Welsh National Opera (WNO) has already announced its autumn 2022 programme, with a new production of Janáček’s The Makropulos Affair, directed by Olivia Fuchs and conducted by WNO’s music director Tomáš Hanus, the Youth Opera presenting Shostakovich’s Cherry Town, Moscow, a revival of Annabel Arden’s production of Puccini’s La bohème (The Bohemians, 1896), and WNO’s latest commission Migrations returning to Cardiff.
Wale’s national opera company has now revealed further details of the season. Tenor Thomas Kinch and baritone Dafydd Allen have been announced as WNO’s new Associate Artists for the 2022-23 season and will make their company debuts this autumn.
Dafydd Allen is a recent postgraduate student at the Royal College of Music (RCM) in South Kensington, London. He was a finalist in the Kathleen Ferrier Bursary for young singers, representing RCM, and is a prize winner in the Urdd Eisteddfod and National Eisteddfod of Wales. He will make his WNO debut singing the role of Stage Technician in The Makropulos Affair, and will also sing Boris in Cherry Town, Moscow.
“I’m extremely excited to be joining Welsh National Opera as an Associate Artist and feel very fortunate to be joining my national company,” he commented. “I am especially excited to be able to continue my development working alongside some of the best performers in the world. I can’t wait!”
Thomas Kinch is a recent graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Having sung roles with Dorset Opera, Sri Lanka Opera and North Wales Opera, he was an Emerging Artist in 2021 at Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, where he worked with renowned coaches, directors and teachers from the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala and Deutsche Oper Berlin. He will cover the role of the solicitor Vitek in The Makropulos Affair.
A series of community engagement activities also make up the autumn season. These aim to create meaningful routes into opera and classical music for people in south and north Wales, Birmingham and the West Midlands, and engage new and younger audiences across these regions.
A highlight is set to be the world premiere of The Shoemaker, a compelling new commission created by WNO in partnership with Oasis, Cardiff. This powerful account of resilience and endurance with timeless relevance tells the story of Isabella, the eponymous shoemaker. She creates and repairs shoes for people in support of their journeys and their struggle for a better life.
The story will be told by an ensemble of writers and musicians, with a fusion of Latin American, Persian and Western classical music. Performances will take place at The Weston Studio at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff on 21 and 22 October.
Play Opera LIVE, Welsh National Opera’s show for families, returns to Cardiff and on tour at Theatre Royal Plymouth with a dinosaur theme. Musician and presenter Tom Redmond will introduce a programme of well-known classics, alongside John Williams’s theme from the film Jurassic Park.
Redmond also narrates and brings to life the music from Steve Pickett’s concert piece Dinosaurumpus, based on Tony Mitton’s children’s book, Bumpus Jumpus Dinosaurumpus. There will be a host of pre-show workshops and foyer activities which showcase all aspects of an opera company, from wigs and make-up to props and costume.
The WNO Orchestra will be taking part in the Cardiff Classical Concert series at St David’s Hall in November. The concert will feature a selection of Czech music and is conducted by Tomáš Hanus; Slovakian mezzo-soprano Jana Kurucova will also perform. WNO Chorus and Orchestra will also be performing Messiah in St David’s Hall in December.
Tickets for all performances are on sale now, and full listings information is available from WNO.
WNO’s general director Aidan Lang said: “Opera as an artform cannot stand still, and part of WNO’s mission is to broaden the range of experiences that it offers its audiences. This is what underpins the programming of WNO’s autumn season.
“After its successful opening in the summer, I am looking forward to seeing Migrations on tour, and am sure our audiences will be as moved as they were at its world premiere in June. If that opera is epic in its scale, its sister piece, The Shoemaker, deals with similar themes, but in a more intimate manner and setting.
“WNO believes that opera is an artform for everyone, and it is our hope that the autumn season delivers to that notion.”
The world premiere of The Shoemaker forms part of Welsh National Opera’s upcoming autumn season.