Category Archives: Opera

La Cenerentola.

Sunday 7th October 2018, the final Opera of this season takes place today with a rendition of Rossini’s ‘La Cenerentola’ at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay. With the Cardiff half marathon on today as well, got here early enough to watch some of the runners go through before a quick walk around the Bay on a glorious day in the Welsh Capital.Another Opera that is totally new to me, although I have to say I loved it, the complex singing combined with amazing togetherness of the principle cast members, all working so well, the speed and accuracy of the singing was so impressive with fabulous voices from all the cast and the Chorus, just phenomenal to listen to.

The Music surprised me as I did not think I would enjoy it, but as usual I was totally wrong, I loved that as well, fabulous music beautifully written and played to perfection yet again by the brilliant Welsh National Opera Orchestra under the Baton of Tomas Hanus.

The set and lighting were excellent with plenty of colour from the stage and cast throughout, really brightening up the experience of watching this amazing Opera. Also the six dancers who played the Mice on stage were just phenomenal, really added to the event as a whole. So enjoyed this show, I would love to have seen it more but alas only two were done here at the centre.

Summing up I have to say this was probably one of the best I’ve seen from the WNO, even though I’ve also loved everything I’ve seen from this incredible company.

La Traviata (2nd performance).

Saturday 6th October 2018, the weekend is upon us yet again, so I’m back in Cardiff Bay at the Millennium Centre for another performance of Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’. Another chance to this superb Opera so close to home, brought to us by the wonderful Welsh National Opera company.This weeks cast has Anush Hovhannisyan as Violetta, Alfredo is played by Kang Wang alongside Roland Wood as his father Giorgio Germont. This trio were superb in my last showing of this Opera (last week), their voices are just phenomenal, and I must say just as good tonight.

Talking of voices I have to mention the WNO Chorus who, as usual, were exceptional, they always produce the goods when required and have become an integral part of any Opera from this incredible company.

If the singing was excellent, then the musical accompaniment was of impressive quality, as Usual the Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera, under the baton of James Southall,were on fire tonight, giving the audience a superb display of musical prowess.

Today has been another superb day for me, a long walk around the Bay, taking in the sights, followed by an amazing Opera at the magnificent Millennium Centre. What more could anyone want from a weekend trip to the theatre.

La Traviata.

Sunday 30th September 2018, and a nice treat on a Sunday, an extra day in Cardiff Bay at the magnificent Millennium Centre to watch another amazing Opera put on by the WNO. Today is my first performance of Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’, another of my favourite pieces, that I’ve had the pleasure of watching a few times previously.Today’s cast has Armenian born Anush Hovhannisyan playing the role of Violeta, with Australian – Chinese tenor Kang Wang in the role of Alfredo and Roland Wood playing Alfredo’s Father, along with a few WNO regulars playing vital roles along the course of the opera.

La Traviata has to be one of The most beautiful operas you will ever have the privilege to see, even with its tragic ending it’s still such a pleasure to watch. Once again the WNO company has exceeded expectations with a superb production, the singing was once again exceptional, the music, beautiful and played to perfection from the WNO Orchestra, today under the baton of James Southall.

Add in the fabulous set and amazing costumes, the whole experience came alive, another tremendous day at the theatre, two days in a row the WNO operas have been just brilliant, and with one more week to go in Cardiff, there should be more to come.

War and Peace (3rd performance).

Saturday 29th September 2018, and another chance to watch this epic Opera, with the WNO version of ‘War and Peace’ from the pen of ‘Prokofiev’, at the magnificent Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay on a glorious Autumn day.Today will be my third visit to this production, and I must say it’s been brilliant to come and watch such a beautiful opera, performed by a fabulous company. As usual the WNO have excelled in all departments for this Opera. As I’ve mentioned in the past, the singing has been phenomenal from all the cast, and today’s final performance,before going out on tour was no different. Just superb and totally worth three visits.

The costumes on show for this Opera are amazing, a credit to the wardrobe department of the WNO, always excelling in everything they attempt. A final word to the wonderful Orchestra of the WNO, who as usual were just superb, again watched it three times and on all occasions just thoroughly mastered the whole show. Another fabulous days entertainment, can’t wait for another helping of opera very soon.

War and Peace (2nd performance).

Saturday 22nd September 2018, another weekend visit to Cardiff Bay and my 2nd performance of ‘War and Peace’ at the Millennium Centre. So looking forward to watching this epic opera once more, I was really impressed with last weeks opening night, so much going on with superb singing from all the cast, and probably the biggest cast I’ve ever seen on this stage.

The plot set around the book by Tolstoy and music by Prokofiev, hits the mark from the start, a massive opening, played wonderfully by the excellent ‘Welsh National Opera Orchestra’, Mixing the dramatic with the tender and sometimes beautiful melodies Prokofiev conjured in his mind, while writing this incredible musical piece.

The set is pretty expansive and uses a huge screen at its rear, to project relevant scenes of the proceedings to the audience, adding to the drama of the whole occasion. Also a wide array of costumes are on show throughout the performance, depicting everyday life in these turbulent times.

As usual the singing from the WNO company tonight was superb, add the magnificent musical prowess of the Orchestra and you have a show that lives up to the standard that one gets used to, week in week out with this company.

More opera to come in the next few weeks and hopefully another opportunity to watch this once again before it tours.

War and Peace (WNO).

Saturday 15th September 2018, Opera season begins with ‘War and Peace’ from Prokofiev, at the magnificent Millennium Centre here in Cardiff Bay. Another to add to my collection of new productions in the theatre world. I’m quite looking forward to watching this, while all the while wondering how you would take an epic story to an Operatic stage performance and make it work.The cast for this opening performance has the beautiful voice of Lauren Michelle in the lead role of Natasha, with Mark LeBrocq as Pierre and Jonathan McGovern as Andrei to name but a few. As usual the singing from all the cast is excellent and really reverberates around this incredible theatre. A huge cast for this production with a massive Chorus really adding extra impetus for the bigger crowded scenes on stage, just fantastic to listen to.

I was a little shocked at how good the music to this opera actually was, having not expecting it to be, but honestly I was very impressed, it had everything from heavy full orchestra music to stunning beautiful melodies all in one movement, played brilliantly by the Welsh National Opera Orchestra conducted by Tomas Hanus.

An opera I will happily see again, and most probably will in the next few weeks, during its run in its home theatre in Cardiff, before moving on tour.

Don Giovanni (WNO).

Saturday 24th February 2018, another glorious but cold weekend in prospect, so after my walk around Cardiff Bay for a few hours, I’m back at the Millenium Centre for the final show of this seasons Opera’s before the WNO start their tour around various theatres in the UK. Today’s final offering is ‘Don Giovanni’, written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

For today’s show we have a few new faces, well new to me. Emily Birsan plays Anna with Gavan Ring as Don Giovanni, Katie Bray as Zerlina, all making their debuts with WNO. Also the return of Elizabeth Watts to the scene as Elvira, with her stunning voice ringing out over this impressive auditorium, and David Stout as Laporello. Although I have to say that all the principles are just tremendous, with such fabulous voices.

When you add in the magnificence of the WNO Orchestra and the incredible set for the show, then you have a brilliant end of season extravaganza. This season has been immense, with three stunning Opera’s, culminating in such a wonderful experience that will last for a lifetime, a real pleasure to have had the chance to watch such brilliant productions.

Tosca (2nd performance).

Wednesday 21st February 2018 and an unexpected bonus tonight, with a chance to watch another performance of Tosca from the Welsh National Opera company, at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay.

Another surprise tonight was a cast change from my last visit to this Opera with the brilliant Mary Elizabeth Williams playing Tosca, sharing the role with the equally brilliant Claire Rutter. Having only seen Mary last weekend in another opera, (La Forza Del Destino). Her voice is just as perfect as ever with one aria in act two bringing tears of joy, as she sang through it. Along with Hector Sandoval as Cavaradossi and Mark S Doss as Scarpia, the three of them made this Opera so beautiful to listen to.

So again today, I’ve managed to see two fabulous shows in two different cities, as I’ve achieved on the past three Wednesday’s off work. What a superb way of spending my weekday off work, couldn’t hope for much more than that.

La Forza Del Destino. 2nd performance (WNO) .

Saturday 17th February 2018, and after a few torrid days at work, it’s back to the Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay for another performance of the WNO production of Verdi’s ‘La Forza Del Destino’. After a really long walk around the Bay today, I’m back to my brilliant best again. To be honest it was such a beautiful day today you couldn’t help being perky and full of life. There is no better place to walk around than the Bay Area in the Sun, listening to great music on the way. Extremely emotional walks today.

Anyway enough of me let’s talk about this fabulous Opera on show today. This gives me one more chance to watch the brilliant Mary Elizabeth Williams as Leonora along with two fabulous Male voices in Gwyn Hughes Jones and Luis Cansino. With some beautiful music throughout this opera, played superbly by the WNO Orchestra under the baton of conductor Carlo Rizzi, this gives the artists on show the chance to really impress with their amazing voices.

Another thing that impressed me about the WNO is how good the sets and lighting has been for a lot of their recent productions, using this huge stage to its maximum on many occasions.

Once again another fabulous production comes to an end, stunning singing, as usual, just so beautiful to listen to, so glad I had the opportunity to watch this twice in its run in Cardiff.

Tosca (WNO).

Sunday 11th February 2018, I’m back in Cardiff Bay for a visit to the Millenium Centre for my second Opera of the weekend, this time its ‘Tosca’ from the Welsh National Opera company. This one I have seen before, back in 2013, and just happens to be the first ever opera I visited from the WNO.

The cast for this day’s Opera includes Claire Rutter in the lead role, Hector Sandoval as Cavaradossi along with Mark S Doss as Scarpia. Once again the Opera springs into life with some wonderful singing from all, with the chorus at the end of act one really adding to the emotion of the piece. Beautiful music and even more memorable singing from the main leads really make this opera such an amazing production that it is.

What makes it so special for me is the WNO themselves, everything I’ve seen them do over the past few years has been superb, with a Chorus and Orchestra the envy of loads of operatic companies, and its choice of leads throughout the years, has really made me want to see more and more of the work this company does.

One final thing to mention today was the costumes and the set for this opera, very impressive indeed. Thoroughly enjoyed my weekend and the Opera.