MusicWeb International's Worldwide Concert and Opera Reviews

 Clicking Google advertisements helps keep MusicWeb subscription-free.

Other Links

Editorial Board

  • Editor - Bill Kenny

  • Founder - Len Mullenger

Google Site Search


Internet MusicWeb



Welsh National Opera's  2010/2011 Season: Bill Kenny looks forward to another busy year for WNO (BK)


Welsh National Opera embarks on its Eternal Light series, offering audiences an opportunity to explore operas of Austria and Germany. New productions of Beethoven’s Fidelio, Johan Strauss’s Die Fledermaus and Mozart’s Così fan tutte set the scene; there are also revivals of Neil Armfield’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos and Dominic Cooke’s production of The Magic Flute, inspired by the masters of Surrealism. Austrian and Germany opera is sometimes unfairly regarded as less attractive than its Italian counterparts, so  from 2010, WNO puts the spotlight firmly back on operas from this repertoire, emphasising both the compelling stories to be told and the extraordinary music that brings these stories to life.

WNO’s new Music Director Lothar Koenigs conducts Fidelio, Ariadne auf Naxos and Puccini’s Turandot in the new season. Koenigs received huge critical acclaim for his first season as WNO’s Music Director in Autumn 2009.

International artists new to WNO for the season include the renowned director and choreographer Giuseppe Frigeni, who will direct and design a new production of Beethoven’s Fidelio. Frigeni worked for many years with Robert Wilson as co-director and choreographer on opera productions as well as video projects and installations, including a new production of Orfeo at Teatro alla Scala, Milan, for the 2009/10 season.


Sarah Connolly returns to WNO to sing The Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos. She made her opera debut with WNO in 1994 in a production of Der Rosenkavalier and WNO also welcomes back Rebecca Evans, who makes her role debut as Liù in a revival of Christopher Alden’s production of Turandot. Gwyn Hughes Jones makes his role debut as Manrico in a revival of Il trovatore.

A new generation of designers and directors is being nurtured by WNO from 2010 onwards. Benjamin Davis directs his first mainscale opera for WNO with a new production of Così fan tutte. The designer is Max Jones, who has worked regularly with the Company on pieces beyond the mainstage after winning the Linbury Biennial Prize for Stage Design in 2001.

The season's details are as follows:


New Production:  Beethoven, Fidelio  17th, 25th September and  1st and 8th October at 7.15pm. Sung in German with English and Welsh surtitles

Beethoven’s only opera is a rousing, triumphant affirmation of his belief that the most important human qualities – love, courage and kindness – can exist in even the most inhuman of conditions. WNO Music Director Lothar Koenigs, acclaimed for his interpretations of German repertoire, will conduct Guiseppe Frigeni’s powerful production of Fidelio.

Leonore - Lisa Milne

Florestan -  Dennis O’Neill

Rocco -  Clive Bayley (until 22 Oct) and Petros Magoulas (from 22 Oct)

Don Pizarro Robert Hayward (until 22 Oct) and Phillip Joll (from 5 Nov)

Marzelline Elizabeth Donovan

Jaquino Robin Tritschler

Conductors: Lothar Koenigs (excluding 20th and 22nd Oct) and Anthony Negus (20th and 22nd Oct) . Director  and Designer and Lighting :Giuseppe Frigeni. Costumes: Amélie Hass

This production is on hire from Opéra National de Bordeaux and is supported by the Friends of WNO

Revival: Mozart, The Magic Flute 24th September, 2nd and 6th October at 7.15pm and Sunday 26th September at 4pm. Sung in English with English and Welsh surtitles.

Mozart’s joyous extravaganza contains some of his most beautiful music. Director Dominic Cooke’s fantastical, fun production is a feast for the imagination. This production will transport you to a world of flying fish, dancing animals and sinister monsters.

Tamino -  Peter Wedd
Pamina -  Elizabeth Watts

Papageno -  Neal Davies (until 6th Nov)  and David Stout (from the 11th Nov)

Sarastro - Tim Mirfin

Queen of the Night -  Laure Meloy

First Lady -  Camilla Roberts

Second Lady -  Carolyn Dobbin

Third Lady  - Joanne Thomas

Speaker - Eddie Wade

Conductors Gareth Jones (excluding 1st-14th Nov) and James Southall (1st-14th Nov.) Director Dominic Cooke. Set Designer Julian Crouch.Costume Designer Kevin Pollard.Lighting Designer Chris Davey. Original Movement Sue Lefton

Revival:  Richard Strauss, Ariadne auf Naxos 7th and 9thOctober at 7.15pm

Sung in German with English and Welsh surtitles.

Ariadne auf Naxos
is one of Richard Strauss’s finest achievements. Strauss masterfully combines deeply moving, tragic opera with boisterous comedy to create an exquisite celebration of the power of music. Lothar Koenigs conducts a cast including acclaimed mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly who makes her UK debut in this role.


Ariadne -  Orla Boylan

Composer -  Sarah Connolly

Zerbinetta -  Gillian Keith

Music Master -  Robert Poulton

Dancing Master -  Stephen Rooke

Major-Domo -  Eric Roberts

Naiad -  Mary-Jean O’Doherty

Dryad - Patricia Orr

Echo -  Joanne Boag

Harlequin -  Owen Webb

Saramuccio -  Aled Hall

Truffaldino -  Julian Close

Brighella - Wynne Evans


Conductors Lothar Koenigs (ex 19th Oct) and Simon Phillippo (19th Oct.) Director Neil Armfield,  Revival Director Denni Sayers, Set Designer Dale Ferguson, Lighting Designer Tim Mitchell, Choreographer Denni Sayers


New Production, Johann Strauss II, Die Fledermaus
12th, 19th, 25th February, 3rd and 5th March at 7.15pm and Sunday 27th February at 4pm. Sung in English with English and Welsh surtitles.

The Waltz king Johann Strauss II’s comic operetta is a delicious Viennese treat, filled with sumptuous music. Celebrated director John Copley’s new period set production promises to create an evening of opulence, elegance and sheer frivolity.

Rosalinde - Nuccia Focile

Eisenstein -  Mark Stone

Falke -  David Stout

Adèle -  Joanne Boag

Orlofsky - Helen Lepalaan

Alfred -  Paul Charles Clarke

Conductor Thomas Roesner, Director John Copley, Set Designer Tim Reed. The production is supported by the WNO Partnership


Revival, Verdi, Il Trovatore: 24th and 26th February  and 4th March at 7.15p. Sung in Italian with English and Welsh surtitles.

Peter Watson’s period production returns with celebrated Welsh tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones making his role debut as Manrico. Following his acclaimed performances as Iago in Otello, David Kempster returns to WNO to tackle another great Verdian villain

Leonora -  Katia Pellegrino

Manrico -  Gwyn Hughes Jones

Count Di Luna -  David Kempster

Azucena -  Patricia Bardon

Ferrando -  David Soar

Conductor Andrea Licata, Director Peter Watson, Set Designer Tim Hatley, Lighting Designer Davy Cunningham, Fight Director Denis Agnew. This production originated at Scottish Opera and is supported by the WNO Idloes Owen Society.



New Production, Mozart, Così fan Tutte:  20th and 27th May,  2nd and 4th June at 7.15pm. Sung in Italian with English and Welsh surtitles.

Benjamin Davis directs his first new production with the Company, working with designer Max Jones, on his first main scale production with WNO. A cast of talented rising young singers has been brought together for this seaside-set production including Gary Griffiths making his company debut as Guglielmo, the very same role in which Bryn Terfel made his WNO debut in 1990.


Fiordiligi - Camilla Roberts

Dorabella - Anne-Marie Gibbons

Ferrando - Robin Tritschler

Guglielmo -  Gary Griffiths

Don Alfonso -  Neil Davies

Despina - Charlotte Ellett

Conductor Daniele Rustioni. Director Benjamin Davies, Set and Costume Designer Max Jones.
Sponsored by Associated British Ports.

Revival,  Puccini, Turandot: 28th and 31st May, 3rd June at 7.15pm and Sunday 5thJune at 4pm. Sung in Italian with English and Welsh surtitles.

Christopher Alden’s spectacular, potent production sets the opera firmly in the 20th century creating a portrait of society suffocated by a brutal regime. Rebecca Evans makes her role debut as Liù and Lothar Koenigs conducts.

Calaf -  Gwyn Hughes Jones

Liù Rebecca Evans

Conductor Lothar Koenigs. Director Christopher Alden, Set Designer Paul Steinberg,Lighting Designer Heather Carson, Wigs and Make up Peter Owen. The production is sponsored by WNO Sponsors’ Group.

Bill Kenny

Welsh National Opera's web site is Here.

Back to Top                                                    Cumulative Index Page