Thursday, 23 March 2017

Guto Puw's Welsh-language opera premieres at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival

Guto Puw and Gwyneth Glyn
Guto Puw and Gwyneth Glyn
The highlight of this year's Vale of Glamorgan Festival (19-26 May 2017) must be Music Theatre Wales' premiere of Guto Puw's Welsh language opera Y Tŵr (The Tower), but there are plenty of other good things on. The only UK festival devoted to the work of living composers, there are lots of other new pieces on offer with the Marsyas Trio showcasing music by six women composers, Onyx Brass performing another Guto Puw piece, this time for fairground organ and brass quintet, and the Apollon Musagete Quartet celebrating John Adams' 70th birthday. The festival finale features the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conductor Tecwyn Evans, in the premiere of Graham Fitkin's concerto for multiple amplified recorders, written for BBC Young Musician Finalist Sophie Westbrooke, and Huw Watkins' Cello Concerto performed by his brother Paul Watkins.

Y Tŵr, Guto Puw's first opera, is commissioned and performed by Music Theatre Wales in conjunction with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, the Welsh-language national theatre company. The libretto, by Welsh poet Gwyneth Glyn, adapts a classic play by Gwenlyn Parry which explores the journey of two people through life. Gwenlyn Parry (1932-1991) was one of the most important 20th century Welsh-language playwrights. He joined BBC Wales in 1966 where he helped establish the scripts department and worked on popular Welsh programmes such as Pobol y Cwm. He played a key role in popularising drama in theatre and television in the 1970s and 1980s, and his plays, including Y Tŵr had a huge impact.

Michael McCarthy directs the opera and Richard Baker conducts with a cast featuring Caryl Hughes and Gwion Thomas. There are two performances at the festival, 19 & 20 May 2017 at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff (details from the festival website) and then Music Theatre Wales take the piece on tour - Aberystwyth (May 23), Bangor (May 25), Mold (June 5), Swansea (June 15) and the Buxton Festival (July 17). Full details from the Music Theatre Wales website.

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