The Welsh National Opera (WNO) has launched a new podcast featuring two series, one in English – The O Word – and one in Welsh – Cipolwg.

The podcast aims to give an insight into the workings of an international touring opera company, as well as highlighting the relevance of opera today. The two series will delve into the work and impact of the company both on stage and in the wider community, and will also look into topics such as the benefits of singing and what it takes to be an opera singer. It will take a chat-show format, with interviews, facts, features and behind-the-scenes insights and anecdotes from the world of opera. Episodes are available weekly.

The O Word is presented by journalist and opera enthusiast Gareth Jones. He will talk to singers and key figures in the arts world and beyond, touching on current issues and the future of opera. The first episode includes an interview with internationally renowned Welsh tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones. It will also explore the challenges that current restrictions on public gatherings and performances present to the industry and reflect on what the future of opera might look like.

The O Word offers an insight into the whole world of opera; not just the productions, but how opera fits into the world today both on and off stage,” Jones commented. “I hope that for people feeling there’s an opera-shaped gap in their lives in these difficult times, this podcast may help fill it and they will enjoy listening to the show as much as I have enjoyed making it.”

Welsh-language series Cipolwg is presented by comedian and journalist Lorna Prichard, a lifelong opera fan who saw her first production in Rhyl aged six. It will provide a glance into the world of opera and feature interviews with singers, conductors, experts and audience members.

The series will give an insight into the work that goes into making an opera, as well as taking a look at the wider impact that an opera company has on the community. In episode one, Lorna met WNO conductor laureate Carlo Rizzi to discuss the enduring popularity of Giuseppe Verdi.

Prichard said: “Cipolwg will give people a sneak peek into the opera world from the perspective of an enthusiastic opera fan (me!). Unlike most people I don’t have favourite bands that I try and see in concert, I have favourite operas that I try and see over and over again. I’m always so excited to discover new productions and works, and learn more. So this is really a dream job for me. Hopefully I will create some new fans for this amazing art form along the way.”

The podcast is available from most podcast directories, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts – just search ‘Welsh National Opera’ and click subscribe. It is also available from the WNO website.

Aidan Lang, WNO’s general director, added: “Our podcast has been in the planning stage for the last few months and when we reached a lockdown situation we thought we may have to put production on hold. But we managed to use digital communication platforms and the goodwill of our producers and interviewees, as well as expertise from recording studio Ty Cerdd, to continue with production. The result, we hope, is two very positive podcast series that listeners will enjoy now and in the future.”



Journalist and opera enthusiast Gareth Jones (left) presents The O Word, while Welsh-language series Cipolwg is presented by comedian and journalist Lorna Prichard (right).