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Mid Wales Opera Unveils The Magic Flute in Newtown

Love is in the air tonight at The Hafren, Newtown (17th February) as Mid Wales Opera unveils its brand new production of Mozart’s much-loved masterpiece The Magic Flute.

There’s a handsome Prince (Tamino) in search of a Princess in peril (Pamina), a feathery fellow seeking his bird-lady love, a Queen and a Wizard of varying degrees of wickedness and even a dragon to add to the mix.

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“Stunning in every way – unmissable” – Semele Opens in Cardiff Before National Tour

What a week! We’re about to open the doors for our third performance of Semele in Cardiff and it has been going down a storm with superb reactions from our audience and hardly a seat left in the lovely Richard Burton Theatre.
One audience member told us on opening night  it was “stunning in every way – unmissable” another commented that the “singing was wonderful” and that it was “sensitive, thoughtful & uplifting”.

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Meddyliwch eto am Opera: The Magic Flute, gwledd i’r teulu cyfan

Os nad ydych chi wedi gweld opera erioed – ond ffansi mentro – yna mae hanes y Ffliwt Hud yn lle gwych i gychwyn!

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Mae’n cynnwys popeth sydd ei angen ar gyfer noson allan i’w chofio:-

  • Tywysog golygus – oes
  • Tywysoges hardd mewn perygl – oes
  • Y gelyn gwaethaf a fu – yn bendant
  • Treialon a phrofion er mwyn ennill cariad
  • Cymeriadau gwirioneddol ddoniol i ychwanegu hiwmor
  • A wnawn ni ddim difetha’r stori… ond gobeithio y bydd pawb yn byw’n hapus am dragwyddoldeb.

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#FirstDayOfSchool

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Have you ever thought what it’s like to turn up for your first day of rehearsals?  Matt RJ Ward, who plays Monostatos (the overseer of Sarastro’s temple) in our upcoming production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, invites us to feel the jitters and elation felt on day one…

I’m on the way to my first rehearsal for Mid Wales Opera’s new production of The Magic Flute, in which Monostatos has been rewritten as the dashing protagonist (not true). I’m ridiculously early, so I  reach for my phone. Now is the time (he thinks to himself), that I should make a tweet. Yes, that’s it. Think of something funny to say, and surreptitiously show the world that I’m busy working on yet another opera. Only thing is, I can’t think of anything witty to say. I never can. All I could think to tweet was “on way to first day of rehearsals”. But, I thought that was like sharing a blurry photo of my dinner on facebook, and decided against it.

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Magic Flute Cast Interviews: Katherine Williamson

Let us delve into the background and passion of some of our fabulous cast working on Mozart’s Magic Flute, an upcoming Mid Wales Opera production touring Aberystwyth, Pontardawe, Bangor and Newport from March 2017

Click here to find out more and to book tickets for Mozart’s Magic Flute

Today we talk to Katherine Williamson who is playing one of the spirits in Semele.

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Rethink Opera: The Magic Flute, a family-friendly treat!

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If you’ve never seen an opera – but fancy giving it a go – then The Magic Flute is a brilliant place to start!

We’re touring The Magic Flute over Wales this spring and you can catch the show in Hafren, Newtown on February 17th, Aberystwyth Arts Centre on March 7th, Pontardawe Arts Centre on March 9th, Pontio in Bangor on April 26th and finishing up in the Riverfront in Newport on May the 4th.

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Richard’s Magic Flute Rehearsal Ramblings #1

Richard Studer is Mid Wales Opera’s new Artistic Director, joining the team alongside Music Director Jonathan Lyness and making their Mid Wales Opera debut with Mozart’s The Magic Flute in Spring 2017.  Richard will be providing a glimpse into the inner workings of a production as the team work tirelessly towards opening night at The Hafren in Newtown on the 17th of February.

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Fresh New Talent Shines In Contemporary Semele

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Click here to find out more and to book tickets for Handel’s Semele, which is touring Cardiff, Newtown, Llanelli, Colwyn Bay and Brecon in February 2017.

Semele is a very special production for many reasons and the collaboration with students at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama is a new venture for Mid Wales Opera, moving far beyond our previous co-production in 2014 of Acis and Galatea.

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Semele for Beginners

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Click here to find out more and to book tickets for Semele, which is touring Cardiff, Newtown, Llanelli, Colwyn Bay and Brecon in February 2017.

So you’re thinking of coming to see Semele – but it’s not your usual aria of interest – if you’ll pardon the pun!

Don’t worry, we’re here to help. The most important thing you need to know as an audience member is that opera is filled with great tunes and great stories and Semele is no exception.

Like a lot of early opera, Semele draws its inspiration from Greek myth and in this case from Ovid’s Metamorphoses which was one of the best known classical texts and would have been very familiar to Handel’s original eighteenth century audience. Lots of the stories are just as familiar today – Jason and the Golden Fleece, the story of the Minotaur, Dido and Aeneas and others are all part of Ovid’s epic masterpiece.

Semele is the daughter of Cadmus, the King of Thebes and is destined to marry Athamus, a Prince of Boetia and a very suitable match for such a high powered and politically significant Princess. However, Semele has other ideas and has set her sights on Jupiter, the King of the Gods.

As the wedding to Athamus progresses, Semele continues her prayers to Jupiter to save her from her fate – and Jupiter swoops down among the wedding party in the form of a giant eagle, sweeping Semele away to his dragon-guarded castle in the sky.

Having got exactly what she wished for Semele remains restless and as her story unfolds there are plenty of elements which will ring very true to modern audiences – as you’ll see from Martin Constantine’s thoroughly contemporary rendering of the work.

Semele was originally performed in 1744 and it has always been a controversial piece. In fact it originally ran for only four nights, returned once in December 1744 and was never again staged by Handel – in the end it vanished completely until the 20th century.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great work – and you may well have heard versions of Jupiter’s stunning aria “Where’er You Walk” or Semele’s “Endless Pleasure, Endless Love” in other contexts – if not have a listen to our very own patron Sir Bryn Terfel’s lovely version here:-

And what about baroque music itself?

Baroque is where it all began for operatic music, starting in around 1600 and carrying on into the 1700s. Some of the instruments of the baroque period, including lutes and their big brother the theorbo, have now largely vanished and harpsichords are now mainly consigned to period performance specialisms.

You may think you don’t know much about baroque music but if you’ve heard Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Bach’s St Matthew Passion, Handel’s Messiah and Zadok the Priest then you get the idea. In fact, brace yourself for a quick blast of Zadok the Priest from Westminster Abbey here :- . Anyone still has a cobweb in the corner of their ears?

The emotional intensity which characterises baroque music is perfect for telling dramatic stories like that of Semele and whole pictorial landscape of the piece is built through the music as well as the action on stage.

We’re touring our Semele with musicians from The Academy of Ancient Music who are expert in period performance so for those who know and love baroque music they are guaranteed a world class musical treat – but for baroque beginners, rest assured the music is breath-taking and however much you understand of its musical history and context you won’t fail to be swept away by its beauty.

Baroque opera doesn’t get performed that often – the last one Mid Wales Opera did was Handel’s Acis and Galatea in 2014 with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Brecon Baroque. So don’t miss this exciting new production and remember opera just means work in Italian. Its a combination of beautiful music and incredible stories so what could be better to beat the February blues than an escape into the world of the Greek gods, accompanied by Handel’s fabulous music.

Click here to find out more and to book tickets for Semele, which is touring Cardiff, Newtown, Llanelli, Colwyn Bay and Brecon in February 2017.

 

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January 19, 2017 · 10:32 pm

2017 looks like being an incredibly busy and exciting year for Mid Wales Opera with two brand new operas opening in February, a schools residency and a pilot tour of micro-chamber opera in November.

It was great to hear Lydia and Richard on BBC Radio Wales Arts Show talking to Nicola Heywood Thomas about Small Stages – a new approach to touring opera in to small venues in the community.  The interview starts at about 7 minutes into the show and is well worth a listen.  BBC Arts Show 4/1/17

With so much activity taking place at Mid Wales Opera we plan to restart this blog and keep you up to date with how we are getting on – the highs and lows of making opera in Mid Wales.  Can’t wait to see you all again!

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