At Swansea City Opera we are committed to maintaining high standards of production and musical excellence, presenting socially accessible opera and procuring some of the finest singers and orchestral players in the country. We provide a nationwide touring schedule, assisting with the cultural development of Wales – this year we are touring La bohème, and are supported at each performance by a local community choir.
Originally set in 1830’s Paris, we decided to update this wonderful story to Paris 1945-46, to make it a little more relevant to today’s audiences. There is a great resurgence of interest from younger people in 1940’s fashion, and by setting the opera in this period, and singing in English, we hope to encourage a new audience to experience the joys of this great art form.
Marcin Gesla, Mark Saberton and Håkan Vramsmo
We look a little deeper into the relevance and comparison between 1830’s and mid 1940’s Paris. In the 1830’s, France was still recovering from the Napoleonic wars and it was another revolutionary period in French and European history. The July revolution saw the overthrow of the King Charles X, and in his place the Duke of Orléans was crowned, but it only lasted until 1848. There were also uprisings in Belgium, Portugal, Poland and more peacefully in Switzerland, France was in turmoil along with much of Europe.
Leaping forward 100 years to the end of World War 2, France is again struggling. It has political upheaval, and in Paris there are communist riots. The struggling young people become more plausible, as they try to make ‘the most of the moment’ in the tumultuous new world in which they live. They are daunted by an uncertain future and dogged by awful experiences of the recent past….and what of this dreadful disease that eventually kills Mimì? Tuberculosis was just as much a killer in the 1940’s and beyond as it was in the 1830’s and before.
Supported by the City and County of Swansea, Arts Council Wales, England and Creative Scotland, we are very proud to be ambassadors for the wonderful city of Swansea – Wales’ Waterfront City – as we tour all over the UK. Our performances this spring include small theatres that would not normally be able to afford opera, 8 of which are in Wales. Frequently these theatres are in more remote places and Communities First areas, where we give performances at subsidised rates meaning that opera lovers – whether experienced opera-goers or new fans – can see high quality affordable live opera where they live, rather than travelling to the nearest city hours away. We are also providing a pre-performance talk free of charge at each venue, to offer the audience members an insight into the opera and a behind the scenes view of the performance, given by Brendan Wheatley, Artistic Director.
Welsh Performance Dates / Box Office details:
31/03/2016 Ffwrnes Llanelli 0845 226 3510
02/04/2016 Theatr Brycheiniog Brecon 01874 611 622
09/04/2016 The Riverfront Newport 01633 656 757
23/04/2016 Borough Theatre Abergavenny 01873 850 805
06/05/2016 Taliesin Theatre Swansea 01792 602 060
13/05/2016 Neuadd Dwyfor Pwllheli 01758 704 088
14/05/2016 Ucheldre Centre Holyhead 01407 763 361
21/05/2016 Torch Theatre Milford Haven 01646 695 267
Rodolfo: Shaun Dixon / Andrew Dickinson
Mimì: Rebecca Goulden
Marcello: Håkan Vramsmo
Musetta: Angharad Morgan
Schaunard: Mark Saberton
Colline: Marcin Gesla
Benoît & Alcindoro: Paul Hudson
Waiter: Martin Quinn
Main image: Rebecca Goulden and Shaun Dixon
Photography: Guy Harrop