Monday 7 June 2021

Family opera in Wales and young people's opera in Northern Ireland.

Will Todd: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Fflur Wyn at Opera Holland Park in 2017 (Photo Alex Brenner)
Will Todd: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Fflur Wyn at Opera Holland Park in 2017 (Photo Alex Brenner)

Welsh National Opera is returning to live performance this Summer with Will Todd's delightful family opera Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, whilst Northern Ireland Opera is commissioning a new teen/young adult opera from librettist Fionnuala Kennedy and composed by Neil Martin.

Welsh National Opera is performing Will Todd's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland from 25 June until 3 July at the National Trust’s Dyffryn Gardens near Cardiff in the Vale of Glamorgan. The work will be performed in Martin Duncan's production originally created for Opera Holland Park (who commissioned the opera in 2013, see my review from 2015). The cast includes guest artists Fflur Wyn as Alice (a role she created with Opera Holland Park), Benjamin Bevan, Feargal Mostyn-Williams, Aoife Miskelly, and Kelvin Thomas, along with members of WNO’s Chorus also taking centre stage in leading roles. WNO’s Talent Development programme has also continued online during the past year and the return to live performance will see WNO Associate Artists Aaron O’Hare and Adam Gilbert make their stage debuts in the production and new Weston Jerwood Directing Fellow, Gareth Chambers, joining the directing team. [Welsh National Opera]

Northern Ireland Opera's new opera is being created in collaboration with campaign groups led by young people (who are mostly between the ages of 13 and 19) experiencing housing stress across Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland Opera will perform this opera with the young musicians of the Ulster Youth Orchestra, which is another unique element to this project. As the piece is being created specifically for the 13-19 year old age group, it is important for this audience to see themselves reflected on stage in all facets of theatre-making. The work will be premiered in 2022, with workshop versions of the piece being performed at the Belfast Children’s Festival in 2022. 

The company is currently working with opera singer and educator Emma Morwoodon outreach programmes, both during the creating and the presentation stages of the work. These programmes will be open to all participants involved with the production, including collaborators, youth orchestra players and Northern Ireland Opera’s outreach partners in Belfast and beyond. They are also working closely with the Welcome Organisation to ensure that our interactions with young people experiencing housing stress are appropriately and sensitively managed.

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