Throughout 2023, Welsh National Opera has been fortunate enough to bring you some wonderful moments from enchanting classics to captivating new productions, and important work within our communities. We take a look back at our year as we get ready to bring you a 2024 full of music, drama and opera.
Our year began with the brand-new opera Blaze of Glory!, the heartwarming tale of a plucky coal mining community in Wales, rallying together as a Male Voice Choir in the face of adversity. Joining our men in blazers on tour was a fresh new interpretation of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, directed and translated by Daisy Evans. The thrilling adventure at the core of Mozart’s enduring favourite was told in a futuristic setting, with the Kingdom of the Sun brought to life with incredible lighting and puppetry.
Bernstein’s Candide wowed audiences in the Summer, as Voltaire’s fantastical tale of Candide’s journey across the world was brought to life by extraordinary animations. Joining the cast on stage, WNO Orchestra bounced through Bernstein’s operetta under the baton of Karen Kamensek as WNO presented a one-of-a-kind experience.
In May this year, WNO Orchestra joined WNO Music Director Tomáš Hanus in the Czech Republic to open the prestigious Prague Spring International Music Festival. Performing Smetana’s symphonic poem, Má Vlast, in the country’s capital, WNO Orchestra continued their tradition of performing music by Czech composers. WNO Orchestra tours Wales and England this month under the leadership of its Leader David Adams, bringing the wonderful waltzes and polkas of A Viennese Celebration to audiences across the country in January 2024.
This Autumn, we welcomed Spanish opera to the WNO stage for the first time, presenting Ainadamar to audiences in Wales and England. The one-act tale of Federico García Lorca and Margarita Xirgu astounded audiences up and down the country, as flamenco took WNO by storm. Alongside Ainadamar, our acclaimed production of Verdi’s La traviata broke hearts in a classic tear-jerking tale of love, passion and loss.
Away from the stage, Wellness with WNO has continued to help people living with long-COVID, and with the support of Arts Council Wales through their Arts, Health and Wellbeing Lottery Fund, has expanded into more NHS Wales Health Boards throughout 2023.
Our Three Letters song cycle project came to an end on World AIDS Day, as WNO Orchestra and soprano Camilla Roberts performed La mamma morta, featuring Nathaniel J Hall and a new spoken word text written by Andrew Loretto, chronicling the advances in HIV treatment and the contemporary realities of living with the virus.
On Tuesday 28 November, Welsh National Opera took part in Giving Tuesday, and thanks to your help, we managed to raise over £2,000 to continue our work in communities, including Wellness with WNO, WNO Sanctuary, WNO Teach and WNO Inspire.
As 2024 begins, why not make supporting WNO one of your new year resolutions? 2024 is looking like a year of firsts for WNO, as we present the very first performance in Wales of Britten’s Death in Venicethis Spring Season, a new school-set production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, and perform the entirety of Il trittico for the first time in WNO history this Summer. Sign up to our newsletter to be among the first to hear about our upcoming events and engagements.