Tuesday 16 February 2016

Shakespeare & co - Welsh National Opera's 2016/17

Quirijn de Lang and Jeni Bern in Kiss Me Kate - photo Opera North
Kiss Me Kate - photo Opera North
Welsh National Opera's 2016/17 season, which was recently announced, doesn't quite have the bel canto theme which has run through some of their recent seasons. Instead the Autumn season kicks off with Shakespeare, with a trilogy of pieces based on the bard - Verdi's Macbeth, the British premiere of Andre Tchaikovsky's Merchant of Venice and Cole Porter's Kiss me Kate. The Spring 2017 season, entitled Love's poisoned chalice features two popular classics, Puccini's La Boheme and Madama Butterfly alongside Frank Martin's Tristan and Isolde-based tale, Le vin herbé. Summer 2017 sees WNO in Vienna with Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus, Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. The season sees new music director Tomáš Hanus making his operatic debut with the company, and also features Rebecca Evans in her role debut as the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier.

Verdi's Macbeth is directed by Oliver Mears and designed by Annemarie Woods in a co-production with Opera Northern Ireland. Luis Cansino is Macbeth with Mary Elizabeth Williams has his lady, and Miklós Sebestyén as Banquo. Conductor is Andriy Yurkevych. André Tchaikowsky's The Merchant of Venice is receiving its UK premiere following performances at the Bregenz Festival. The opera intrigues partly because as a Polish-Jew who survived the Holocaust, Tchaikowsky's decision to set Shakespeare's play about a Jewish moneylender is full of resonance. The cast includes Miklos Sébestyén, Martin Wölfel, Mark Le Brocq, David Stout and Sarah Castle with Lester Lynch and Quentin Hayes sharing the role of Shylock. Keith Warner directs and Lionel Friend conducts. Jo Davies new production of Cole Porter's Kiss me Kate (a co-production with Opera North) will feature Quirijn de Lang and Jeni Bern.

The revival of Annabel Arden's production of Puccini's La Boheme includes Marina Costa-Jackson as Mimi, Dominick Chenes and Matteo Lippi as Rodolfo, plus Gary Griffiths, Lauren Fagan and Gareth Brynmor John. Meeta Raval and Linda Richardson share the title role in the revival of Joachim Herz's veteran production of Puccini's La Boheme with Jonathan Burton and Paul Charles Clarke as Pinkerton and David Kempster as Sharpless. Herz's production when new (in the early 1990's I think) was extremely pointed, including significant elements later cut by Puccini which emphasised the more nasty and racist elements of Pinkerton's character. The new production of Frank Martin's Le vin herbé is extremely welcome. This re-telling of the story of Tristan and Isolde was written by the Swiss composer in the 1930s & 1940s. In order to distance himself from Wagner's telling of the story (and thus dissociate himself from the Nazi appropriation of Wagner), Martin based the piece on Joseph Bédier's 1900 philological novel, The Romance of Tristan and Iseult. The piece remains rarely staged in the UK. Le vin herbé is the first main stage production by the Company’s former Genesis Assistant Director, Polly Graham.

Tomáš Hanus conducts the revival of John Copley's production of Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus with strong cast including Mary Elizabeth Williams, Mark Stone, Ben McAteer, Rhian Lois and Justina Gringyte. Tomáš Hanus also conducts Olivia Fuchs new production of Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier with Rebecca Evans as the Marschallin, Louise Alder as Sophie, Lucia Cervoni as Octavian and Brindley Sherratt as Ochs. This is Fuchs directorial debut with WNO and it will be fascinating to see what she brings to bear on Strauss's lovely, but potentially quite spiky opera.

Full details from the Welsh National Opera website


  1. I would love to have more details about the Andre Tchaikowsky cast members, or the source thereof. This is especially useful since I'm the webmaster for the http://andretchaikowsky.com website.

    1. New Production
      The Merchant of Venice – André Tchaikowsky
      Libretto – John O’Brien

      First night: Friday 16 September 2016 at 7.00 pm at Wales Millennium Centre
      Sung in English with surtitles in English (and Welsh in Cardff and Llandudno)

      Cast Includes:

      The Duke of Venice Miklos Sébestyén
      Antonio Martin Wölfel
      Bassanio Mark Le Brocq
      Salerio TBA
      Solanio Gary Griffiths
      Gratiano David Stout
      Lorenzo Bruce Sledge
      Shylock Lester Lynch (until 1 November)
      Quentin Hayes (from 8 November)
      Jessica Lauren Michelle
      Portia Sarah Castle
      Nerissa Verena Gunz

      Conductor Lionel Friend
      Director Keith Warner
      Designer Ashley Martin-Davis
      Lighting Designer Davy Cunningham
      Movement Director Michael Barry
      Associate Director Amy Lane

      Co-production with Bregenzer Festpiele, Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa Warszawa (WIELKI) and Adam Mickiewicz Institute (AMI)

    2. Many thanks for taking the time to share this cash information. Many thanks.


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