a very challenging time.

The Queen officially opened the first National Assembly for Wales in 1999 and has since opened every session following an election in Wales. In addition to the sensational young voices of our Youth Opera the Royal Party enjoyed performances by Alis Huws, Official Harpist to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, National Dance Company Wales, Hijinx theatre company, Gruffudd Owen, Welsh language Children’s Laureate.

Enjoy a socially distanced performance of Ar Lan y Môr by WNO Youth Opera, accompanied by members of WNO Orchestra - filmed earlier in the year in the majestic Donald Gordon Theatre at Wales Millennium Centre.

Since becoming our Patron in 1997, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales has been a fantastic supporter of Welsh National Opera, attending several performances over the years including Die Fledermaus(2017), La forza del destino (2018) where he was greeted with a performance of Jacob Narverud’s Sisi Ni Moja by 72 young singers from WNO Youth Opera and most recently Un ballo in maschera.