Welsh National Opera reveal plans for Summer 2024

May 22, 2024 by


Welsh National Opera’s Summer Season has been announced, which will include Puccini’s triptych of one-act operas, a WNO Orchestra concert tour with WNO Music Director Tomáš Hanus conducting for the first time and WNO Youth Opera’s annual showcase performance, a new production of Cary John Franklin’s The Very Last Green Thing.

Il trittico

A co-production with Scottish Opera, WNO will take on Puccini’s Il tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi in one night, as the composer intended.

Il tabarro is the story of an unhappy marriage with a wife who longs to escape, with murderous consequences. Suor Angelica follows a nun’s sacrifice and yearning for her family when sent to a convent to repent her sins, and Gianni Schicchi, widely known in popular culture for the aria O mio babbino caro, tells of deception and greed as a family fight over a missing will.


Suor Angelica



WNO Conductor Laureate Carlo Rizzi returns to WNO to conduct this new production with Greg Eldridge directing to bring Sir David McVicar’s vision to life. The production brings together a world-class ensemble with Roland Wood returning to the roles of Michele (Il tabarro) and the title role of Gianni Schicchi after performing them at Scottish Opera, and Alexia Voulgaridou returning to WNO in the roles of Giorgetta (Il tabarro) and the title role Suor Angelica. In her 35th year performing with WNO, Welsh soprano Rebecca Evans joins the cast in the role of Nella (Gianni Schicchi). The cast also includes Tichina Vaughn and Sioned Gwen Davies who both make their Company debuts, Leonardo Caimi, Haegee Lee, Sioned Gwen Davies and Alison Kettlewell.


Il tabarro



Il trittico will open at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff on 15 June and runs until 22 June.

WNO Conductor Laureate Carlo Rizzi said:

‘Il trittico offers three short operas in one night: one dark and violent; one heart-breakingly sad; and one a witty comedy. These are very different stories with Puccini’s scores offering extraordinary dramatic variety to tell them.

‘For me there is a very human and ever-present theme that ties them all together and that will be in my mind as I conduct. This is the impact of children in the lives of their parents. Il tabarro, Michele and Giorgetta’s relationship breaks down after they lose their child, Suor Angelica chooses death to be reunited with her child in the afterlife, and Gianni Schicchi goes to hell (according to Dante) for having impersonated Buoso Donati, only to ensure love and a happy ending for his daughter Lauretta.

‘I simply cannot wait to begin the rehearsals and to give the first downbeat to the great WNO Orchestra after the success of our recent Puccini recording project and, before that, so many live Puccini performances in Wales and around England over the thirty years we have worked together.’


The Very Last Green Thing: The Seligman Youth Opera Performance

This Summer, WNO Youth Opera will take on Cary John Franklin’s futuristic opera, The Very Last Green Thing in their annual showcase at the Weston Studio at Wales Millennium Centre in four performances on 25-26 May. The opera, which is based in the year 2423, follows a group of school children on a journey with their android teacher who discover a time capsule left by children 400 years ago. The double cast is made up of 70 young voices from the ages of 10 to 18 with singers from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, baritones HoWang Yuen and John Rhys Liddington sharing the role of Android. Both return after performing with WNO in the production of Cherry Town, Moscow.

WNO Youth Opera Music Director Dan Perkin will conduct, with Rhian Hutchings directing the showcase and designs by Greta Baxter. Following the performance, singers from the 14-18 group will also perform a new 10-minute opera which they have created with Dan and Rhian called Solomon’s Ring. This micro-opera explores how inanimate objects can hold real power.


WNO Orchestra

Summer Tour – Crossing Borders

For the first time, WNO Music Director Tomáš Hanus will conduct WNO Orchestra on a tour of Wales and the South West in a programme which features a selection of Central Europe’s finest masterpieces. Each performance will open with the Overture from Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, in a nod to 2024 being the year of Czech music.

Other orchestral numbers included in the concert depending on venue are Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with soloist David Adams (Brecon, Southampton and Aberystwyth), or Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major with soloist Thomas Verity (Bangor, Cardiff and Newtown). The concerts will close with Schumann’s Symphony No 4, infused with the famous ‘Clara Theme’ in honour of the composer’s wife.

The Orchestra tour will stop off at venues in Brecon (Theatr Brycheiniog, 4 July), Southampton (Turner Sims, 9 July), Cardiff (Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, 11 July), Bangor (Pontio Arts Centre, 12 July), Newtown (The Hafren, 13 July) and Aberystwyth (Arts Centre, 21 July).

WNO Orchestra is also set to make its annual appearance at Fishguard Festival of Music this July. Firstly, at St David’s Cathedral on 19 July with WNO Music Director Tomáš Hanus and, at the chamber venue Rhosygilwen on 25 July under the direction of concertmaster, David Adams.



Main image: Gianni Schicchi


Images James Glossop

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