In March 2018 the Company set off for Hong Kong to take part in the 46th HK Arts Festival which ran from 23 February to 24 March 2018.
We performed our production of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, last seen during our Summer 2015 Season, at the Festival, on Thursday 15 and Saturday 17 March 2018.
The principal cast returned from the 2015 performances, including Christopher Purves as Golaud, Jacques Imbrailo as Pelléas and Jurgita Adamonyté as Mélisande. This marked the first return since we took La bohème to the festival in 2007.
But the opera was not the only thing we offered at the Festival, our Youth & Community department took a sample of our regular family-friendly participation events over too.
The main draw was the Family Concert, O is for Opera!, on the Friday evening which followed the winning formula of those we put on at St David’s Hall here in Cardiff, Southampton and Birmingham.. During the day, an Opera Adventure Day took place, with WNO flags and opera masks handed out to children as they arrived, there were also props and costumes on display, instrument demos for the kids, alongside face-painting and wigs demos, and even a chance to have-a-go in a percussion workshop. Our popular VR experience, Magic Butterfly, also flew overseas for a couple of early evening sessions.
For those more interested in the stories behind an opera, the music, and the songs, we held three workshop sessions to take the audience on a ‘Whistle Stop Tour of Carmen’. Our Artistic Director, David Pountney, and our Director of Artistic Administration, Nicholas Winter, spoke about Pelléas et Mélisande in pre-performance talks on the Thursday and Saturday. David also gave a talk under the Festival’s banner of ‘Distinguished Cultural Leader Series V’ on the Thursday; he spoke about his passion for opera and the challenges facing the art form currently.
On the Saturday there were foyer performances, along with more make-up and wigs demos, including a special session looking specifically at stage make up aimed at children. People could meet members of the Orchestra and have a go at playing different instruments, and our Chorus took part in a concert performance. So the full Company was represented to give a taste of what goes into putting on an opera, and with a backstage tour of Pelléas et Mélisande the insight was complete..