Welsh National Opera

Welsh National Opera

Welsh National Opera (WNO) is a touring opera company founded in Cardiff, Wales in 1946. The WNO now tours Wales, the United Kingdom and the rest of the world extensively. Annually, it gives more than 120 performances of eight main scale operas. In Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Llandudno, Oxford, Milton Keynes, Plymouth, Southampton and Swansea, they regularly perform to over 150,000 people.

Although productions were initially sung in English translation, from the 1970s onwards, operas were increasingly sung in the original languages; not only Italian, German and French, but also Russian and Czech. Surtitles were also provided.

The Company has always provided a mix of traditional and less-well-known operas, including those of Alban Berg, Richard Strauss, Leos Janacek and Benjamin Britten.

In 2004 the Company acquired its first ever permanent home in Cardiff in the new Wales Millennium Centre, a new performing arts centre in the city.

The opera company consists of a professional orchestra ("The Orchestra of Welsh National Opera") and a professional choir ("The Chorus of Welsh National Opera"). Sometimes, the orchestra and the choir perform at events independently of one another. The orchestra and the choir often perform at St David's Hall in Cardiff and at other venues throughout Wales.

Since 2004, WNO's music director has been Carlo Rizzi. In May 2007, WNO announced that Rizzi would step down as their music director after the end of the 2007 summer season. He will be succeeded in the autumn of 2009 by the German conductor Lothar Koenigs, who previously enjoyed a significant success on his debut with the company, conducting David Pountney's production of Khovanshchina in spring 2007. [ [http://www.gramophone.co.uk/newsMainTemplate.asp?storyID=2802&newssectionID=1 James Inverne, "Carlo Rizzi resigns as music director of WNO – again". "Gramophone", 9 May 2007.] ] [ [http://www.playbillarts.com/news/article/6463.html Vivien Schweitzer, "Welsh National Opera Music Director Steps Down for Second Time". "Playbill Arts", 9 May 2007.] ]


According to WNO, they are Europe's busiest touring opera company and the largest provider of touring opera in the UK. Recent awards include:
* an Evening Standard Award,
* a Barclays Theatre Award,
* two Laurence Olivier Awards, and
* three Royal Philharmonic Society Awards.

In December 2002, WNO was awarded a Classic FM Red F Award as part of Classic FM's 10th birthday celebrations.

As well as its artistic achievements, the company behind the opera has achieved success in business. Cardiff Theatrical Services, one of WNO's subsidiary businesses, is one of the largest producers of opera stage sets in the UK. As well as producing all the stage sets for the WNO, it makes sets for other opera companies such as the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne Opera, Opera North, Royal National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, De Vlaamse Opera and the Kirov Opera.

Guest artists have included Tito Gobbi and Elizabeth Söderström.

The WNO has realised great success in attracting a younger audience to opera, helping to make its home, the Wales Millennium Centre, a viable business.

From 31 May to 3 June 2007 WNO hosted their first "Open House" programme at the Wales Millennium Centre. The long weekend featured a range of free family-friendly events including introductions to operas such as Carmen.

Music Directors

*Warwick Braithwaite (1955–1960)
*Sir Charles Groves (1961–1963)
*Bryan Balkwill (1963–1967)
*Sir Richard Armstrong (1973–1986)
*Sir Charles Mackerras (1987–1992)
*Carlo Rizzi (1992–2001)
*Tugan Sokhiev (2003–2004)
*Carlo Rizzi (2004–2007)

2008-2009 Performances

Autumn 2008 Season

*The Barber of Seville

pring 2009 Season

*The Marriage of Figaro
*The Elixir of Love

ummer 2009 Season

*La Boheme
*Queen of Spades
*Mitriade, re de Ponto in concert


External links

* [http://www.wno.org.uk/ Welsh National Opera]
* [http://www.wmc.org.uk/ Wales Millennium Centre: Home to WNO]

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