Welsh National Opera announces 2015-16 season

Welsh National Opera will stage two world premieres and five new productions as part of its 2015-16 season, marking the company’s 70th year.

In Spring 2016 the Cardiff company will present the world premiere of Elena Langer’s Figaro Gets a Divorce, with libretto by David Pountney, WNO’s chief executive and artistic director.

The new work is part of a Figaro trilogy, which also include new productions of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

The second world premiere comes in summer 2016, with the staging of In Parenthesis (An Artist’s Vision of the Somme). Based on the poem In Parenthesis by World War One poet David Jones, this new opera is composed by Iain Bell with a libretto by David Antrobus and Emma Jenkins.

The work is commissioned by the Nicholas John Trust with 14-18 NOW, WWI Centenary Art Commissions, a UK-wide programme supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.

In Autumn 2015, WNO will present a series of operas under the theme Music and Madness. New productions of Bellini’s I Puritani, Handel’s Orlando and Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd feature on the programme.

A co-production between WNO, Wales Millennium Centre and West Yorkshire Playhouse in association with Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, Sweeney Todd will be directed by WYP Artistic Director James Brining and conducted by James Holmes.

Pountney said: ‘We are proud of the fact that despite tightening financial circumstances we have been able to offer a rich and stimulating programme featuring a major Bel Canto opera, a musical and two world premieres. WNO remains committed to offering a balanced programme celebrating the great traditions of our genre, as well as bringing in innovation and renewal.’

Photo: Sweeney Todd, featuring David Birrell Gillian Bevan, and ensemble © Manuel Bevan